Sunday, March 28, 2010

Elephants Wear Taupe

Above Red-eyed Tree Frog (Agalychnis callidryas), photographed by Carey James Balboa near Playa Jaco, Costa Rica (2007). Public domain. It reminds us of references to camouflage and clothing design in a now quaint high school play that originated in the Home Economics Division at Iowa State College (now Iowa State University, Ames). Titled The High School Clothes Line, the script was initially published in the Journal of Home Economics. Vol 13 (April 1921), pp. 169ff—

Ada. I feel differently about made-over clothes since I have a budget. How do you like my dress? (Ada stands and turns.)

Genevieve. Is that a made-over?

Ada. Yes, and I'm proud of it. Mother is an old peach at fixing things up. She is a regular camouflage artist. (Describes dress and gives cost of new material.)…

Genevieve. A large girl went to a dressmaker to get a red dress made. The dressmaker said she would make her a pretty brown dress and trim it with henna, but the girls insisted on the red dress. Finally the dressmaker told her that nature dressed the larger animals in neutral colors, but the small dainty creatures have color to make up for their lack of size. The elephant always wears taupe, while the hummingbird wears brilliant colors.

Katherine. Emma's new eton dress is real camouflage. It covers up her round shoulders. The loose jacket and wide belt fill in the hollow back…