Sunday, October 28, 2012

Vet Fencing Fashion

Vet fencing fashion is all too often characterized by the accessories add to hold ourselves together.
See, for example, the competitors yesterday at Dark Horse Fencing in Fredericksburg, Virginia
I wish I had taken sound recordings, as well as pictures. I think we produced as many groans, grunts and "ouches" as "Opah!"s or other collegiate cries of success.
I saw braces and tape on ankles, shins, knees, elbows, wrists and fingers. Oh, and orthotic inserts. Feet are v. important.

You know you are in trouble when you have to apply bandages BEFORE you are wounded

Drugs are best administered proactively as well. 

Some people brought an assortment of extra reinforcements, just in case. The wisdom of age.

I had the biggest brace!
Does that mean I win?

Um, no. But I look at it this way: it's a pretty good day when all the pieces work.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Reuse, Recycle

There is one thing I like about the new conducting bib—it gives me something to do with my old lamés.

You probably have one (or more) old ones hanging around, don’t you?
Steve Gross, Rockville Fencing Academy.
Photo by Badger Merritt
And what are they good for? Well, patching each other up, which does offer some interesting possibilities, as demonstrated here:

[Picture by Earl Theisen.]
I love what Steve did with his practice lamé—it reminds me of the “potato sack dress,” most famously modeled by Marilyn Monroe in 1952 

And it inspired me to do this

I rather like the effect! It almost makes up for extra 18 square inches or so of valid target area.


(Please email me with pictures of what you've done with your old lamés or other recycled bits of uniform. We would love to feature them in future posts.)

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Hubcaps or plate?

Two words that make no sense together? Not if you're a fencer.

The chest protector is seldom seen and so perhaps it's an odd place to think about fashion, but the plain white surface begs for embellishment, even if it's only visible for a moment while suiting up.

Custom painting could be fun. Make it look like a superhero uniform, or use a daring trompe d'oeil effect to startle opponents.

Anna Piaggi in sweater with breasts woven into the pattern
(Credit: The New York Times)

You could even go whole hog and make it up like a Viking metal brassiere - because that is, after all, what it feels like!

Obviously, I find the full plate too uncomfortable and stick to hubcaps, even though they provide less coverage.

Perhaps a compromise between comfort and coverage could be found by putting the hubcaps in a modified pair of early nineteenth century "short stays":

Or, for maximum style AND safety, why not try fencing in a full corset?

Stay with me here. One of my historic costuming email lists started a long thread on the feasibility of fencing in corsets when "The Mask of Zorro" came out in 1998. The conclusion: not only would it be possible, but a well fitted corset could also potentially provide back support.

I'd give this a whirl. For science.

- Allison