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Original post 15 June 2006
* Quote added 5 July 2017 *
** Upload 20 November 2017 **
Spontoon Island Archipelago
Costume and Clothing Background
(comments by the dazzling fashion-plate: Ken Fletcher)The time period shown in the Spontoon Archipelago is usually in the 1930s, with occasional views from about 1920 to 1945.
The variety of costume seen on Spontoon Island can range from fashionable dress clothing worn by rich tourists to informal token decoration by subsistence-income islanders. Costume can be for social show or very pragmatic working clothes.
Tourists & Visitors
Tourists and travelers passing through the Spontoon Islands are for the most part very rich or civil servants. They can afford to have traveling clothes shipped in multiple trunks, or perhaps buy clothes at their destinations. They may wear upper-class formal & fashionable clothes at special events, entertainments or receptions on board a tour ship, for example, or at an embassy party. They may also have packed (or buy) more informal vacation clothes or beachwear. Fashions from the early 1930s really are from another time: the women's formal clothes are likely to make your eyes bleed. Men's fashions are more familiar, but strange in detail. By the late 30s formal costume for men and women are approaching the standardized late 20th Century look. However, informal 'vacation' wear can be surprisingly modern in look: bell-bottom trousers for women's beachwear keep coming back into fashion through the 30s. Colonial "tropical whites" (& variants) are always good form for informal tourist wear.
Spontoon Island has tour boats arrive with middle-class (and even working-class) tourists by the late 1930s. The number of trunks for clothes is going to be much smaller, and the clothes are going to be less fashionable -- as if they were selected from a mail-order catalog.
'Euro' residents of the Spontoon Islands
The Spontoon Island Archipelago has a resident population of 'Euros', concentrated on Casino Island. Only a few of these residents would be considered rich by European standards, but there is a sizable professional middle class. Some make a determined effort to stay fashionable in American, European & Asian style, or at least keep up that "tropical colonial" look. Many other local Euros have picked up on the fashion principles of the native Spontoonies, and are more inclined to "mix-and-match", and pick their clothes for regional comfort. There are working-class Euros (& beach-combers): Some are concerned with looking obviously Euro by costume; others enjoy being able to pass as a Spontoonie when they wish.
Tropical adventure movies of the 1930s are an acceptable guide to some Euro costume in the Spontoons. The movies of "Indiana Jones" or "King Kong" are set in this 1930s time period.
Spontoon Archipelago versions of Euro-style fashions
Because the Spontoon Island Archipelago is located in the North Pacific, and on the other side of the world from fashion centers, one should not be surprised to see variations on European fashions that might be 5 to 10 years out-of-date. One can still see "bobbed" hair and knee-high hemlines. Asian styles of clothes and "Explorer" and paramilitary fashions can be seen. Sailor & 'Pinafore' leisure wear is common.
Clothing is influenced by the distance from manufacturing centers and the costs of shipping raw materials. Affordable clothing & cloth can come from Asia, as well as England or New England. There are lots of treadle sewing machines in the archipelago, and a lively trade in sewing-pattern books.
Hair styles are influenced by the climate: Most of the Spontoon Island Archipelago is humid, and very warm in the summer tourist season: "permanent waved" hair doesn't stay permanent.
'Native' Spontoonie fashions -- influences
The Spontoonie culture was deliberately crafted out of a combination of several cultures from the plantation workers abandoned on the islands in the 1880s. These even included farm workers from the British Commonwealth, Scandinavians (Icelandic) and North American natives (Northwest Coast). Polynesian culture has had the most obvious influence on local clothing, especially as seen by the tourists, and it admittedly fits the climate and region. (See the History webpage commentary on the settlement of the islands for more background)
Spontoon Island native culture is still a work-in-progress, and the younger Spontoonies grow up with that as part of their culture. They have a willingness to borrow or combine bits of other cultures, looking for a good fit for themselves, something that is in tune with what they are becoming. They are becoming happy with a culture that has a face for their family and village, a face for all the Spontoonies (the "Althing", their culture of politics), a face for the resident 'Euro' population, and a face for the outside 'Euro' world. Sometimes this face for the outside world is covered with a mask named "Custom".
Their clothing and costume may be changed for each aspect they want to show.
A family & village may have a preferred style of clothing that may be comfortable to live and work in around their home. This could be grass skirts, loincloths, sarongs, or cotton pants & skirts, and various tops (or not). There might be details or pattern that might indicate a particular village. Simon Barber has noted the oiled & brushed patterns & symbols in the fur that can be displayed as information to other Spontoonies.
