Saturday, June 28, 2008

Men in Pink

I've written Regency romances, but my real love is for the mid-Georgian era.
My books centre on the year 1754. Why? I don't know, I just picked it. I love the fashions of the 1750's when the huge domed hoop of the 1740's reduced to manageable proportions, when hairstyles weren't the exaggerated poufs of the 1770's and when men weren't ashamed to wear pink silk.
Actually, that aspect fascinates me. I've always been interested in androgyny, and men who weren't afraid to show their feminine side. Men who are incredibly sexy and yet play with makeup and don't stick to the male 'uniform.' David Bowie in a kimono, striding across the stage as Ziggy Stardust, Freddy Mercury in black nail varnish, Johnny Depp in black mascara. In fact, living examples of what Quentin Bell described as "conspicuous outrage."
In the eighteenth century, men dressed flamboyantly, unashamedly peacocks and at this time common everyday dress included a sword, something abandoned by the Regency era. Gorgeously embroidered waistcoats, even the buttonholes masterpieces of the embroiderer's art, and, by the way, most commercial embroiderers at this time were male.
Yet they fought and loved lustily, spoke their minds and inhabited the male bastions of the coffee house and gentleman's club. They knew they were men, and they would have scorned anyone who told them that pink was in any way derogatory to their male nature. "Come closer and say that," I can almost hear my dandy hero, Richard Strang, saying.
The politics of the era fascinate me, too, in fact, I'm more likely to read an eighteenth century newspaper than I am a modern one! I love the magazines, gossip rags (you thought "Hello" magazine was a new idea?) and periodicals. The more I read, the more I enjoy the era, when people weren't ashamed to proclaim themselves individuals with their own lives to live, their own way.

1 comment:

Melinda Hammond said...

I, too, love the Gerogian era - a writer has so much more scope with men's fashions, all that lace and silk! Not to mention the small sword ready to be drawn at the slightest provocation!