Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Black Tie & Décolletage

   My reinvigorated formalwear rig recently received a public airing at a "Bow Ties and Cleavage Party" that indulged me in more ways than one. My J. Hoare/E. Tautz 1960s textured dinner jacket was perhaps the most iridescent piece on display that was not set in sculpted metal. Whether it also adorned a low cut front at any point is not for me to say

   (Fun fact: the term "décolletage" is often mistaken for "décotege" by anxious conservative Ghanaian mothers who secretly wish for their daughters to convert to Islam)

   It's necessary here that I caution against donning such garments away from club or home-based black tie evenings and formally minded social parties. This casual aspect of black tie should not be misinterpreted as being adaptable to any casual setting, nor should it be seen at business award ceremonies. And please try not to dress it down, no matter what fantasies Lapo Elkann and the word "sprezzatura" fill your mind with

   In my opinion, this sort of neutral toned flamboyance deserves nothing less than the full bore treatment, from my lapel pin to my dainty, opera pump-clad feet:

   Of course, I like sculpted metal also, but in the tradition of my clothing choices, I made it the preserve of  my shirt cuffs and my face:

   Not long afterwards, I was commissioned by an uncle over lunch to teach him the ways of the self-tying bow for an upcoming event. I hope that he was the best dressed man at the Kenny G concert and concomitant gala dinner he was to attend

   And like me, I'm certain he was grateful that only the excessive air conditioning of Ghanaian venues allowed for our appreciative show of Western eveningwear in a hot climate

Photographs by Barrak El-Mahmoud of Capture Your Memory Bank, Ghana


Alan said...

WOW! That is one gorgeous jacket. The shawl collar really adds to the overall look and the pattern is unique. The pumps are great, but the jacket is what grabs the eye.

pve design said...

Love the paisley jacquard jacket.
Smoking hot!

Barima said...

Most kind, you two. I'm always eager to wear attractive vintage


Mxolisi Ngonelo said...


What is the meaning of the word décotege..? I tried looking it up on an online dictionary and it yielded nothing.

I must say you really look good in your outfit. The Opera pumps, I could never pull off. You're working it though.


Barima said...

It's an inadvertent and, therefore, meaningless bastardisation of "décolletage", M

Many thanks for the kind words. As I previously wrote, pumps are more likely to fade into an outfit based on such a stark, limited palette. As demonstrated, an idiosyncratic dinner jacket can also divert such attention for itself

All best,


Mxolisi Ngonelo said...

Thank you, Barima.

Mxolisi Ngonelo said...

I just read your fun fact again and I now understand what you mean by the two words. Especially the play on the meaning of decolletage and muslim mothers.

If I was still an MC it would've clicked at the same time.

Once again, thank you.

Barima said...

You're most welcome


Prendas Públicas said...

... very nice look!
/Prendas Públicas

Barima said...

Thank you. I still have fond memories of our LFW night together