By Kaz Cooke
First published in The Age, Sydney Morning Herald, 1999.
Once again we position the driftnet over the mailbag, shake it out on the deck and see what divine little squidlets have come up from the postal briny with the heaving, leviathan, mammalian ... you know, I sometimes find that a metaphor gets entirely out of control and it's best for everyone to just abandon the sentence while you still have time, before the peeved, swirling, gelatinous seas rise in ludicrous waves of ...
So, anyway, our correspondent Kathrin of Wahroonga (which sounds rather more like a rude car horn sound than a suburb) dragged herself kicking and screaming recently from a Queen Victoria Building fashion parade in Sydney, to inquire: "In this conformist fashion mode, if the model isn't wearing a hat or a fur, how does one tell whether she is wearing a nightie or an evening dress?" We here at Aussie Style Big Format Black and White Nudey Plump Chicks With A Caesarian Scar Monthly magazine are happy to oblige. Our advertising hotline seems inexplicably lullish for the moment, so why not?
Kathrin, models never wear "nighties". (They are in fact, to a girlie, constantly wearing nighties but they would be very upset if they ever found out. I swear you to secrecy on this point.) The nighties all the models are wearing should always be referred to as evening dresses. And because it has taken over all the nighties, the fashion industry has had to recommend to us a couple of other bed-wear options:
1. Singlet and g-string. Can be teamed with stilettos and if you want to get catwalkie about it, a Weetbix box on your head and a roller-skate sticking out of your navel. Very num-num.
2. Perfectly enormous pair of pyjamas buttoned right up to the neck with cuffs flapping below the hands and feet and trailing along the floor. This is because designers now make "one size fits all" pyjamas. And that means "One size fits all people currently contracted to the Chicago Bulls."
Whatever happened to the matching diaphanous negligee and brunch coat, made to match one's satin bedspread and the curtains, which should be those artfully scrunched-up tasselly sort of arrangements. A person in this outfit should feel obliged to (a) learn swooning; (b) grab the outer edge of the garments and run around on tippy toe, flapping bits as they go singing, "Oh, wonderful youuuuuu" or (c) intermittently shriek things like "Count Yorga the vampyre! Aieeee!"
And let us not forget the Esso-sponsored Marvellous Melbourne Midwinter Night's Dream Gas Crisis Outfit. This consists of a singlet, a spencer, a full wetsuit, one of those old blokes' dressing gowns with the draggy cord, balaclava, scarf, ugg-boots, ear muffs, mittens, parka, some rat-fur underpants, a couple of hairy dogs and a tea cosy.
(These are not things that fashion designers will be draping about their muses. Not because they are too ludicrous to wear, but because rat-fur is not cruelty-free.)
You can't tell me all those celebrities actually sleep in that mustard-colored French silk lingerie they're always photographed in. Half of it would be lost forever up famous bum-cracks by the time they're into rapid eye movement. It is a sorrowful mystery that most designers are not excited by the thought of working with pink winceyette.
Kathrin, consider the following quoted comments of a fashion designer called Roy, in a magazine last week. "I never make a mistake"; "My style is about less talk and more action", and "(My favorite garment is) a Che Guevara T-shirt: I am a big fan of politically incorrect clothing". Now, Kathrin, admit it. You haven't got the faintest idea what he's talking about, have you? That's because the man's clearly a GENIUS. An absolute GENIUS.
You don't think people like that have got time to design something just so you can go to bed without parts of you making auto-cryogenical adjustments, do you? Good God woman, what is the POINT of popping on something just to keep your kidneys toasty if there's nobody to applaud and say "Darling! They. Are. DIVINE. Now, DO come and meet Jeremy!"
And that is why there are no more nighties, only evening gowns with drool stains on them.