Harlem Fashion Week: Harlem Derby’s Uptown Runway.

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On Saturday September 9th Harlem fashion week was well underway with Rob Owen’s (co-founder of Harlem Derby) Uptown Runway started uptown’s fashion week with the Uptown Runway fashion show at Ginny’s Supper Club (downstairs in the Red Rooster) on 125th Street and Lenox Ave for Harlem’s fashion week event.  The Elegant classy Gentleman was there to cover this uptown fashion week event.

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(Ayesha Mitchell and models wearing her designs)

The fashion event in Harlem showcased the collection of designs by Ayesha Mitchell.  Also with special Jazz performance by Jennifer Jade Ledesna, and “Jazz Cats in Hats” by Harlem Derby, and with the sexy Yvette Wright Gauff as the MC.

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(Yvette Wright Gauff)

This fashion event had a very “downtown” flair to it, with a uptown Harlem style!

(Model wearing white front low cut dress)

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(Sheer and Sexy in Black)

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(Open Back Sheer white pattern very Sexy Dress)

 

(a Taste of the Orient)

 

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(Fringe Pattern Pants Suit)

 

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(Rob Owen’s Sexy Cats in Hats)

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(Rob Owen)

(Sexy “Cats” in Hats)

 

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As you can see the Harlem Uptown Fashion Week show was sizzling hot! Now let’s take our hats off for Rob Owen! (pun intended).

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The Origin of the Men’s Cardigan: and it’s strange military history.

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Now just about every man sometime in his life has worn or owned a Cardigan sweater.

This nifty wardrobe wrap has completed many a gentleman’s outfit, whether lounging at home by the fire or bookcase, to strolling in the park in mid Autumn amid a shower of colorful leaves, or in the case of  James Thomas Brudenell, charging into battle in the “Valley of Death“; which is where the strange origin of this popular wardrobe piece begins.

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(James Thomas Brundenell)

In 1853 James Thomas Brundenell, who was a British commander during the  Crimean War who led a light cavalry against the Turks, with the mission of retrieving captured guns from Turkish positions to prevent them from falling into the hands of Russian forces. However due to mixed up communication coming down from the British chain of command, Lord Cardigan and his troops was send to another artillery frontal assault enemy battery that had strong defensive fire, and was very prepared.

(Artist depiction of The Charge of the Light Brigade. Portrait of Alfred, Lord Tennyson.)

Lord Cardigan’s “Light Brigade” suffered huge casualties and had to retreat very soon after they came under fire. This event was immortalized in the narrative poem by Alfred, Lord Tennyson, “The Charge of the Light Brigade”.

The 7th Earl of Cardigan wore this type of sweater during his failed charge, and thus the sweater got it’s name and became quite popular in the British isles as well as the French fishermen, due it’s warmth and comfort.

Today this indispensable and very fashionable apparel item is still very popular in both men’s and women’s fashion, which comes in many different fabrics and styles. Just in time for the Fall, indeed!

Human Sexuality in Victorian England: Love, Sex and Lust in the Victorian Era. (Part 3): The Underground Pornography, Literature and Libertine Movement.

                                Underground Porn Literature in the Victorian Era:

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While Victorian Society went about putting on airs, and hiding behind fake high moral standards and sexual restrictions, behind the scene’s there was an unlawful sexual movement underground as a libertine rebellion against the (“fake”) moral sensibilities of the time.

The definition of “Libertine” is someone who cast aside the restraints set on sexuality and morals, or rather described as “Extreme Hedonism” which values the “Pleasure Principle” of the “Id” without the balancing influence of the “Ego” described by Freud, they experienced life through the senses.

(Libertines in the 1800’s)

 In Victorian England a pornographic magazine named the “Pearl” surfaced in 1879 and ran until 1881 after being shut down by authorities, which styled itself “A Magazine Facetiae and Voluptuous Reading”. This salacious monthly magazine which ran for 18 months in London by a man named William Lazenby.

This quarterly was accompanied  also by two Christmas supplements before “it was closed down by the authorities  for publishing obscene literature.

Other erotic literature such the exploits of “Casonova” was also popular at the time, and influenced as well as emboldened libertines much like in the 20th century decade of the sixty’s, only much more covert in their activities.

 

Lazenby followed after with the “Oyster” (1883) and the “Boudoir”. Being sold “under the counter” the Pearl became “the first underground bestseller.”

The general format of the magazine was to publish three serial erotic tales simultaneously, devoted to “sex in high society, incest, and flagellation, respectively, and interspersed with obscene parodies, poems and limericks.”

Over two centuries later the Pearl and other 18th century underground sexual movements still affects and fascinates us today, and examples can be seen at the Sex Museum in New York and London.

