Fringe Benefits

On Halloween this year I went as a 1920’s era vampire, complete with gas mask and a fully tasseled frock. It was pretty much the most fun night I have had this year thus far, and it wasn’t just because I wore vampire teeth all night, or because I had a cool dancing companion. If you ask me, it was the tassels that did it. I’ve had a lifelong love affair with tasseled dresses and have agonised over many a tassel, many a time.

Tassels are a fine and fanciful thing. Delicate, tempestuous, sensual, irresistible, touch-and-go (don’t you just love that?) They get tangled and entwined with one another; they catch on the offending jewellery of passersby in clubs; they fray with age, disappear without warning, and are never, ever forgotten. Quite a conundrum, and the kind that I am usually drawn to.

I was so sad when I had to return the tassels to Mardi Gras. I had it in my mind that the dress was simply mine. Not to be worn by anyone else, it’s silken lining and crocheted neckline in a perfect state of divine entropy, with my name all over it. But she had to go. I hope to wear her again in the future.

In the meantime, I still keep an eye out for my perfect tassels. The recent launch of Kate Moss’s ultimate collection for Topshop provided some distraction, in the form of a black, fully tasseled jacket (pictured below). True to form, it sold out before I could get my paws on it, but looking at pictures of it is almost enough.

And that being said, tassels, or fringe, as the Americans like to call it, are all over the show at the moment. Shorts, skirts, bustles, frocks, shoes, bags, jewellery, even Beyonce’s brille in the music video for Diva – all a’tasseled.

Some people like to call tasseling ‘fringing’, but I think that they are two different things. Fringing, to me, is the suede jacket, Billy-Ray-Cyrus-type; thicker and sturdier than fabric tassels.

Tasseling is the kind you associate with original flapper dresses, given to irresistible swishing and ideal for shimmying.

Mesmerizing, really.


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