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[Tidbits] Chapeau du Jour


#1

To make a long story short… last week’s answer was me. And now…

Chapeau du Jour

If you want to know who was… is… and probably always will be in
the forefront in the developing tastes for richly decorated clothing
and accessories as well as gems and jewelry… it is… hands down…
India. Its culture has spread over time to include Pakistan,
Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Myanmar, and part of Afghanistan.

It was not only jewelry folks. It was also the heavily influential
embellishments on clothing that caused Indian styles’ influence on
Central and South Asia. The key words were abundance and extravagance
and meticulous attention to detail. This last part is–of
course–they key to the creation of all things… not the least of
which is jewelry.

Each single jewel on hat or costume was designed to blend into the
whole rather than stand out as an individual center of attention. A
major preference in the finishing of stones was to polish them
au-natural rather than facet them so as to not diminish their size
and to also enhance the effect of amazing the beholder of said gems.
Cutting and faceting of stones would become the product of a more
modern age.

Rubies, sapphires, diamonds, emeralds and pearls studding and
interlacing turbans were the iconic symbols of wealth and social
rank. This was clearly before the era of the Bentley and Rolls Royce
which–while clearly one of the ultimate symbols of wealth and rank
in today’s world–had the distinct disadvantage of not being nearly
as portable.

All of which brings us quite logically–I’m anything if not
logical–to the Mughal Empire. Jewelry, gem-saturated clothing, and,
of course, aigrettes… long plumes of white heron. Who in their
right minds would not want one of these ornamenting ceremonial
headdresses? Bejeweled aigrettes also adorned many a turban during
the Ottoman Empire in the 16th century.

And then came the 18th century. European women were looking for
something new… something a tad avant-garde with which to snub their
closest friends. They looked to the east for fashion. And the
aigrette re-emerged… and stayed as the chapeau du jour to be
delicately balanced like a stack of books upon the lovely head of the
snubbor… an overstated extravaganza competing only with Carmen
Miranda–who… parenthetically–started her career as a hat maker
before becoming the Brazilian sensation she became.

I bring you ladies and gentlemen… an example. A red velvet
headdress carefully interwoven with seed pearls and gemstones and
diamonds from which extends a bird of paradise aigrette and plume…
a chapeau which can easily be worn with fierce pride on fifth avenue
on Easter Sunday. Judy Garland eat your heart out.

For those of you who are new to this thing called Tidbits…may I
direct you to my home page at www.tyler-adam.com where you will
scroll down the left side menu till you get to the area that says
Current Tidbits… and you will get to view a headdress of
extraordinary quality.

And there ya have it.
That’s it for this week folks.
Catch you all next week.
Benjamin Mark


#2

As my experiences have always shown and as everyone knows. when
attending functions such as dances or weddings or barbecues or
christenings or bar-mitzvahs… the conversations invariably always
lead to the sexual rompings of the harems of the sultanates and the
Ottoman Empire in general. Even Obama care. or Obama
care-less–depending on your point of view–holds no interest as keen
as that of the ancient empire of the Ottoman women and their men.

Let us. just for the sake of this conversation. hop on back to the
16th century. It was the golden age of the Ottoman Porte. First there
was a chap nicknamed Yavuz, ‘The Grim’ but whose real name was Selim.
His importance here lies in two quaint facts. The first is that he met
and joined with a bright beauty named Hafsa Hatun in whose veins–it
is said–ran the blood of Genghis Khan. As notorious and famous as
many of the Sultans were… none of them could hold a candle to old
Genghis when it came to fame or infamy.

Yavuz’s second claim to fame is nothing more than extrapolation on my
part and may easily be untrue. And yet. truth matters little in this
case for perception has and always will rank foremost in its race for
supremacy against truth. Which brings me–by the cleverest of
segues–to a bejeweled helmet whose origin is determined to stem from
the collection of the Ottoman Sultans and which I believe resides
today in what was the Topkapi Palace of Istanbul and which I would
like to believe belonged to Yavuz. True? False? Does it matter? It’s
my perception. And in this case truth matters not a whit.

It’s a stunner folks. It’s the male Chapeau du Jour. Better than the
best baseball cap. More stylish than a beret. Cuter than a rainbow
colored hoodie. No self-respecting sultan or tyrant or marauder would
be seen out in the battlefield wearing anything less glamorous than
our helmet.

As to the denizens of the Hareem. those beauteous creatures filled
with intelligence and wiles guaranteed to surpass the cunningest of
today’s seductresses. they surely would never have let their lords
and masters out into the world of combat without Le Helmet.

And so it went. Yavuz hooked up with Hafsa who was only about 15
years old when she gave birth to Suleyman who eventually–due to the
death of a favored slave which left her grief-stricken. caused her to
set free a great number of other slaves. Suleyman was clearly the
Abraham Lincoln of her day.

And the thing of this is that it all stems from an image of a
bejeweled helmet which is so striking that I am seriously considering
make one for myself and strutting down Fifth Avenue. Chapeau on head.
saber in hand. yelling out the victory cries of days or yore. "Watch
out heathens … Benjamin-the-Bad is in his glory and is on the
warpath … looking for those willing join him for revelous romping
in his Hareem."Anyone? Anyone?

So. ya wanna see? Then go. Go now. Hurry. Home

And there ya have it. That’s it for this week folks.
Catch you all next week.
Benjamin Mark


#3

Benjamin,

You deserve an Oscar for your writing.

There should be a statue erected in your honor for your
word-smithing.

There should be a U. S. postage stamp in gratitude for the humor you
bring to our world.

Bravo and blessings, Benjamin! Bravo!

MA