Magazine article The Spectator

All the Rage

Magazine article The Spectator

All the Rage

Article excerpt

In Competition No. 2365 you were invited to supply a piece, written in the style of a fashion editor, expressing enthusiasm for either see-through trousers for men or full plate armour for women.

Two confessions (not apologies). First, I lifted this comp from a Spectator of over 40 years ago, and a very good one it proved to be. Second, although one of my sons once trod the dogwalk? in Milan, I am no fashionisto?, and so Solomon-like I invited a Queen of Sheba to help me judge. On the see-through side, I enjoyed Josh Ekroy's advice that 'knees are now just as important as an erotic come-on as eyelashes are for women, and need as much make-up', and on the armour side Brian Murdoch's critical aside: 'M&S do a well-made stainless-steel outfit, but it is a bit 14th-century.' The prizewinners below get £25 each, and the Cobra Premium beer goes to W.J. Webster.

The stellar moment of the show was Ragu Gulasz's outrageously ingenious armoured suit. As he demonstrated with last season's brilliant barbed wire fichus, style simply transforms substance. In less sensitive hands, this power ensemble could have been a complete clunker - think Black Prince meets Tin Man. Instead, it's a sharp-witted delight, gliding between the unapologctically forbidding and the slyly sexy, as in the sensuous undulations of the breastplate. As ever, detail is all. The carbon-fibre plates are in lilac, which is so the perfect shade. Their fixings are hold porphyry studs, while at the elbows and knees titanium niching gives a deliciously feminine touch. Gorget and gauntlets have matching filigree work, the spikily pointed shoes are grounded with no-non-sense horseman heels. A sling-shaped bag in purple chainmail makes the ideal accessory. For the woman who wants to turn heads before knocking them together, this is the suit.

W.J. Webster

Sorry, girls, but suddenly that all-day flaunting of the flesh is passé. When Tripsy Fluff walked on with Nina de Madon's latest collection we gasped. Full plate armour will now be de rigueur for feisty females of all ages. Joan of Arc it isn't. Made of ultra-light titanium, it is fully contoured and it conies in a variety of shimmering colours. An adjustable breastplate gives firm support, and as an optional extra there is a scrolling upper section for that special dinner date. You can also have a detachable crotchpiece - the glory of all glory holes! Nina knows her marketing. It was a coup de maîtresse to have Judy Finnigan wearing one at the Saga Holidays Save the Planet Gala and promising a high-street version for Christmas. This creation is glamorous and practical. Ideal for the office, the Tube, football matches and the first day of the Harrods sale.

Gordon Gwilliams

Milan's done it again! This cutting-edge centre of Renaissance armour sees the wheel come lull circle as Ferromoda's models shimmer down the catwalk in state-of-the-art armour plating. Stunned silence was replaced by rapturous applause from the audience of predominant female fashionistas. This was armour to die for: no cutaways, no off-the-shoulder, no controversial hemline, just classic full-body steel that speaks domination. Modern fabric - a lightweight high-tungsten steel - and Teflon joints make for a sexy slink, not a heavy clank. Forget ironing creases and expensive cleaning: these are clothes-to-go, needing just a wipe with aromatic oils and a touch of WD40, that speak self-protection and control. …

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