Friday, March 21, 2008

If The Little Mermaid attended the Great Gatsby Ball

Fish scales stood in for sequins on a dress that was "the latest to be worn by women," according to notes accompanying this photo. The image arrived at the Geographic in June 1921 but was not published. It may have been acquired for the magazine's January 1922 story "Certain Citizens of the Warm Sea," in which author Louis L. Mowbray noted: "The writer has seen an evening gown made wholly of bonefish scales which was indeed a thing of beauty. The scales were bored and laid on a fabric base like shingles on a roof. The resultant effect was like that of the natural body of the fish."Margaret G. Zackowitz, April 2008 National Geographic
Before I picked up my first issue of Vogue, I was reading National Geographic -- the combination of phenomenal photography, in-depth journalism, and global insight is unmatched. It opened up my eyes to a bigger world -- a world that I wanted to embrace and needed to understand.

Flipping to the back of this month's issue, I discovered the photograph of a 1920s dress made entirely out of fish scales. I'm currently reading The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald in my English class right now, and the dress seems to be a perfect example of excessive opulence of the Roaring '20s that is captured in the novel. This dress, both an example of lost craftsmanship and a symbol of the reawakened generation, expresses beauty within mankind's lust for ethereal perfection and control of nature.

Like the fishbone scales evening gown of 1921, the $12.5 million Victoria's Secret Fantasy Bra of 2008 is a reminder that luxuriant opulence continues to prevail -- alluring us with its glint and threatening to spin us out of control like Gatsby.

Miss Couturable
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