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Friday, March 10, 2006

Giraffic Park

I present to you--the cameleopard! Yes, those abstract-looking splotches are really silhouettes of giraffes (Giraffa camelopardalis), in three shades of brown. Giraffes are the tallest animals on earth, adult males generally reaching 16-18 feet in height. The most famous giraffe has to be the cartoon Geoffrey Giraffe, mascot of Toys R Us. The character was created by Mike Edgett, who talks about it in this article. Among other things, I learned that the national chain originated in this very region; the Toys R Us store I visited as a child must have been one of the first ones (or one of the first fifty, at least). Today the building no longer houses Toys R Us, but a Value Village thrift shop (source of some of the ties displayed on this blog). Everything changes; even Geoffrey is no longer a cartoon, but a more realistic-looking animatronic giraffe.

The tie is by Givenchy, founded in 1952 by Hubert de Givenchy in Paris. Givenchy rose to fame by catering to Hollywood types, most notably Audrey Hepburn. Of course the real measure of a designer's achievement is his neckties, and Givenchy designed some pretty sweet ones. In the 1980s, Givenchy joined the ranks of many luxury fashion houses that have been gobbled up by the LVMH juggernaut; Givenchy himself retired from fashion design in 1995.

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