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HELGA’S ‘CATWALK IN A CATHOUSE’ DRESSES # 3
Copyright by Brian Howard Seibert
EMPRESS HELGA’S FASHION EMPORIUM
‘CATWALK IN A CATHOUSE’ PRINCESS DRESS COLLECTION # 3 (Circa 949 AD)
Queen Helga’s Fashion Showings in Constantinople were becoming controversial for their designs and use of translucent silk that often left little to the imagination. Scant flowing silks with silver and gold threads and trims were often counter to Roman trade practices and Helga’s use of colours were often counter to Byzantine laws and the politics of colour. Helga’s first Fashion Showings in Constantinople were very successful for all the wrong reasons as determined by Imperial advisors so, it was decided that the Hraes’ Trading Company would no longer be invited to show at the Imperial Palace Fashion Showings. Queen Helga took the news with her usual candor and decided to continue her summer fashion showings in Constantinople on her own by renting a famous cathouse, The Red House, in the Saint Mamas district of the city. The establishment was recommended to her by a number of her Hraes’ Trading Company merchant captains and was on the defensive wall along the Sea of Marmara and was even purported to have underground tunnels leading to the beaches outside the Gate of Samathia. There was even a boathouse outside the walls that had a tunnel going straight into the Red House. When the owners refused to rent to her, she bought the place for two chests of gold. Half the Red House clientele were Hraes’ anyway, and the Hraes’ sold them most of their concubine slave girls so, Helga saw it as an investment in her own company.
In response to and because of the Roman complaints, Queen Helga decided to add even more colour to her collection and add a new line of transparent silks that General Wu had found in Cathay to their line of translucent silks. She also recollected from her youth as a princess, during the great Hraes’ wars, the short dress designs that had evolved because of the huge ship building efforts required to provide for the war effort. The ships’ sails were woven of wool and linen and it took a good weaver six months to make one sail so, there often was not enough cloth for new clothing. Royal princesses set a good example for their people by wearing new short dress designs with sleeveless blouses. Although there was now no shortages of fabrics, Helga envisioned some of the more revealing short styles as being appropriate for the present luxurious times as long as there was an effort put into improving the quality of the materials, such as gold threaded silk.