Topiary, Eyebrows and the Vagaries of Fashion

Fashion moves, rather like a Dalek, in mysterious ways. Well, actually everyone knows Daleks move by the power of the feet of poor unseen actors cramped up in a hot and smelly pepperpot structure but, whatever.

What I actually mean is fashion slinks about like a haute-couture clad thief in the night, sneaky, svelte and shape-shifting, constantly re-inventing itself, changing the rules, condemning one year and lauding the next. Bigging up shoulder pads and low hems one season, laughing them out of town next season. One day it’s all Ugg boots and fake tans and the next it’s diamante sling-backs and porcelain pale. That is what fashion does. This is why so many men, like my Father, and my friend Desperate Dave don’t like it. They want to wear that grey cardigan every year until it falls off and they’ve got another one exactly like it that they bought at the same time, plus one in a slightly different colour “because it makes sense” and they won’t be told it doesn’t fit it with this years look which is all off the shoulder and distressed leather. Not that my Father would good in distressed leather, and Ugg boots and diamante sling-backs would never match Dave’s checked shirts and low-slung jeans.

However, fashion doesn’t stop at the dress shop. Of course not. We all know it influences food, cars, beverages pencil cases and everything else, including gardens. And topiary.

Once upon a time all anyone wanted was spheres, squares and conical shapes,in their privets and hawthorns, with perhaps the occasional arch cut in a tall hedge to run through on your way to bearing an important message to Elizabeth Bennet or Thomas Cromwell.  Now, however, anything goes. You are as likely to come across a bush shaped like a dancing unicorn or Kim Kardashian’s rear as you are a standard squared off bit of privet. Why? Fashion blended with technology. As clippers grow more advanced, lightweight and easy to use, so ambition grows. Well, that’s what I think anyway. Topiary is a broad church…

Elaborate, artistic and original...
…from the elaborate, artistic and original… don't give up your day job!
…to the “don’t give up your day job!”

And it’s the same with eyebrows. Why eyebrows? Well, they have really taken off again as a fashion statement. Anything goes.

You’ve got eyebrow weaving, colouring, plucking and shaping. It is a bit strange. However, I see how it works. I see eyebrows as the ornamental bushes of the face, a careful trim here and there and everything looks neater.

Just like your garden. If your hedge looks tidy and straight, everything else looks that bit better. Just like shaping your eyebrows properly can even out and distract from other parts of your face and make everything seem more even.

And here we see how fashion has changed over the years. Once upon a time big and bushy was in. Look at Brook Shields in the 80s. Heavy browed and sultry she fairly glowed with eyebrowness.  Now the  heavy eyebrow is back in the pages of fashion magazine but at the same time you’ve got girls from Essex and beyond, shaving their brows off and replacing them with tattoos of eyebrows. Tattoos! Bonkers?  Rather like taking up your lawn and replacing it with astroturf, but, hang on, stop press, hold the front page, people are doing that as well. There you go. Fashion and technology mixed. What next? Plastic flowers in the garden and lips made of silicone…oops, the lips thing already happened.

For me it’s about nature. I like a well kept eyebrow, maintained and tidy but still natural and left to its natural shape in much the way I like my garden not too structured and landscaped. Tidy but natural has to be the way forward surely? Otherwise we are just replacing nature with the stuff that we go to nature to escape from, plastic, metal, artificiality.

So, I know it’s not the season for topiary. In fact, as Dick told us all yesterday, sensibly as ever, it’s time to ‘trim back your late Autumn growth (and he’s not talking about eyebrows)  but, seriously, when you, clip your hedges, trim your shrubs, mow your lawn and prune your trees, remember to keep it simple, keep it tidy and keep it ‘real’ people.   See ya. Holly.

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