Wearing this jacket, which bears witness to the grand public schools, the British Empire, Kipling and Kitchener, Ypres, the Somme and the Western Front, brassy medals, Chelsea bombings, fighting in Norway, Palestine, South Africa, Iraq, Afghanistan and the Balkans, the Order of St Patrick, the ‘Troubles’, Brian Boru, the kid cadets still named ‘mini Micks’, Passchendaele, Jacobites and the Battle of the Boyne, the bear-skin hats, the Stuart dynasty, postings in Belize, Cyprus, securement of the British Sector of West Berlin, Kuwait, Basra, County Fermanagh, Zimbabwe-Rhodesia, the freedom of Liverpool, with thousands upon thousands dead and mutilated, I thee wed.
Eschewing the flamboyant (critics said “grotesque and overindulgent”) designs of the previous decade, the new couturier at the fashion house picked up his scissors and set to work. He had chosen a heavy material and was mulling over words: sackcloth? Too pious. Workwear? Blandly utilitarian. He sighed and snipped – and snipped until a small, minimalist dress was made. In at the waist (tight at the belt) and accentuating the bust, he thought. But not one of his models would wear it. All they saw was snippets of cloth lying across the floor – and the dress, a tiny, useless remnant of fabric.