I hate bugs. I hate them. They’re slimy and creepy and icky and gross. I hate them more than the average person. I don’t ‘do’ spiders, and I almost had a panic attack when I saw my first cockroach. I don’t see anything wrong with this; there are very few people who relish an encounter with creepy crawly things.
And yet I left the house today adorned with insects; creeping over my fingers, wrapped around my neck and nestled in my hair. They’ve invaded my wardrobe; a quick scan reveals butterflies on my scarf, ladybugs on my tea dress and even moths (and god I do hate moths) on my shirt. I’m saving all my pocket money for Joy Everley rings and an exquisite ASOS necklace, both featuring the creepy crawlies I claim to despise. I can’t help but face the facts – I’m obsessed. But wait; it seems to me that everyone is. Everywhere I look bugs are creeping and crawling over shirts, dresses, bags, rings – I’ve even seen French knickers emblazoned with fruit flies.
Now, I can accept that butterflies and ladybirds have always been popular, usually accompanied by flowers and pretty pastel colours; and even I can see that their real life incarnations are sort of cute. (I said sort of. If you look at them from the other side of a window). But this new fascination, seeing me covet life size stag beetle rings and chunky spider necklaces that would have horrified me 6 months ago, this I cannot understand. Why do I suddenly consider bugs the most beautiful thing out there?
Maybe the insects are just another aspect of my – and fashion’s – love of shocking incongruity. We’ve already been obsessed with skull motifs for a long time. And really, what better represents that sense of the beautiful-horrible than something which simultaneously raises our primordial hackles, and is yet one of the most exquisite of mother nature creates?
So, who has managed to perfect the beautiful-horrible incongruity which has converted me from an arachnophobe to a bug lover?
Joy Everley and Lucy Jade Sylvester, both boutique English jewellers, have perfected the life-size, precious metal stag beetle, though I find myself more drawn to the jewel encrusted finery of the former’s creations in contrast to the, still exquisite, as-life statuettes of the latter.
Climbing further and further out of my price range, into the realms of “one day, when I marry a millionaire…” territory, is Bottega Veneta’s gold ‘Scarabee’ beauty, and Kit Neale’s 2012 LFW menswear collection, which sees beetles and ladybugs crawling through flowers on 90’s men’s sportswear jackets. Though hardly an example of the horrible beauty I so love, his patterns evoke the incongruous feeling by playing on the odd contrast of a conventionally feminine print with men’s sportswear.
Ted Baker’s ‘Rose Bug’ print swimwear and scarves leave something to be desired – the pattern is undoubtedly pretty, but the huge flowers overpower all sense of the creepiness of the crawlies. On the other hand Religion’s swarming moth blouse goes a little too far the other way, verging on a drab ugliness.
Achraf Amiri for Sorapol gets closest to the ineffable quality I’m searching for; however I am ashamed to say that my hatred for skinny, spiny legs means I simply cannot reconcile myself with his creations.
I find myself wondering if perhaps jewellery is the best preserve of this incongruity I love so much. Like an entomologist waiting for his final specimen, I’m still waiting for the perfect ‘horrible yet beautiful’ bug print piece to complete my collection.
Georgia Van Raalte
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Image 1: Sylvester
Image 2: Everley