Thursday, 14 May 2009

Fashion Violations

The time, sadly, is drawing all too rapidly to a close. And with it we, inevitably, start to reflect. Sitting on a lakeshore in Malawi, watching the absolute disregard of my youngest son for anything remotely connected with fashion (inherited from where, I wonder?!), it occurred to me that none of us had escaped the last few months without occasionally straying from the bounds of what might be called Sound Fashion Sense. Some of these may have been circumstantial, but others were clearly premeditated. Here, for your enjoyment, is a cross-section of some of the more serious Fashion Violations of the trip to date......

The leading causes of Fashion Violations are, of course, climatic. Take, for example, the following item of rainwear recently modelled by Nicky on a back road in western Tanzania.

Ben and Mands were clearly struggling to cope with the unexpected chills in the Western Desert below.

But quite what was going through Mands' head as she adopted the following attire to keep warm at over 3,000 metres in Ethiopia remains a mystery!

The next most-common cause of Fashion Violations were our (sometimes desperate) attempts to blend in. Take, for example, Robert's ill-conceived attire as he tried to mingle in Egypt....

Or Xander and Ben's sorry efforts at local headgear (cunningly fashioned by a passerby from a rug he found on the floor)....

Big Max's attempts to pass off as a Hamer warrior in South Omo were laudable, and he even followed local custom by decorating his AK in appropriate style with a piece of goatskin wrapped delicately around the nozzle. Not everyone's idea of top fashion, but not bad!

Below is a genuine Hamer warrior who, for reasons known only to him, chose to abandon his rather fine traditional dress and instead don an ancient satin ball-gown, presumably appropriated from a passing Victorian explorer's wife. Not one of the Jangano team, but an outstanding Fashion Violation, nonetheless!

Not all Fashion Violations were circumstantial, and some were quite clearly premeditated. Take, for example, the bizarre decision of the entire Le B family to pluck purple flowers from the grounds of a hotel in Lalibela, put them behind their ears and then allow themselves to be photographed in such a pose. What WERE they thinking?!

If we were to award a prize for the most serious Fashion Violations of the trip, however, there's no doubt in anyone's mind who it would go to. For his persistent ability to mix and match the most unlikely combinations of clothes, and for the utter lack of self-consciousness with which he sports them, Little Max scoops all the prizes. Here, in one of his more imaginative ensembles (green sleeveless vest, blue boxers, long grey socks and charming cammo crocs), is Little Max, the undisputed King of Anti-Fashion in the Jangano team!

And as for me, well, I can only feel a sense of relief that the baton is now in the hands of someone else!

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