On Living Well


“‘The best revenge is living well.’ It is a wonderful expression. I just do not know how true it is. You do not see it turning up in a lot of opera plots. ‘Ludwig, maddened by the poisoning of his entire family, wreaks vengeance on Gunther in the third act by living well. Whereupon Woton, upon discovering his deception, wreaks vengeance on Gunther in the third act again by living even better than the Duke.'”

– Niles Crane

19/xii mmxii


Salmon skin is tougher than cow hide and has a natural elasticity which allows it to spring back into shape, hence its use in the fashion industry as cuir de mer or ‘sea leather’.

Top hats have been fashionable for almost 200 years, but when the first one was worn in 1797 by James Heatherington, he was immediately arrested and fined 50 pounds for behaving in a manner ‘calculated to frighten timid people’.

Alexandra of Denmark (1844-1925)

Alexandra of Denmark, Princess of Wales, wife of King Edward VII of the United Kingdom

In 1778, the Royal Family and all of fashionable society went to the christening of 3rd Duke of Chandos’s daughter. But, under the glare of the lights and the weight of the lavishly embroidered christening robe, the child went into convulsions and died the next day. 11 years later, the Duke himself died when his wife accidentally pulled his chair out from under him as he went to sit down.

In the 1860s, Alexandra, Princess of Wales, developed a very slight limp as the result of a minor accident. This was imitated in sycophantic fashion by various ladies of the court, and was known as the Alexandra limp.

In the 18th century, fashion-conscious women plucked their eyebrows and glued on strips of mouse-skin instead.