Move over goldfish platform shoes. Next time I need to bring my goldfish out to see the world, I am definitely opting for this super-chic backpack by Cassandra Verity. Or possibly the backpack & purse combo, depending on how many of my goldfish want to go.
I don’t know if anyone else has noticed, but there seems to be a lot of astronaut movies coming out right now. Maybe it’s because of the renewed interest in manned space missions since the success of the Mars Curiosity mission last year, I don’t know.It kind of feels like it’s 1998 again. But have you ever wondered how they designed the spacesuit? It’s become a pretty iconic look in its own right, in both science fiction and other cultural contexts. Thom Browne even closed his first Paris menswear show in 2010 with models walking down the runway in spacesuits.
The first spacesuit was designed for the Mercury missions (1958-1963). They were only meant to be worn inside the spacecraft in case of cabin pressure loss, so they are much less bulky than the spacesuits we know today. Made of aluminized nylon, which gives them a very distinct metallic sheen, the Mercury suits consisted of a helmet, lace up boots, and gloves. Stylistically speaking, they’re much more Lost in Space than Armageddon.
The Mercury spacesuit prototypes were tested on a chimpanzee named Enos. Yes, that Space Chimps movie is entirely real.
The Apollo space missions (1963-1972) required a different type of spacesuit than those designed for previous missions. It needed to be able to protect the wearer from the hazards of space outside the ship, which include things like radiation and extreme heat and cold, and they needed a suit that had its own life support. The Gemini spacesuit, which came before Apollo’s, could withstand a space walk, but mobility was limited because the life support was through the ship via a hose. Not very practical, and done away with entirely for the Apollo missions.
The final design features about a million layers. The first is a water-cooled nylon undergarment to regulate your body temperature. Then you put on a multilayered pressure suit with three layers – lightweight nylon, neoprene coated nylon, and regular nylon. On top of that there are 5 layers of alumized Mylar interwoven with four layers of Dacron for heat protection, two more layers of Dacron for further heat protection, and then two layers of Teflon to protect the suit from rips. This process takes about 45 minutes. The boots of the Apollo suit differ from those of past missions, because they’re designed to be able to walk on rocky terrain.
These suits have come to be known as EVA (Extravehicular Activity) suits, and have been used on pretty much every manned mission since Apollo, and have been made by ILC Dover since the 60s. ILC also makes NASA’s shuttle suits.
6//Colour Me Orange
The bright orange “pumpkin suits,” or Advanced Crew Escape Suits, are only meant to be worn within the shuttle during takeoff and landing. These suits are orange because it makes it easier to spot the wearers in case a search and rescue needs to be done. Underneath these are usually a g-suit, a tight fitting dark green suit filled with inflatable bladders that are designed to keep the wearer’s blood from pooling in their legs while in periods of high acceleration. When astronauts are just chilling in the shuttle, they wear Air Force issue flight suits.
In a similar fashion, EVA suits are white because it reflects heat and stands out in the blackness of space.
Russia and China, the only other two nations with manned space programs, have their own custom spacesuits. In Russia cosmonauts wear the Sokol suit for launch and landing, and the Orlan suit for space walks. Both are white. NASA sometimes also uses these suits. Chinese astronauts wear Feitan suits, which are modeled after the Orlan suit, and a landing suit based on the Sokol.
NASA has recently been testing new prototypes for deep space and Mars missions. They recently contracted ILC to make them the T-2, a prototype that is meant for deep space missions, and is more flexible and comfortable than EVA suits.
10//A Spacesuit On Its Own
There is a spacesuit that has been made into a satellite. Called the SuitSat, it was an Orlan suit that was recommissioned as a cheap satellite. It was launched into space on February 3, 2006, but has since been pulled back into our atmosphere and burned up.
//Extra Credit Reading List
“Why are Astronauts Spacesuits Orange?” by Clara Moskowitz (LiveScience). June 2, 2010.
