In Competition No. 2365 you were invited to supply a piece, written in the style of a fashion editor, expressing enthusiasm for either see-through trousers for men or full plate armour for women.
Two confessions (not apologies). First, I lifted this comp from a Spectator of over 40 years ago, and a very good one it proved to be. Second, although one of my sons once trod the dogwalk? in Milan, I am no fashionisto?, and so Solomon-like I invited a Queen of Sheba to help me judge. On the see-through side, I enjoyed Josh Ekroy’s advice that ‘knees are now just as important as an erotic come-on as eyelashes are for women, and need as much make-up’, and on the armour side Brian Murdoch’s critical aside: ‘M&S do a well-made stainless-steel outfit, but it is a bit 14th-century.’ The prizewinners below get £25 each, and the Cobra Premium beer goes to W.J. Webster.
The stellar moment of the show was Ragu Gulasz’s outrageously ingenious armoured suit. As he demonstrated with last season’s brilliant barbed wire fichus, style simply transforms substance. In less sensitive hands, this power ensemble could have been a complete clunker — think Black Prince meets Tin Man. Instead, it’s a sharp-witted delight, gliding between the unapologetically forbidding and the slyly sexy, as in the sensuous undulations of the breastplate. As ever, detail is all. The carbon-fibre plates are in lilac, which is so the perfect shade. Their fixings are bold porphyry studs, while at the elbows and knees titanium ruching gives a deliciously feminine touch. Gorget and gauntlets have matching filigree work, the spikily pointed shoes are grounded with no-nonsense horseman heels.