5.1.08

Fangirlism (Literally!).



When I was little, The Mothership used to keep a small collapsible paper fan in her handbag to use whenever the sun got too much for her. They looked not unlike the ones in the last picture, but they were more mushroom-shaped than round, strictly speaking, and had pleats (not straight ones- my language skills are failing me, how do you say 'like sunrays' without sounding idiotic?) in the paper, and I remember being denied permission to handle them because fans like those were things only women- not little girls- carried. All the more reason to want one of my own, then.
To be absolutely truthful, handheld fans have fascinated me for as long as I can remember. The foldable fan The Mothership used to carry (sadly, she doesn't any more) was the chicest (before I knew what the word meant) way to make your immediate environment a little less suffocating, and I went through a long period of fan love after poring over one image after another of women with fans - this was around the time we studied the Chinese civilisation in school. However, the fan that fascinated me most was the giant one that used to hang on the living room wall of Mum's hairdresser, Auntie Sylvana. It was probably at least four feet wide when it was open, as it was on the wall, and there was no way anyone who wasn't a giantess could have handled it, but I still thought- and still do think- that it was one of the most gorgeous things I'd ever seen. And fans may not exactly be the most conventional of accessories any more, but I do feel the urge to snap one around a little bit, since swanning around with a fan in one hand has always seemed like a grown-up and slightly old-fashioned flirty thing to do. Never mind that I'd most likely get laughed out of the place first...but aren't they beautiful?
Images from dollsofindia.com, flickr.com, and the online shop of the Art Institute of Chicago.
PS: A big shout-out must go to DisneyRollerGirl, who's probably in Bombay by now- best of luck with the new job!

21 comments:

WendyB said...

These are gorgeous fans. "The Mothership" cracks me up. And I don't think there's anything wrong with carrying fans whatsoever!
http://wbjewelry.blogspot.com/2007/
09/zang-with-z.html

Heather said...

I've always loved fans! I remember when I was little, when people went on trips, I always asked them to bring back fans.

Katie Rosemary said...

ooh I have been meaning to buy a little pretty paper fan for so long, you're so right they just look so chic! However at the same time I'm very tempted to buy a really tacky souvenier fan... for the irony perhaps.
And who cares if you get laughed at? At least you'll be keeping cool whilst all those laughing will be sweaty and red haha

Suzanna Mars said...

They are lovely indeed!

Oh, dear, when once upon a blue moon ago I appeared in some sort of...theatrical...I had to use a fan, which I simply could not master because I am terribly klutzy with my hands. And the fan was so pretty and deserved to be displayed, not dropped on the stage.

Great post!

Sarah said...

those are quite impressive! My mother brought me back a very nice (smelly) fan from her travels in Asia and I am now inspired to go hang it up somewhere so that everyone can admire its prettiness.

Linda said...

oh wow, those fans are so beautiful...

I love the one with the cutouts. Hmmm, maybe I should put that on a list of things to pick up on my trip to China this summer!

Perakath said...

Lol I prefer those little battery-operated ones with collapsible plastic blades, myself :)

evie said...

Some MAY laugh but I think having a fan is a great accessory and very practical to have in this heat. I hope I got it right - that you are in India, at least I remember reading that in one of your previous posts.

susie_bubble said...

I still carry my carved rosewood fan with me sometimes.... London tubes and buses sometimes stink of BO and puke and I like the combination of fanning myself and sniffing my snuffbox (ok...Stella McCartney Amber solid perfume... but it does come in a snuffbox esque case...)

coco said...

Those Fans are so lovely
I love the prints

Ali said...

those pleats are actually called sunray pleats! so you don't need to sound idiotic!

headmistress said...

I have a stash of broken, torn and generally abused fans collected from various family holidays. I still have an awesome sandlewood one, acquired in Jaipur or somewhere, lingering in my mess. So pretty - always tempted to pull it out at tedious functions and loll about in languid, decadent glamour.

Claire said...

I too carry around a fan in my bag and use it often on the London tube, or if I'm working in Toronto/NY in the thick of their deathly humid summers. When I first pull it out, people look at me funny, but those looks soon turn to envy when they see how refreshed I'm managing to stay, while they're sweating away.

Blue Floppy Hat said...

Wendy: your fan is gorgeous, I can't believe I missed seeing it the first time round! I must dig out my own peacock feathers sometime. And it turns out I was mistaken- The Mothership still does carry a fan, only it's not paper any more.
Heather: I do hope whoever you asked, got you back one. Hankering after them is something I remember all too well..
Katie: Funnily enough, I do have a tacky little souvenir fan that a friend got me from a Spanish flea market..and I love it for the cheesiness.
Suzanna: Ooh, a fan dance! The fact that you were selected to do it is quite something...I'm rotten at those wrist turns.
Sarah: My roomie actually had a big fan she used to peg on the wall above her desk, and it looked really nice. But a smelly fan? Surely the makers would dry it out properly before selling it?
Linda: You'll be excellently placed if you want to go about picking up fans :)..no better way than a trip to China.
Perakath: Those are pretty handy too..only I can never keep the batteries going!
Evie: I am indeed in India. And there's something about the idea of a compact little tool to take the edge off the heat..
Susie: There have been times when I'd have been grateful for a fan on smelly buses/trains too..and yours sounds lovely (also, the idea of a snuffbox has considerable appeal...I'll always associate it with lazy aristocrats lounging around).
Coco: sadly, none of them are mine :(
Ali: Thanks! I'm rotten with remembering words, so sounding silly is always a risk.
Headmistress: Yes, fans are fabulous- but that doesn't stop mine from getting damaged (the paper ones, more often than not, tore). But - yay for the Chinese community in Calcutta- I'm tripping off to the shops later this week to pick myself a new one.

Blue Floppy Hat said...

Claire: Pulling out a fan in the middle of a train would take what I can only call savoir faire..

The Clothes Horse said...

Oh, those are so pretty. I must dig up my paper umbrella, but it might be in storage...

Stephanie said...

I love your writing style (and obviously your blog)!

I've always secretly wanted to carry around a fan everywhere that I could flick expertly with one quick wrist movement...

Jen (MahaloFashion) said...

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Thanks,

Jen

riz said...

The imaginary resurrection of the Old Lagerfeld perhaps...?

Elisabeth said...

*sigh* Oh how I wish British weather meant the need for beautiful little fans like these.

Oh, by the way - the description of "like sunrays" was so cute, and explained it perfectly!

roxanaradu said...

the traditional chinese fashion is such inspirational

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