Chainmail; a fashion statement of empowerment, resistance and rebellion, a declaration to those around you that you mean business! Think Russell Crow in Gladiator, Vivienne Westward’s punk rock SEX shop, Liz Hurley in that safety pin dress (a 1990s twist on the chainmail look), Paco Rabanne... Pat Butcher! The chain links the cheap and tacky to the one of a kind luxury through the decades; an all encompassing symbol of strength. Let us not reduce the chain to the shoulder strap on a knock off Chanel handbag in a Primark bargain bin, let us reclaim the chain!
Why now? This is the summer after all. We should be artfully arranging ourselves on plaid rugs next to picnic hampers, channelling Rachel Khoo and cooking up madeleines in 1950s ditsy prints, drinking gin with sprigs of lavender in it – according to the Observer last week! I am however yet to see the sun from Edinburgh this year and, in light of having to practically swim through the park last week due to the recent bout of flooding, perhaps this British summer we need a fashion statement of defiance against the odds.
The chain does of course have practical origins. Chainmail and its use in armour can be seen in historical imagery dating back to 300BC. Today its practical uses may be a little less glamorous than those of the Middle Ages; chainmail is now used to protect butchers against the perils of the meat packing equipment. The empowering quality of chainmail however remains steadfast, for what modern woman does not want to be the embodiment of strength and flexibility!
This look can be as bold as you dare but here are a few Armstrongs examples found at Teviot Place today to give you an idea.