Can clothing offer help to distance those strangers who don’t seem to get the Spring 2020 idea of social / unsocial / anti social distancing? Perhaps an extra wide hat brim, very spiky umbrella? I rather like the idea of a crinoline. Alexander McQueen had a great external one in his 2013 Spring Collection.
The word ‘crinoline’ comes from the French ‘cin’ for horse hair and ‘lin’ for linen. Steel wire rings are kept in structural place with what look like patterned bands or braids, presumably horse hair which is wiry and hard wearing, often used in upholstery weaves. We can tablet weave our own bands for this.
Museum Collections of Crinolines
Many museums including the V & A Museum and Metropolitan Museum in New York and the Rijksmuseum have delightful crinoline collections. The Rijksmuseum is fun to use as you can make an account to save your favourite search results for later. I found out about the Rikjs Museum online from Kate Davies’s inspiring post on stoplap.
The V & A states that ‘spring steel structures were also very light so rather than imprisoning women in cages (as some of the reports and images suggest) they had a liberating effect’. Goodness! How might a woman’s life be, that someone could suggest that walking around in a steel cage would feel liberating?
Just the thing for stepping into for a school run/ supermarket dash is the ‘Thomson’s Express‘. You may want to arrange the fullness all around you, rather than just at the back.
Attitudes towards Crinolines
Rebecca Mitchell of Birmingham University balances the view of the liberating effects of wearing crinolines. In ‘15 August 1862: The Rise and Fall of the Cage Crinoline’ she cites examples of various dangers, some fatal. So a crinoline can be seen as a symbol of a repressive patriarchal order intent or as a threatening tool of emancipation. It hasn’t been mentioned in the social distancing context, yet. Perhaps it will soon.