Walking around the Institute feels like being on the set of a black and white movie. Granted, Switzerland has a great cinematographic tradition—Jean-Luc Godard has lived secluded in the country for decades now, and Charlie Chaplin had a house in nearby Vevey—but is it a reason, you ask, for us to live in a monochromatic world? Well, you guessed it, no. Now, I will give you that the IHEID building in itself is not really conducive to funkiness. Bright lights, sharp angles, grey carpet, and, well, grey floors, do remind many of a modern-day sanatorium or rehabilitation centre—it could be both—but it should not strip away all desire to see some kind of mixture of yellow, blue and red. Think of it, even Godard himself shot a film back in the 1960s on Europe’s Mao years and Revolutionary Red was all the audience could see in La Chinoise. We can do it too!
In so far as this is a fashion column—now you know—let us see how we can spice things up a little bit so our rods and cones are stimulated as they were designed to be. I have become almost thankful for the GCSP to choose blue and red neck tags so the sight is not an endless variation of too often ill-fitted black and white androgynous suits. That’s undeniably a show of good will there, which must be encouraged and extended to the rest of our apparel. Think of it, even the Novae staff made the effort to wear brown shirts (yikes!). If the Institute is all about petals, as we know, so let us glow and bloom like the beautiful flowers we are meant to be. Cheesy, but true.
Every serious fashion magazine will tell you that this season’s must-have colour is orange. It took me a lot of courage to wear my bright orange jacket in our clinically clean workplace, but every time I have, I only received compliments. Granted, that’s not easy to do when a) you’re shy, and b) you have to be an arms deals specialist in the morning somewhere up in the petals and listen to a conference on Human Rights in our black-and-white hip underground auditorium in the afternoon. Even if you fall in either category, you can still go for daring accessories. What about a fun scarf of a colour you like, or a purse? Those need not be expensive, ASOS now ships to Switzerland—I wish I were sponsored to write this.
The whole point is that business-like attires do not have to be boring. Unfortunately, as we sadly get closer to adulthood, our flame of youth is slowing dying out—and the Institute may have accelerated this inevitable transition—but I am here to tell you that the blaze can, and indeed should, be reignited. Here is the proof: the Queen of the United Kingdom herself sat front row next to the one and only Queen of fashion Dame Anna Wintour at the Autumn-Winter show of designer Richard Quinn, aged 28, during London Fashion Week. The Queen of Queens made her bloody fashion debut at age 91. Now go and excavate some fun stuff out of your closet and follow the New York Times and Financial Times’ (yes you’ve read properly) fashion Instagram accounts so you procrastinate more efficiently.