Dress Down Sunday -
looking at what goes on under the clothes
Travels with my Aunt by Graham Greene
Published 1969 Part 1 Chapter 11
observations: Another visit to this rather marvellous book: a typically shocking anecdote to broaden the horizons of the bank manager Henry, and a glimpse into the riotous past of Aunt Augusta – when in her 70s she looks ‘rather as the late Queen Mary of beloved memory might have dressed if she had still been with us and had adapted herself a little bit towards the present mode’, but we suspect she wasn’t as formal or as respectable in her past. And indeed we see her in a bathing suit, here.
A 1972 film of the book gave the part of the aunt to Maggie Smith, who was under 40 at the time, and although she is a wonderful actress, the film was a travesty, with Aunt Augusta played as a quirky eccentric aunt, a bit fussy, a bit Wodehouse – when the point surely is that she really did live a risqué life, close to the edge and full of drama and sexual freedom. As Nancy Mitford wrote to Evelyn Waugh, after reading The End of the Affair: “What a sexy man he must be, Mr Greene.”
The bra with the clasped hands sounds splendid, and should surely be created by some enterprising manufacturer.
Links up with: More Dress Down by clicking on the label below, more Travels, more bras, more clothes to be murdered in. And you can see how Queen Mary dressed in 1937 in one of the pictures in this entry.
The picture is a French advert for early forms of bras, of approximately the right era, though you feel Graham Greene might actually have had something more modern in mind.