Thursday, December 17, 2015

A Surge of Seventies Red

Marz sent me Canadian whisky ads from the 1970s, featuring psuedo-Mounties. They're like Due South (dS) meets Starsky & Hutch

Rule-abiding Constable Fraser of dS would never wear his uniform with nothing underneath, as these guys seem to be doing
--not only because it would be against regulations but because it would be uncomfortable. 

The costumer of dS said the high collar rubbed the actor's neck raw.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) uniform is known as the Red Serge . . .
 because it's made of serge that is red. 

After I stayed up til 3 AM recently reading Due South fans' Tumblrs, I commented to Marz, 
"They're kind of addictive, but they're all about emotional relationships---nobody asked anything like, what is red serge anyway?"

And Marz replied that I am not suited to fandom:
"You're not looking to worship, you're looking for understanding,"
--a pretty accurate (and pleasing) assessment.
Sewing and fabric terms have long and complicated histories--interesting, I think, though I often get lost trying to figure them out.
"Serge" refers to a kind of weave---"twill"--("cloth woven in parallel diagonal lines"), with an even, two up–two down pattern. 

Oh--"twill" has an adorable etymology:
from Old English twili : "woven with double thread, twilled," partial loan-translation of Latin bilix "with a double thread" (with Old English twi- substituted for cognate Latin bi-)

If terminology re sewing is complicated, that for uniforms seems even worse to me. 
  Hm... Looking again, I'm not sure these whisky ads show official RCMP uniforms. 
I'm pretty sure not: the white belt and the pants' red stripe, for instance, are wrong. They should be a brown "Sam Browne" belt and yellow strapping (stripe).

Like Fraser's here, below left
Star Trek Uhura's uniform, below right, seems to be a descendant (though I can't find any indication designers intended it to be):

dS makers said the RCMP wouldn't give them permission to use the exact uniform, until they decided the show was a good thing--perhaps they didn't give permission for slutty whisky ads either.

For the season:


Michael Leddy said...

There’s a tune credited to Mercer Ellington, “Blue Serge.” I guess blue serge garments were a thing, back when everyone drank whiskey.

Zhoen said...

I recall reading that a lot of nun habits were surge. Perhaps because it was durable, warm, and possibly, inexpensive?

Fresca said...

MICHAEL: THanks for the link---I'll have to listen to it when I'm not at the coffee shop (where I do most of my blogging).

Whiskey and cigarettes = cool things that aren't so hot for you.

ZHOEN: I read that serge moves well---something about the diagonal weave?
Anyway, it's used a lot in uniforms;
but it's not cheap anymore, if it ever was--at least not the wool kind (serge doesn't have to be wool)
---I ran into an article saying the RCMP can't afford their uniforms anymore!