Fox and Flyte: Queeny Victoriana, Closet Nouveau or just Neopets for Kidults?
From hot men to walk your dogs to explicit badges to pop on your satchel - Anything can be whisked into an online business these days. And who knows, it may be your oneday child's ticket to marrying a prince. My friend just introduced me to a lovely little blog called Fox and Flyte because...
"EVERYONE is talking about Fox and Flyte"
Fox and Flyte is a gorgeous fusion of online curiosity shop and fashion blog, tinged with self-consciously posh notes, equipped with its own queer fashion label offshoots, neatly squashed into a Wordpressy format and published to look like some kind of arthouse Tory manifesto.
Curated by Duncan Campbell, Haeni Kim and Luke Edward Hall, Fox and Flyte has received a nice slice of coverage along the gentler slopes of the British press. Luke designs Frida Kahlo inspired garments for Patrick Wolf occasionally, Kim cooks up exquisite gourmet treats whilst Duncan has done a splash of modelling in gay-but-not-gay-but-so-gay magazines like Another Man.
There are wooden drinks trays, candle snuffers, seafood accessories, stories from Tuscany, photos from Polo Clubs and miscellaneous snaps of Luke in mildly suggestive poses...
Fox and Flyte flirts with its readers, inviting us to taste Kim's hollandaise sauce, daring us not to be jealous of Duncan's glass-in-hand lifestyle and treating us to bizarre wealth-fantasy anecdotes like this:
"We had a go at playing lords of the manor in this splendid Queen Ann house [sic], with its panelled walls, ornate fireplaces and grand sweeping staircases. The weather outside was at points verging on the exceedingly bleak, but our trip was made all the better for it. We had the fires lit, shutters closed, and litres of red wine to keep us going through the long English November nights"
As I read deeper into Fox and Flyte's grotto of possibly-not-ironic snobbery I found something hauntingly familiar... I'd been to this place before. Was it memories from my own prep school days? Or visits to my "hold white wine by the stem, red wine by the bowl" grandparents? Or perhaps the closet - Did Fox and Flyte feel like being back in the closet again? That whole world of "If I shroud myself in enough expensive paraphernalia and wear show-stopping socks then Daddy might not realise I like boys' thumbs up my bum"? Or was it a hybrid of former interests - the Jack Wills handbook as written by David Starkey?
Then it STRUCK me. Fox and Flyte is JUST LIKE NEOPETS!
Well, elements of Neopets.
Most of you won't know what Neopets is/was. That's because I've deliberately cultivated a blog to appeal to people who are either a lot cooler than me, or who were born in the 1990s.
Neopets was a craze in the late 90s. A kids website that was like Pokemon meets Barbie. Basically, a consumerist and overtly aesthetic gaming website for little girls and gays. Basically, Fox and Flyte.
Here is Fox and Flyte's shop:
Note the proud lack of pragmatism and deliberate steering towards mainstream eccentricity.
And here is an example of a Neopets shop:
Ooh look, there's a Snazzy Moon Comb there going for only 220 Neopoints. Bargain.
Of course the curators of Fox and Flyte are an essential part of their brand. Out with the refined days of Bill Blass and Nicole Farhi, we want to see who's selling to us, we want distorted segments from their alter ego lives, we want to be TURNED ON. So here they are. Duncan, Kim and Luke concentrating hard on summoning some serious allure:
(The one on the left, definitely)
And similarly in Neopia, the equally fictitious land in which Neopets is set, it was always important for shop keepers to have a personality and act out a desired persona. Here is Nimmo. He used to run the bookshop in Neopia:
See! Once you've met Nimmo you ain't going to no Waterstones no more. Just look at his gorgeous vintage sleeveless V-neck and those Pringle of Scotland asparagus slacks.
Anyways, my 20 minutes is up. But there we have it. A gorgeous little lifestyle blog / shop (shog? blop?), and a flashback to my own childhood.
Clearly all of us are still collecting, still harbouring for the right aesthetic, still looking for a stamp of approval, still searching for answers that are never going to come.