Monday, March 5, 2018

Throwing Down the Gauntlet


I hope you enjoyed the 2018 winter Olympics! I, of course, was watching with an eye to sports fashion. The opening ceremony was a delight, and not just because Tongan skier Pita Taufatofua went shirtless, yet again.

Photo: Petr David Josek/AP

Nor because it was possibly the most searingly fluorescent parade of winter fashion ever


Cross-country skier Vesna Fabjan of Slovenia carries the national flag 
during the Parade of Nations. Sharifulin Valery/TASS via ZUMA Press
from article in Mother Jones
No, the highlight for me was the over-the-top gloves worn by team USA


Both awesome AND insane. (And only $995 from Ralph Lauren.)

As fencers, we know from gloves, right? And as it happens, we have our own equivalent of these embroidered, suede, fringe extravaganzas. 






I took these pictures at Summer Nationals in 2016, at a beautifully staged booth occupied by Zzuma & Company, which bills itself as "finest performance apparel & lifestyle brand for the world's elite fencers."

They even create gloves designed to reflect individual team USA fencers!



Here's a black coaching glove for Greg Massialas. Boss. 



And not just for the US team, either:





At only a $128 a pair, they are a steal compared to Ralph Lauren's offering. 



Still, as I contemplate actually buying a beautiful product like this, I remember that this is what one of my gloves typically looks like after 6 months of practice:


Even a "good" glove I save for competitions gets stamped all over now that the armorers are checking gloves. I can just see that conversation: "could you stamp it really carefully way over on this corner and DON'T SMUDGE!!!!"

Of course, for $256 I could buy a left and a right hand glove, and wear them as fashion accessories, in the style our winter Olympians. It would still cost less than a pair of the bespoke Ralph Lauren Olympic limited editions. 

Or I could settle for some of the less expensive, and more practical, Zzuma swag. Yeah, maybe that.

















Sunday, February 11, 2018

Posting Portland

How cold was it at the Portland NAC?

Ask Pamela Guntrum, of Seattle's Salle Auriol


Pam wins "Most Stylish Vet Fencer of the Portland NAC" for deploying a feather boa to deal with the chill.

Thought adding a pink Pussyhat to warm-ups was a pretty great solution, too. 


Even the referees felt the need to bundle up



As to spectators, nothing says "warmth" like silly Christmas sweaters (and lap robes). 


On to other fashion notes from the NAC. It was a great event for women's empowerment:


Not so  much "#MeToo" as "Touch me and you WILL die." Works for me.

Youth fashion trend was temporary tattoos of fencing club logos. At least I hope they are temporary...



Even one vendor got into the act


Not all the refs bundled up. This official chose to go formal. Well, formal with sneakers. 




The award for "Most Bad-ass Fencing Outfit" goes to this sabreur. 








Yes, he is actually fencing pools in work boots. And work pants. And a bandana. Someone asked me "is that legal?" Maybe not, but what ref would dare call him on it? (He seemed to me to be about 6' 8", but keep in mind I'm only a tiny badger.) 

I'm not sure this is legal, either, but the fencer gets point for "best improv with a blue crayon."


Crowdsourcing the following question: does the High Desert Fencing Alliance engage in three-weapon Elk hunting?


Just asking.

And lastly, I thin this is what happens when the bout committee is forced to work long hours with insufficient caffeine:




See you in Richmond in April! Bring your best fencing fashion and rock the strip. 

Salute,

Badger


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Sunday, October 30, 2016

Nightmare on the Strip

It's that time of year again, when many kids (and adults) arm themselves with swords (usually plastic) to extort candy from their peaceful neighbors.

Fencers clearly have a costuming advantage. All we have to do is pillage our equipment bags to embellish our outfits.

I remember one year I scared the bejeezus out of the kids coming to our house by opening the door clad in a dark robe, complete with hood thrown over a black fencing mask. Apparently that, by itself, was enough to induce terror, but there is so much more that can be done with our stuff!

Women's Vet 50 foilist (and World Team member) George Love concocted this gem for her club's Halloween fesitivities:
Personally, I think epee fencers are scary to begin with, but if you need to gild the lily:


Source here

There are many variations on the classic skull. Here's another, from Mary Hart on Pinterest, channelling the Nightmare Before Christmas: 


And from Alex Fiacchone, also on Pinterest, the Punisher:



But there is so much more to fright than skulls. Perhaps you've heard of the Scary Clown sightings around the world? Fencing clubs are not immune.


I love this one, though I don't know whether it is original, or homage to a classic with which I am unfamiliar. 

Courtesy HEMAAlliance.com on Pinterest

Allison loves this one, because she's a Star Wars geek:

In the interest of being thorough, I did a Google Image search on ="fencing mask" and "Hillary Clinton" or "Donald Trump." I was very relieved nothing turned up. 

So how about it? Add links to your own fencing-related costumes in the comment section below, or post pictures on the USFA Women's Veteran Fencing page on Facebook. Let's see what you've got!

Thursday, October 6, 2016

A-Diorable Fencing Fashion

It's particularly gratifying when fencing fashion bleeds onto the couture runway. Most recently, Allison and I are squeeing over the designs in Maria Grazia Chiuri's debut collection for Dior Spring/Summer 2017, recently showcased at Paris Fashion Week.   

The most explicit homage looks a good idea like the first fencing jacket I ever owned, right down to the snap closures: 


 

(Though of course my foil jacket had a crotch strap.) If only I had paired it with a tutu for practice.

If snaps aren't enough, add a few buckles for good measure 





This next version is embroidered with what I think are bees. Heraldically, bees stand for industrious and indefatigable effort--a good symbol for fencing practice, yes?




Several of the looks draw inspiration from plastrons, I think. 






And then there's this, which (if it were in black) would make a very nice coaching jacket. (Note that Chiuri even paired it with very practical sneakers!)



Oh, hey, here we go--black. And with a veil that kinda channels a fencing mask. 



Now if only she had ended the show with a fencing-inspired wedding dress. :)

Photos from the Los Angeles Times, The Dapifer, and South China Morning Post.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Pan American Youth and Veteran Championships


I spent the last week of August in sunny Puerto Rico for the Pan American Youth and Veteran Fencing Championships. It's what it says on the tin - a competition for youth and vet fencers from North/South/Central American countries and the Caribbean. 

Part of the fun was seeing all of the country uniforms during the opening ceremonies:





Chile appeared to have several designs for the backs of their sweats:





Old and new USA logos on display:


Venezuela were easily the most colorful:


And brilliantly costumed vejigantes led the Puerto Rican delegation in their red and white: