“All that succession and repetition of massed humanity…Those vile bodies…”
Vile Bodies by Evelyn Waugh from Compact Books
While fashion often opts to glamourise and gush over, rather than to objectively depict the period of the 1920s and the associated band of Bright Young Things that drank, flirted, and danced the Charleston during the interwar period, Evelyn Waugh takes it upon himself to send up the unapologetically irreverent society in Vile Bodies, with pretty hilarious results.
Many claim Brideshead Revisited to be Waugh’s greatest literary accomplishment and, while it’s not without its virtues, I’d consider it, in the words of the BYTs, a bit of a “bore”, and a work which pales in comparison to Vile Bodies. Yes, it’s probably a much more elaborate exploration of class and religion, but Vile Bodies offers the irony and that signature Waughian humour that has me chuckling like a certified lunatic before bemused onlookers on the Tube.
Not only that, but its protagonist, Adam Fenwick-Symes, a novelist fallen on hard times, lends the novel its amusing statement on fashion with talk of green bowlers and black suede shoes – both questioned by the conservative members of the upper echelons of London’s social elite who fear to tread outside the confines of the codes of accepted dress. Not gonna lie, I wouldn’t be too hot on a bottle-green bowler hat, either, but it’s just not in my nature to turn down a pair of black suede shoes.
Mr. Hare ‘Capote’ (suede calf leather with patent leather toe)
Simply divine, don’t you think, or don’t you?
Image of Mr. Hare Capote Shoes from Definitive Touch