I have always wondered who thought it was a good idea for a lady to wear a tightly laced corset so her midriff looked like a wasp. The wasp waist was highly fashionable in the 19th and 20th century. Average corseted waist measurements varied between 20 and 23 inches but measurements of 18 to 16 inches were not uncommon.
Luckily the wasp waist is no longer a fashion statement but the humble wasp could still be influencing fashion. Every year the Pantone Color Institute surveys influential designers about the colours which will be hitting our high streets in spring, summer, autumn and winter. Pantone report that this season’s shades are inspired by paintings from the Great Masters, chinese opera, cityscapes and the countryside. Perennial autumn classics like brown and beige can be spruced-up with a splash of yellow and teal. But when researching the shades which may be gracing my wardrobe this autumn I couldn’t help but wonder if they had used pests as their inspiration.
Bamboo is tipped to be this season’s hottest shade. Similar to the wasp or honey bee which broadcasts its bold colouring as a warning for predators to stay well away or suffer the consequence of being stung, bamboo is warm and exotic; reminiscent of fallen leaves damaged by the leaf miner.
Another key colour is cedar, a mid-tone green which evokes memories of a caterpillar crawling along a juicy leaf. Mousey brown shades of Nougat and Coffee Liqueur could have been inspired by the house brown moth. The bronze-brown moth has black flecks on the forewings and is omnivorous. The house brown moth feeds on anything from your favourite sweater to the carpet or dried flower arrangement.
I just hope that the 1980’s fashion of rat tail hair styles do not make a come back. Can anyone else think of how pests have inspired fashion?