(Museum of Sex: New York and London)

The Dark side of Christmas: Or the Curious truth about St Nickolas and his Demon Servant Krampus. (Part 2): The True Saint Nickolas: Saint or Sorcerer?

“St Nicholas’ Day is celebrated on 6 December across the world in honour of the benign bringer of gifts. But the story behind the saint, who is the model for Santa Claus, has a much darker history peppered with tales of murder, mutilation, cannibalism and infanticide. It’s a widely known fact that the tradition of Christmas is descended from ancient Pagan rituals, notably the Fertility Festival.  This celebration, involving copious food, drink and orgies a‘plenty, fell on the 24th of December, the shortest day of the year.  December 25 was venerated as the “birth” of the sun, or the start of the days growing progressively longer.

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Most of us are now aware, December 25 was NOT the actual birth of Christ (which is believed to fall somewhere in July), yet in 350 A.D. Pope Julius I decreed that it would be celebrated on that date.  A shrewd decision, as it combined the Pagan and Christian festivals (essentially making the Sun and the Son one and the same) and appears to have succeeded in inspiring people to join the Catholic Church–apparently the Pope’s main goal all along.
Incidentally, the tradition of Yuletide cookie making reportedly began in Finland with eight carefully cut cookies, including one whose shape (representing the power “Hel”) corresponds directly to that of the present-day swastika!

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St. Nicholas, as stated above, was an actual historical figure who lived in the region of modern-day Turkey during the Third Century A.D.  A man of deep faith known for his boundless charity and generosity, St. Nick established many of our most cherished holiday traditions, including the name Santa Claus, which began as a mispronunciation of Sinterklaas, a Dutch contraction of Saint Nicholas.

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The tradition that most concerns us is that of leaving out stockings on Christmas Eve, which emerges from a (probably apocryphal) story of how St. Nick helped out three poverty-stricken sisters by tossing bags of gold through each of the girls’ windows at night.  This is indeed how the stockings-on-the-mantelpiece tradition got started, but it’s also the source of the three gold balls symbol adopted by pawn-brokers the world over, for whom St. Nick was the patron saint.

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According to a traditional French children’s song from the 17th century, three children are killed and chopped up by a butcher in his shop and stowed away in a large salting tub, with overtones of cannibalism. St Nicholas revived them and returned them to their families, hence his reputation as a children’s protector. But by what means or “dark agencies” did he use to do so? And why did he unleash The demon Krampus on ill behaved children, if he is their protector?

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In Hungary Santa Claus is known as Mikulas, or “Winter Godfather,” and celebrated via an elaborate series of rituals beginning on December 5, when children take special baths so they’ll be extra clean for Mikulas’ arrival.  They also put out shoes for him to fill with goodies (in observance of the “three gold bags” tale outlined above).  But here’s the thing: only good children get the goodies.  The bad ones get a golden birch so they can be beaten! In Belgium and the Netherlands, these helpers are called Zwarte Pieten (Black Pete) who kidnapped all the naughty children and tied them up in sacks.

Santa’s Evil Companions:   European folklore has it that several companions travel with Santa on Christmas Eve. These not-so-nice helpers carry a rod (with which to beat unruly children) and a sack (to kidnap especially bad kids).  These include Knecht Ruprecht, or Servent Ruprecht, and the horned incubus Krampus.  It’s apparently a tradition in Germany for young men to dress up like Krampus and scare people during the first two weeks of December. So why is this “Holy” figure is always going about his work employing evil helpers to assist him?

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And we mustn’t forget Zwarte Piet, or Black Peter.  Perhaps the most famous of Santa’s companions, this personage is especially prevalent in the Netherlands and Flanders.  The Black in his name isn’t accidental, as Black Peter was originally  in some traditions depicted as a devil and others a loyal helper, but in Belgium and the Netherlands, these helpers are called Zwarte Pieten(Black Pete) who kidnapped all the naughty children and tied them up in sacks. This has caused controversy in recent years, with many regarding  most of them appear to agree on the fact that Black Peter is a profoundly evil individual.

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Devil worship and the cult of St Nicholas is more clearly defined in Germanic folklore. In Austria, Bavaria and Tyrol, the saint is accompanied by the demon Krampus.

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Saint Nicholas (15 March 270 – 6 December 343), was also called Nikolaos of Myra, was a historic Christian saint and Greek Bishop of Myra, in Asia Minor (modern-day Demre, Turkey). He has many miracles attributed to him and other titles include Nikolaos the Wonderworker.”

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Many churches in Europe, Russia and the US claim to possess small relics, such as a tooth or a finger. It is said that in Myra the relics of Saint Nicholas each year exuded a clear watery liquid which smells like rose water, called manna (or myrrh), which is believed by the faithful to possess miraculous powers. A flask of this liquid is extracted from the tomb of Saint Nicholas every year on 6 December by priests.

