I've always loved Ringmasters. Who doesn't want to wear a top hat and run a three ring circus? But I never really thought about the origins of the ringmaster's outfit. I've always thought it looked like a cross between a riding outfit and something a bandleader would wear. A quick Wikipedia search and some cross-referencing proves I'm somewhat correct:
The ringmaster's outfit was designed to resemble a gentlemen's 18th century riding habit. It is said that ringleader George Claude Lockhart first adopted the look on the orders of British circus owner Bertram Mills, when Lockhart worked for Mills' circus at Olympia, London in 1924. His outfit included "pink" (scarlet) huntsmen tails, a black hat, white shirt and gloves, which has now become the look for the stereotypical ringmaster. A whip is still a standard part of the uniform, leftover from when ringmaster's would lead equestrian acts.
Below are some images of 18th century riding habits, as well as the ringmaster outfit in various forms. I tried to find some images of a man wearing a riding habit, but they are extraordinarily hard to find!
18th century riding habits
Ringmaster George Claude Lockhart and his signature cigar
Ringmaster Charlie Baxter from TV show "7's Circus"
A ringleader costume Artist's take on the Ringmaster
Bandleader outfits as worn by band My Chemical Romance
Goldfrapp's fourth studio album, 'Seventh Tree' was released on February 26th 2008. It's quite different from their last album, 'Supernature' which was a disco-dance album with a good heaping of glitter. 'Seventh Tree' is a return to their roots (somewhat like 'Felt Mountain'), with a slower feel to it but keeping the cool electronic sound they are known for.
There are two tracks in particular that are circus tinged - the first being "Clowns" [Lyrics], a sad, melodic song, with lush strings, and the second being "Caravan Girl" [Lyrics], a fun, piano-driven song about running away to the circus.
If you like these songs the rest of the album is definetly worth a listen.
I created this blog when I started seeing and hearing the circus wherever I went - in magazines, on the runway, in movies, and in music. There is a element of the circus, sideshows and carnival that runs deep throughout history, and it is still strong today. Come along for the ride!