One doubts Bruce Springsteen realised that, when he shoved that scarlet baseball cap in his right rear pocket for the Born In The USA cover shot, for a broad swathe of his fellow Americans it was broadcasting a taste for, shall we say, 'five finger fun'. The Boss probably wasn't au fait with his handkerchief code -- a form of sexual semaphore developed in the late 1970s to colourfully advertise your predilections on your sleeve. The code's origins date back far earlier, to square-dancing San Francisco miners during the California Gold Rush. For the (by necessity) all-male assemblies, coloured bandanas were a means of indicating who wished to dance the male and female parts without any embarrassing pansexual preambles. Fast-forward a century, and this notion was seized on by a newly vocal and visible gay culture, although the dancing this time was by and large horizontal, with a code devised for each and every kink and peccadillo. The hanky code, in short, is all about showing your true colours. Swatch has cleverly cottoned on to much the same idea with its 'New Gent' range, twisting conventional colour codes to express something unique about each and every wearer. Those hankies were sometimes twisted around wrist or ankle (when back pockets were, ahem, unavailable), a function cleverly usurped by a neatly strapped 'New Gent' as a postmodern palimpsest. The watches are a conversation starter rather than an invite to a no-strings, no-words pick-up; an ice-breaker, communicating exactly what you stand for, straight up.
Behind the Scenes
Hanky Panky is our response to a challenge set by Swatch to a number of fashion-forward magazines. View our behind-the-scenes video of the shoot here and don't forget to cast your vote for Wallpaper*.
The article is republished with permission from Wallpaper.com