He is the patron saint of sailors, merchants, archers, repentant thieves, children, brewers, bakers, pawnbrokers and students.

The Dark side of Christmas: Or the Curious truth about St Nickolas and his Demon Servant Krampus. (Part 1): KRAMPUS An offering of children Sacrifice?

“Why my dear sir Mr. Kringle, I would have a word with you about your hired help I say.” (Mike Strange.)

Many have been lead to believe only that what they have been told about Christmas, without questioning this yearly rite of worship of the old pagan gods thinly veiled under the quise  of  Christian religion.

KRAMPUS:

“The Dark Side of Kris Kringle
By: Steven Heller | November 15, 2012

Christmas is not all about decking the halls and joy to the world. St. Nick’s “dark servant” (no elf is he), who goes by the name Krampus, is a hairy, horned, supernatural beast whose pointed ears and long, slithering tongue give the naughty something to think twice about. St. Nikolaus (a.k.a. Mr. Klaus) rewarded good children, but the little baddies found Krampus slithering down the chimney. Don’t worry you American and Western European kids, Krampus is mostly found in Northern and Eastern Europe—Germany, Austria, Croatia, Slovakia, Slovenia, and northern Italy. Hmmmmm.

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In Old High German, Krampus suggests the word for claw (Krampen). Traditionally, young men dress as the Krampus in the first two weeks of December, particularly on the evening of December 5th, and administer corporal punishment with a birch rod. Images of Krampus usually show him carrying away naughty tykes to the bowels of Hell. How can a truly benevolent Santa allow this to happen? The old boy had yet to be commercialized into the symbol of consumption when the mythic Krampus was conceived.

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Krampus in many Alpine European towns, the celebration of St. Nicholas Day would not be the same without a celebration on its Eve, December 5th, honoring this dark servant.

Originating in Germanic folklore as early as the 1600s, Krampus is believed to be a beastial creature who accompanies St. Nicholas on his earthly journey. While St. Nicholas rewards the good children with gifts and sweets, Krampus dispenses punishment to the wicked children who have strayed from the path of good. It is said he takes care of St. Nick’s “naughty list.” Why, the mere sight of Krampus alone is enough to turn any wrong-doer toward more peaceful pursuits.

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The name Krampus is derived from the Old High German word for “claw.” This towering, seven foot tall, hairy creature is depicted as having bulging eyes, a whip-like tongue, pointed ears and horns atop his head. He carries a pitchfork or, more traditionally, a bundle of birch switches, to menace children as he travels through town on a pair of mismatched feet: one cloven hoof, the other a bear-like claw. Wayward children caught by Krampus are spanked, whipped and even shackled to be spirited away in either a basket or barrel to Krampus’ lair. Once there they receive further punishment until they are repentant.

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Krampus festivals throughout Alpine communities kick off the holiday season with townspeople dressing in Krampus costumes, running rampant through the streets and putting a scare in the youngsters. After the children have been given a proper fright to ensure they stay on the straight and narrow, the rowdy Krampus are rewarded with holiday spirits, traditionally beer and schnapps. In fact, Krampus celebrations have become so popular that they can last for days before the arrival of Saint Nicholas on December 6th.”

 

 

Human Sexuality in Victorian England: Love, Sex and Lust in the Victorian Era. (Part 2)

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The problem of Hysteria in Victorian women and the invention of the vibrator.

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Being a woman in the Victorian era was very stifling indeed, first a young girl was not educated on anything but being a proper housewife and mother, and nothing else. There was very few options for a young woman to begin with. If you were not married, you either worked for low wages as a governess (nanny), scullery maid, or in a brothel. The age of consent for a girl to marry was between 10-13 years old (or a lad, but mostly girls) and once she is married the girl basically the property of her husband and totally subjected to him, as her sole role was is to be a mother and wife.

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Under the code of “Victorian Morality” she was not to enjoy sex with her husband for pleasure (his or hers), but was expected to only have intercourse with her husband to produce an heir, and actually she was to discourage any kind of intimate physical contact with her husband. However the women’s fashions of the time was designed to be pleasing to the eye’s of men, yet also by design to be very restrictive for any kind of work, and torturously  uncomfortable.

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“The fashion of the time included the baroque bonnet, high heels, large skirts, and corsets all of which proved the impracticality of doing any task. The important image of beauty as by defined by soft hands, porcelain complexion, and dainty feet kept women in the household outside of the sun’s rays, and in the visually appealing clothing that served no purpose outside of of emphasizing an image of sexiness to men” (Harrison 34-7).

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This static existence of women, and the lack of sexual attention from their husbands led to extreme sexual tension, which in the 1800’s was diagnosed as “Hysteria” which was classified as a “womb disease” by Victorian doctors, who never clearly defined the true cause of this “disease” that upper class Victorian women seemed to be suffering from.