A Spontoonie in a political or governmental mood might wear a costume that indicates an opinion or faction or community job within the Althing, or perhaps a function within a society -- such as militia tools or uniform, or a costume style indicating a Spontoonie priestess.
A Spontoonie working with, living with, or dealing with local or outside Euros is likely to wear a variant on the everyday 1930s generic "Pacific native" clothing (such as you would be likely to see in Hawaii): cotton pants or skirt, and a loose shirt or blouse (bright patterned or light plain cotton, depending on the situation). A sarong or muu-muu ("Mother Hubbard") might be worn. Shoes or sandals in this setting. Spontoonies are comfortable with working clothes: A mechanic would have greasy overalls; a waitress for a tourist cafe might have a uniform and apron, and might wear them to and from work. The cut of clothes might be unfashionable by Euro standards, perhaps years out of date. Most of the time, this generic "Pacific style" is how a Spontoonie native would appear to a visitor on Casino, Eastern, South, & Meeting Islands.
Some native Spontoonies, by personal taste or by job situation, may wear more fashionable 'Euro'-style clothes. This could include formal suits, summer-weight suits or informal clothes (air conditioning is very hard to find), 'tropical whites', or a job-based uniform (such as a Constable or Customs Inspector).
Most Spontoonies are comfortable with more than one daily costume, and most take great care with their appearance to each other and outsiders. There is a fair amount of 'solidarity' in offering to brush that stray flower petal off of your neighbor's shoulder, offering a hair brushing, and adjusting a lei or a necklace. Clothing or cloth can be a gift to casual acquaintance, though there seems to be some standard protocol for graceful returns or alterations, which I have not figured out yet....
Spontoonies can also dress for "Custom". In fact, many of them enjoy this form of performance art and treat it as an elaborate co-operative sporting event or masquerade. During tourist season, a large number of the native Spontoonies create a Polynesian fantasy version of Spontoon society, complete with assigned role-play and esoteric costumes. Some of these entertainments are improvised street theater in tourist areas, some are formal stage shows (dances & ceremonies) at tourist hotels, some performances are held at newly constructed 'temples' and 'eldritch ruins' (for discovery by tour parties led by daring guides), and some are role-play versions of daily life in fictional Polynesian Spontoonie villages (where guided tour groups are allowed to visit). After 50 years of development, there are many traditional roles, with costumes to go with the role. A Spontoonie 'Custom' player might live their role (in costume) for a week or two out of a tourist season month, and then maybe work on their regular job for a couple of weeks. Most of the elaborate Polynesian Eclectic costumes (such as you might see on South Island near the big resort hotels) would not be Authentic Polynesian or Authentic Spontoonie, but they are likely to be Authentic 'Spontoon Custom'. But don't get flippant with that grinning older lady with the tidy grass skirt and cape flouncing down the hotel stairs: She might really be one of the Althing Priestesses -- in uniform.
15 June 2006
An Incomplete Archive of
Spontoon Costume Art
in early 1930s European & American clothing.
A webpage of Fanart from Terency Owens - character by M. Mitchell Marmel
(More Willow Fawnsworthy art here)
(Posted 22 September 2015)
1930s Swimsuits (beachwear) - (a candid snapshot of Sanka, Azura, & Zanny.)
Art by Zannah - http://www.furaffinity.net/user/zannah/
(Upload 10 July 2014)
"Winnie & Mai, in their skivvies"
by Warren Hutch
(Larger file here - 660 KBytes)
(after 'The Hubba Hubba Hula',
via the Dancers page, which is
for mature viewers.)
(Posted 27 August 2014)
Beachwear with lemon drink: Sun &
swim for 5 (circa 1933)(Ken Fletcher)
(file opens to 306 Kb)
2 female tourists in swimsuits (late 30s) (Laurie Gerholz)
Informal Euro beachwear (male swimsuit & 2 females) (early 30s) (Ken Fletcher)
3 female tourists on the beach (early 30s) (Ken Fletcher)
Early 30s: 4 women's formal dresses (Simon Barber)(These are typical fashions!)
2 females: high fashion & leisure slacks (mid 30s) (Stu Shiffman)
2 females: aircraft flightsuit coveralls & (tasteful) formal dress (L. Frank)
Male adventurer in jodhpurs (riding pants) & female secretary in worksuit (Ken Fletcher)
Hotel staff: Women's informal work clothes (Ken Fletcher)
Hotel staff: Men's informal work clothes (Ken Fletcher)
Hotel staff: 3 women's styles from the late 30s (Stu Shiffman)