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Kindly forgive an elderly gentleman for having the temerity to comment on an aspect of fashion, but may I elucidate that I am not talking about frocks, shoes, or other bodily accoutrements. I refer to the fashion for modernity in much of the domestic clutter that adorns our environment. The style of late has been focused on clean lines, washable, sterile, without embellishment, and whilst I commend much of this in relation to hygiene. I long for the days when buildings, furnishings, implements, and utilities had character.

When did you last visit a stately home, or a museum, an antique emporium or second hand bookshop and relish the aroma of old leather as opposed to plasticised easily washable covers, burnished wood surfaces, warm and redolent of a graceful age, rather than the sterile operating room atmosphere of stainless steel, gleaming polished silver instead of chrome.

Our buildings scream skyward in fervent panic of bland, concrete and glass phallic symbolism eager to escape our well-grounded earthbound existence. Rarely a cornice, turret, dome, or roundel to break the monotony to the eye. No impish gargoyle to amuse or even thrill with the trepidation of fear. The motor industry is now hell bent on mass production of the sanitised streamlined boxes, that all look the same apart from variances of silver/grey with an occasional foray into some vapid metallic colorisation. Whence the dream machines of days gone by, adorned with gay young flappers hanging over the fins, the pastel hues matching cloche hat and scarf, beaded skirts competing with birds eye maple dashboard. Will the corniche at St. Germaine ever be the same?

We have surrendered classicism to sanitation, decor to minimalism, style to practicality.

Even to backtrack on a theme, the world of catwalk is littered with stick insect like waifs draped in rags of chiffon, struggling to gait with knees crossing in exaggerated strut. Bits of metal and plastic glued to various anatomical apertenances, feather and dare I say fur!, draped where decency demands. Does anyone actually walk the highways dressed thus? The full skirt of the dirndl, frothy petticoats, classic lines, beautifully cut on the bias, pinched waists, busts in proportion to height, stockings, not unsanitary pantyhose, do I expect too much, or am I just growing old and pining for a lost youth.

Will anyone take the time to reconstruct the grace of our innocence?

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