“NASA’s Spacesuits Through the Years: Photos.” by Irene Klotz (Discovery News). May 3, 2013.
“History of U.S. Spacesuits.” by the Man-Vehicle Laboratory, MIT Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics (mit.edu). March 17, 1997.
“NASA – The History of Spacesuits.” by Unknown. (nasa.gov). September 16, 2008.
We’ve got some extremely exciting news to share with all Wornettes. News of the “akasdhfiasdnfkd” variety. We’re publishing a book! The WORN Archive: A Fashion Journal About The Art, Ideas, And History Of What We Wear will be released by Drawn & Quarterly in May 2014.
The WORN Archive is 500 pages of complete and total awesomeness. You’ll see some of our favourite articles and editorials from Issues One through Fourteen, as well as exclusive behind-the-scenes materials showing the evolution of WORN.
Each chapter of the book will present a key part of the WORN mandate: namely, that clothes matter. Over the last eight years, writers, artists, stylists, photographers, and graphic designers have come together to produce a magazine proving that fashion is art, fashion is history, fashion is identity, and more. The WORN Archive will be a must-read for people who love to read, people who love fashion, and above all, Wornettes.
You said I’ll have to live out of one suitcase. I’ll bet yours isn’t this small.
This is a suitcase?
Well, a Mark Cross overnight case.
I gave my mother a boring Christmas list. However amusing it is that I am an adult woman who still gives her mother a Christmas list is not the point in my sharing. The point is that my Christmas list was rejected, or rather sent back to me for a second pass, on the grounds that it was dull and in possession of zero holiday magic. Upon review, I had to admit that I would not want to buy any person the things on that list. It was just a collection of household necessities and personal grooming practicalities; the heart’s desires of a truly boring person. Which I like to think I am not.
The trouble is that my personal style has gotten really classic of late. Actually, the classic bit is not so much the problem as is the visible fallout from this shift. All of my sartorial desires are so utterly simple, their tones so neutral that it’s tempting to view them through the eyes of the more fashionably adventurous among my friends and think of them as boring also. The contents of my original Christmas list served as a reminder not to fall prey to this thinking and get all sloppy with it. To my mind, having classic style is all about specificity and enthusiastic choice; “a gentle exercise of will” at every acquisition.
The following are links that are reminding me of that, among other things today.
PS: The final draft of my Christmas list was as follows: gray crew-neck cashmere sweater, crisp white cotton sheets, and a year’s subscription to The Paris Review. And to get any or all would make this classic wornette very, very happy indeed.
I just watched Rear Window for the first time. (I know, I know. “It’s a seminal work” or whatever…) And Grace Kelly’s New York princess style could and should be discussed at even greater length than it has already been. What I will say here, in the spirit of brevity, is that the Mark Cross handbag she pulls out in one scene reminded me of how much I like a bag so utterly free of branding and iconography. It is what it is and she can say whatever she wants with it.
So many reasons why I like this. Where to begin? Alice Gregory, fellow appreciator of the always classic, late Carolyn Bessette Kennedy, is a great writer. Next up, this is all about looking for a very long time for the perfect, minimal and entirely classic camel coat. Now this is a story after my own heart! I was very happy to read about Gregory thinking and dreaming about clothes the way I do. And, expecting them to be as transformative.
I am a writer, and so, obviously, The Paris Review exists in my thinking as a kind of lit promise land. So imagine my delight at being able to peek inside their new New York offices and read about the personal style of those who call that incredible magazine “work.”
I have been a from-afar admirer of the personal style of Daphne Javitch for, let’s just say, some years. Girl’s got a supremely classic sensibility but is always slightly off-beat. She has described her style as “chic muppet” and I liked that a lot. This is a fashion film where you get to see her shop and get dressed.
This outstanding article by Adelle Waldman circulated quite a little bit when it first dropped but it’s sparked so many great conversations lately that I would be remiss not to include it here. It may not deal with fashion, but in my mind, it is at least tangentially related. Or they have conversational friends in common. Or just read it, okay?