Love & Pride

Yesterday was London’s annual Gay Pride Parade and in usual tradition, me and twenty friends (gay and straight) dressed up to the nines in a common theme.  Last year at “World Pride” we were all dressed in Regency outfits, much to the positive reaction of the press, judging by the number of publications we appeared in after the event!

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This year the theme was “1920s monochrome”.  The theme is usually chosen democratically and decided upon at the Proms gig, each year.  This years theme was chosen well before The Great Gatsby was this year’s summer blockbuster, so it was quite fortuitous and timely that we’d decided to go with this theme.

As soon as I heard which theme was decided I started to plan my outfit in my mind… 1920s to me, meant “flapper” and I usually keep an eye out on my old stalwart in such occasions, eBay!  I already had a beautiful heavily beaded jacket which would be perfect, and I knew I wanted a fringed flapper dress probably in forgiving black.  With my pale Celtic skintone, white is *so* not my colour!  The white props would, I decided, be embellishments rather than the main colour of the theme.

I was lucky enough to find the perfect dress in my size for just £10 on eBay!  What a bargain!  The only “downside” was that when it arrived, it was *very* short.  I decided to go with it anyway, wear fishnets and shimmy with my fabulous fringing regardless.  Others bits and pieces of my outfit were acquired (namely my Louise Brooks-esque wig courtesy of author and friend, Vg Lee), other props and accoutrements bought along the way to finish off my outfit.   1920s make up tips were gathered from YouTube and some of the items were things I had already.  After watching The Great Gatsby, I had some ideas to further embellish my outfit.  As my friend Jon advocates “nothing exceeds like excess” and what better time to exceed than at Gay Pride!?

As the day approached I had two dress/make up/wig rehearsals to ensure I was happy with my chosen combination of items.  My main concern was the wig; it was very short dark hair and my natural hair is very long blonde!  Last year I was wearing a blonde Marge Simpson-esque Regency hair piece under which I could have fit my lunch… this year was going to prove more of a challenge as it was very short and close fitting to the head.  I bought clips and a wig cap to ensure no stray blonde locks made an unsightly appearance so I was prepared as I was ever going to be.  I had woken that morning feeling more nervous than on my wedding day however, I needn’t have worried because, on the day, it all came together like a dream!

We met, as usual, at Sal’s pub, The Shaston Arms in the centre of London just off Carnaby Street to finish off getting ready, partake of our first glass of champagne of the day, and generally greet people as they arrived.  After the traditional photo session outside the pub in glorious sunshine, and our first photos with strangers who admired our look (an older couple from California being the most appreciative) we made our way along Carnaby Street towards our usual position on Bond Street outside Gap.

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We arrived at our pitch and were immediately asked for photographs from many passing tourists; at the last count they were from Pakistan, Dubai, France, Spain, Brazil, Australia, Canada and the USA… A truly global affair!  We also were papped by many a freelance photographer, mostly of Sal and I; her in her white outfit and me in my black one.  The challenge now is to spot ourselves in some of the many publications post-Pride.  We did quite well last year! 😉

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I love my Pride days with my friends, we always have such an amazing time all dressed up!  The anticipation, the getting ready, the pre-Pride drinks and gossip, the photo calls, the shouts of “you look amazing” from total strangers, then joining the Pride procession and the admiration along the way, going to the pub after the event and catching up with dear friends, and even going home afterwards, seeing all the photos and comments afterwards.  I love it all!  Our one day of the year we can truly be in the spotlight!  I wonder what next year’s theme is going to be….?!

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