Posts Tagged ‘BBC Radio 4’

51tGfYjaB2L._SX332_BO1,204,203,200_She looked overdressed and dangerously hot, but sunstroke or suffocation had not yet finished her off … I still thought she would be better off without so many tunics. Perhaps in a fine mansion with marble veneers, fountains, garden courtyards deep in shade, a leisured young lady might keep cool, even swaddled in embroidered finery with jet and amber bangles from her elbow to her wrist. If she ran out in a hurry she would instantly regret it. The heat haze would melt her. Those light robes would stick to all the lines of her slim figure. 

Marcus Didius Falco, fictional character of the mystery novel, The Silver Pigs by Lindsey Davis.

I’m a fan of mystery novels, but good ones are hard to come by. A few years ago I listened to a BBC Radio 4 dramatization (starring Anton Lesser) of one of the Marcus Didius Falco series, which take place in Ancient Rome. When I recently had the opportunity to read The Silver Pigs, the first in the series published in 1989, I was hooked. Well-written for starters, and full of historical detail. Ms. Davis certainly did her research. She says that she had trouble getting published at first. Editors didn’t think a mystery set in Ancient Rome would be of interest. Ha! Now her books are often used in high schools as supplemental reading.

There are around 21 books in the series. Plenty to read while we all stay home to avoid COVID-19.

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28370The people who bought Vivienne Westwood clothes we kind of thought were pretend real punks. The punks who hadn’t got the imagination to go to a charity shop and do their own DIY look. We thought they were kind of pathetic and had too much money than sense.

Caroline Cox, fashion historian and author.

Ms. Cox, an original 1970s punk, was speaking on BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour about punk fashion.

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Mary Quant still sports her Sassoon hairdo. Photo courtesy of BBC Radio.

Mary Quant, the hip and happening designer of the mini-skirt in the 1960s, was a recent guest on BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour. Host Jenni Murray asked Mary, now 78, how she likes to see older women dressed.

I like them to look as though they’re enjoying what they’re wearing and to experiment with everything new that comes along.

Mary Quant

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The Scandi Jumper is all the rage this holiday season in England.

The fashion trend this holiday season in England is something called The Scandi Jumper. Translation – a thick knit pullover sweater with depictions of  snowflakes, stars, or reindeer.

It’s all thanks to a popular BBC crime drama called The Killing, which takes place in cold, cold Copenhagen.  The lead character, Detective Sarah Lund, wears these sweaters (paired with jeans) rather than the usual detective suit and viewers love her for it. 

This particular sweater is traditionally called a Faroese, after the Faroese Islands, and it was made by knitwear company Gudrun Gudrun. The story goes that the actress playing Sarah Lund (Sofie Grabol) chose this sweater for her character and she felt so comfortable wearing it she didn’t take it off. Consequently in season one it’s in just about every scene, which is huge exposure and voila …  major trend.

Many British women are embracing the sweater because of the Lund persona. Lisa Armstrong, Fashion Editor of The Daily Telegraph in London, recently told BBC radio’s Woman’s Hour that she’s a fan of  the Scandi Jumper because she loves Sarah Lund and all her foibles. “The jumper is a kind of by-product of her dysfunctions … I think she seems to have commitment issues with everybody except her jumpers.”

Broadcaster and Antiques Roadside expert Lars Tharp, also a guest on Woman’s Hour, pointed out that by sporting the Scandi Jumper Sarah Lund might be seen as rejecting the idea of power dressing and that strikes a chord with women. 

Personally I think Sarah Lund is just a sloppy dresser, which in itself says a lot but I haven’t seen the show so I’ll refrain from further comment. Now this is not to say I don’t like these sweaters. I do, for ice skating or a winter walk on a day off but on the job? Well, it’s not a professional look.

An American version of The Killing aired on AMC earlier this year, complete with another version of the Scandi Jumper. But it hasn’t reached trend status here. At least not yet.

PS – Readers, if you’d like to sport a Scandi Jumper yourself (not at work, of course) I’ve seen them at thrift shops and vintage stores. The real deal, often handknit from Scandinavia and at good prices.

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Heart Hat. Photo by John Ross, model is Connie Chai. Image courtesy of Primitive Streak.

Listening to BBC Radio Woman’s Hour last week, I learned about a unique fashion project created by leading British fashion designer Helen Storey and her sister Kate Storey, who is a developmental biologist at Oxford University.

Started in 1997 the project is called Primitive Streak, which in developmental biology refers to an essential moment in the early embryo when cells move into place to start making internal organs like the heart, muscle, and kidneys. Helen and Kate collaborated to design and build 27 pieces of clothing representing the first 1000 hours of life from fertilization to recognizable human form. The collection toured Britain in the late 90s and ten of the pieces are on tour again with the additional new Lung Dress.

Included in the collection are representations of:

  • sperm as a white lacy coat
  • cell division in a long flowing dress with a red and black applique
  • and the heart as a structured hat (pictured above).  

Using vivid colors and innovative design, the clothing turns complicated science into desirable chic.

On the Woman’s Hour segment, Helen said she enjoyed the opportunity of experimenting with textiles and in creating the various pieces, biology had to suggest the material. For her part, Kate is pleased to be able to convey these amazing human development sequences to a different audience.  

Click here to read more about Primitive Streak and see photos.

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Image courtesy of HBO.

Today BBC Radio 4  Woman’s Hour discussed the potential influence of the HBO television show Boardwalk Empire on current fashions. Host Jenni Murray spoke with vintage shop owner Annie Moss and professor of fashion history Caroline Cox.

Boardwalk Empire is a period drama set in prohibition 1920s Atlantic City. A recent addition to the HBO lineup and a big hit with viewers, it’s still a bit early to know what, if any, influence it will have on fashion.  

Professor Cox thinks it won’t translate to modern taste. Clearly no fan of 20s fashions, Cox comments that the costumer for the show is almost too accurate to the era.  Based on the first three episodes, Cox hasn’t seen anything that would appeal to women today, only “… really horrible wool suits for women, weird  knit wear and slightly amusing hats.”

But for men it’s a different story. Both Cox and Moss agree that there is plenty of style to be found on the male characters, from the tweedy working-man look to the french cuff wealthy-man look.  (Either way it’s a step-up from the way men dress today, so let’s hope it rubs off.)  Moss further comments that women also may emulate the men’s fashions, which would include more tailored silhouettes in slacks, suits, and hats.

I haven’t seen the show myself, but I do hope, if nothing else, it inspires both men and women to ditch the daily jeans and try something old. Back in the day, even poor people made an effort to look nice and appropriate. You didn’t see shorts in church and jeans at the office.

That’s my two cents and why they call me “Over Dressed for Life.”

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