Sunday, 16 July 2006

Nothing to laugh about

Making an impression by wearing a ridiculous hat is not as easy as you might think. It’s not just a matter of putting some jokey piece of kit on your head: there are rules to be observed if you do not want to appear merely silly. There must, as I pointed out in connection with King Gyanendra’s pudding basin, be a strong element of incongruity in the hat’s design but still some mad logic about it. In other words, it must be foolish but not just for the sake of foolishness.
Also, there must be absolutely no suggestion that you are just fooling about and enjoying making a spectacle of yourself; the merest hint of amusement on your part will ruin the effect. It is essential that your expression makes it clear that you are not happy about looking a complete idiot: dignified sadness is the thing to aim at.
The Uzbek model pictured here clearly understands this, and the thing she is wearing introduces an element of mystery which makes her get-up even more appealing. What is it? What does it mean?

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