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Since hysteria was a so called chronic disease, a short term treatment was developed to deal with this affliction of females. Women would go for treatment to a doctors office, the procedure was called “pelvic message” so that the woman could reach “paroxysm” to relive the poor sick woman.

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However messaging a woman’s lower supine lumbar was time consuming and hard work, it could take hours for a patient to reach “paroxysm”, so in 1870 the very first vibrators were invented for physicians to use on their patients.

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Across the pond in America, a company by the name of Hamilton Beach started selling the first manual vibrators for women to use at home in 1902, and what was originally strictly a medical office treatment was now available for women to enjoy at home in private, while their husbands spend time at the brothel.

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Human Sexuality in Victorian England: Love, Sex and Lust in the Victorian Era. (Part 1)

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Exploring the views thoughts and mannerisms of sexual behavior in the late 19th century England, Known as the Victorian Era. The Victorian period in England spans from 1837 to 1901 under the reign of Queen Victoria. With Victorians generally considered narrow minded, prudish and stuffy. Sexuality was being overtly suppressed in this era, and how it affected the values and conventions of the time in English society, and how this gave rise to the underground sexual element in print, and practice, as well as the psychology of sex, and how doctor’s , and citizens coped with the libido of the time.

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The Victorian era is known as the reign of Queen Victoria, which started on June 20th 1837 and ended on January 22nd 1901 with her death. This was considered by the English to have been a very lengthy period of very high refined sensibilities along with prosperity and peace for Great Britain. In fact Victorian England was thought to be an era of confidence for the British Empire.

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There was also a great cultural shift from the previous era of rationalism which was known as the Gregorian era, and moved as far as the arts, social values and spirituality embraced “Romanticism and Mysticism”. However in the Victorian period there was this all-pervading morale climate known as the “Victorian Morality”, a stringent set of morale-social behavior and sexual restraint, which was viewed hypocritical by many back then and today; citing the proliferating morale dignity and refined restraint along -side such social phenomena such as child labor and prostitution.

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Victorian men and women who were married had to undress behind screens, for doing so in front of  their spouses was considered taboo, but at the beach, everybody went fully nude which was the norm.

 

There were over 9,000 prostitutes in London, so society turned a blind eye, as women were 2nd class citizens , that is unless you were part of the nobility, but women were still not allowed to vote.  Women working at a house of “ill repute” were looked upon as “fallen ladies”, but the husbands of respectable wives was still employing them  as married woman were encouraged not to have sex with their husbands except for procreation, and there was nothing a wife could do, as “Victorian law didn’t allow women to get divorced for adultery, unless cruelty could be proven in court.

 

The Halloween Masquerade Ball – A Sexy Venetian Carnival Affair.

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I had the distinguished honor of attending the 2nd annual Halloween Masquerade Ball as a “Royal VIP Guest”. It was billed as “A Sexy Venetian Carnival Affair” which has become one of the most popular NYC Halloween events. This “debaucherous Venetian Masquerade Ball”, was modeled in the spirit of Stanley Kubrick’s “EYES WIDE SHUT” film w/ Tom Cruise & Nicole Kidman; Which I must say is very sexy indeed!

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Held this year at the enormous Stage 48 venue (the largest event space in Manhattan), with three gigantic floors of seduction, sexiness and mystery! I was enamored with the spirit and willingness of all the guest who attended, as just about everyone there was very much into it, and dressed the part.

On the four corners of the main dance floor, pillared platforms of sexy “masked Go-Go” dancers got the crowd moving and shaking in the most fun and salacious way. This event was so bloody sexy, I too had to dance with wild abandon with these sexy and well dressed masked strangers, who were ever willing to have a sophisticated and sexy good time.

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I must say that the coolest of the cool of New York’s Cafe’ society came out to pay homage to the theme of night, “Eye’s Wide Shut”.

“Back in 1292, the original purpose of the Carnival of Venice was to serve as an excuse for people of different social classes to mingle and indulge in behaviors that might be otherwise deemed questionable, if not downright salacious.

The custom of wearing masks developed to protect the identity of the Carnival participants and empowering them anonymous freedom to partake in their most intimate of fantasies and desires.”

“The point of THE MASQUERADE BALL is to provide a sexy evening of ‘mystique’ & ‘playfulness’ for you and your friends to experience the freedom of anonymity behind the mask, leaving your inhibitions behind, and setting your wildest fantasies free. So get in the playful, adventurous Venetian spirit and prepare for what is sure to be one of the most unforgettable & most tantalizing experiences of your lives…”

And the Elegant Classy Gentleman was there, and THE MASQUERADE BALL was all that it promised………and More! Five thumbs up for this event.