Sometimes I question how deeply rooted my understanding of the human condition is in the scripted television programs of the late 20th Century. I was fortunate never to have experienced the grade-school humiliation associated with an empty mailbox come time for the yearly valentine exchange. Frankly, it never even seemed like an option; twenty-eight kids in the class meant twenty-eight cards given and twenty-eight cards received (granted, I was in the first wave of Project Self-Esteem, better known as Project EVERYONE is a winner). Nevertheless, many television shows presented the now-hackneyed construct of the well-intentioned but hopelessly-geeky kid, forlorn at the absence of valentine cards in his construction-paper inbox (see: Raph Wiggum, et al.).
Hopelessly geeky myself, I always found it hard to reconcile the bevy of Valentine's goodies I received first through fifth grade - even harder still as an adult when exchanging valentines is anything but compulsory. Imagine my surprise when I opened my actual mailbox and found the best vintage valentine ever! Sent from my pal, and major wacky tacky booster, Charlotte (via a mutual friend's yard sale), I found Günthers Karneval Fasching, a mid-Century, German booklet of fancy-dress fashions.
|Günthers Karneval Fasching|
After looking at this cover one too many times, all I can see is a sexy Jane Pauley!
While technically not a valentine (Karneval/Fasching is essentially Deutschland's answer to Mardi Gras), and sent with intentions entirely platonic, I can't help but view the timing and the cover girl's heart-bedecked top hat as a happy holiday greeting. At only fourteen pages, this booklet is filled with the most colorful cornucopia of carnival costumes I have ever seen. Get ready to have your socks knocked off!
|I love the arrow and handwriting on this one; "dieses oberteil" means "this top/bodice." |
I suppose we'll always be left to wonder what the bottom half looked like - if there was
a bottom half. Flashing at Fasching; it is Karneval!
Aren't these incredible?!?!! Often self-critical, I've been known to deride my own designs as being far too "costume-y." I guess I'm not so off base considering that, with a few minor tweaks/edits, I would find it exciting if people wore the designs featured in Günthers Karneval Fasching as everyday clothing. Even more exciting is that the pamphlet included the complete pattern to each and every costume. And, if my high school German still serves, I understand that "each style comes in two sizes" very clearly printed and labeled on a two-sided pattern sheet...
I've heard of vintage patterns printed in such a fashion but I've never been
confronted by such a mess! Instead of going permanently cross-eyed, I might
just have to settle for drooling over the technicolor images.
Thank you, thank you, Charlotte, for "Choo-Choo-Choosing" me as the recipient of your thoughtful gift (and for mailing it to me). Any mail that isn't a bill, a ticket, or a jury summons is good mail. Any mail that I can consider a valentine when my construction paper mailbox went dry more than twenty years ago is great mail. Any mail that is a 1950s, German, Mardi Gras-fashion booklet is the best vintage Valentine ever! Ich liebe meinen antiker Valentinsgruß!!!
"Sei Mein Valentin"
Happy Valentine's Day, you wacky tacky turkey necks!