Celanese Fortrel - Big Little Lord Fauntleroy

In 1969, what exactly the hell were you supposed to wear? There was simply no way to tell what clothes to put on before you walked out of the house and into The World, where public people could see you and form opinions about you. That's why the American culture was in such a hand-flapping tizzy at the time. It was a national nightmare.

Enter, this Celanese Fortrel ad in Esquire Magazine (the journal of privileged douchebags for over eighty years) to save us all. Thank, you, Celanese Fortrel! Shew!

Yep. there you go, American men. Wear this.

Just so you know that you're safe to walk while wearing those shorts, Celanese has knighted them with the title "walk shorts". Man! Talk about streamlining the putting-your-clothes-on procedure! See, most days, when you get dressed and then just stand there in your bedroom for fourteen hours until bed time, it doesn't matter what you put on. Jeans... a bath robe... or just slip into a really large carpet tube.... If you're standing, your options are totally open.

However, if, god help you, you need to get dressed and then "walk somewhere", you'd be totally screwed. You'd frantically tear through all your drawers and realize that none of your trouser items have names prefixed with the word "walk". Then you'd have no choice but to hang yourself, fashioning a makeshift noose out of your pants (which were presumably called "suicide pants"). But, thankfully, Celanese put an end to the tidal wave of affluent young men offing themselves out of fashion stress by finally producing Celanese Fortrel "walk shorts". You can safely walk in "walk shorts".

Release the doves, for Big Little Lord Fauntleroy has emerged from his Dressing Chamber with his parasol. What's he got planned for today? Well, there's tea on the lawn, and then, maybe a bit of  a rest from all that effort, and then croquet practice, and then perhaps a biscuit, and then perhaps some mincing about in the drawing room, and then tea with the Chancellor, another rest, and then viewing the latest fashions from Celanese, in preparation for the dressing procedure on the morrow. Oh, the worry! Such a life!

Big Little Lord Fauntleroy looks familiar. I think we've seen him recently looking equally silly, but slightly less pansy. Where was that? To the Chamber of the Archives!

A-HA! The guy on the left in today's ad - who looks like a fake James Garner - was Kerchief Man in a Day's Sportswear ad that we ran about a month ago. Observe this link. Here's his head next to his head, just in case you for some reason have a hard time believing this.

Big Little Lord Fake James Garner Fauntleroy Kerchief Man, always daring you to laugh at his clothes.

Yep, Big Little Lord Fake James Garner Fauntleroy Kerchief Man loves to rock the kerchief, but then so did lots of people in '69. Why was that? Did people live in constant fear of unexpectedly being offered some crab legs, and having nowhere to dab their lips? What a marvelous time it must have been. Such plenty. Such bounty!

"Celanese Fortrel". Double-you tee eff are those words? Did people men who read Esquire in 1969 go "Celanese Fortrel, aah, yes, of course."? Are we, here in The Future, supposed to have some recognition for those words? Well, from the context of the ad copy, "Fortrel"'s full name is "Fortrel Polyester", but apparently its friends can just call it "Fortrel". So, "Fortrel" is marketing bullshit for "polyester". Aah, yes, of course. Marketing Bullshit. So what's "Celanese"? The name of the company?

Well, the Phil Are GO! Research and Googling Team found that, when you type those letters in that exact order into a search engine, it is revealed that Celanese is, in fact, the name of the company. It is also revealed that, two days ago, Celanese had a bit of a "whoopsie" with one of their chemical storage tanks down in South Carolina.

No spill. Shew! Also, no pants. This Celanese facility makes paint, it seems. So, the flow of  walk shorts remains uninterrupted all these years later! Well done, Celanese! Also well done, The Spartansburg County Hazmat Team! You saved us! After all, we're all wearing walk shorts, not "flee in complete terror shorts". If only Celanese would devise some kind of cunning "walk-flee shorts", we could walk and then decide to suddenly flee without needing to go home and change first.


Jim D. said...

Now I remember why I never, ever want to go to Celan. Hey, now that England is its own country again, they'll all start dressing like this again.

Mat Black said...

Being a resident of south Florida for the last 34 years I've learned a few things about dealing with oppressive summer heat. For maximum cooling, I always encase myself in vintage 70s polyester. Even when I wear my walk shorts, I make certain that my arms, torso and lower legs are fully sheathed in a loving Fortran embrace. Ahhh sweet comfort!

Mat Black said...

I meant Fortrel. (I had sweat in my eyes when I was typing)

[lrf] said...

Fortrel is polyester, got it. But what the hell is "a Fretz man"? Google tells me Fretz is a Swiss shoe manufacturer, probably something an Esquire reader would be expected to know and appreciate.

PhilAreGo@gmail.com said...

How in hell did I miss the cryptic "Be a Fretz Man." reference in the very first line of the copy? Yeah, it seems that Fretz made shoes. Although Fretz's claim that "FRETZ MEN stands for first class men's footwear made in Switzerland." makes plain their misunderstanding of the English language, and what exactly "stands for" means. Of course, it's the corporate website of Fretz shoes, so Marketing Bullshit is all you'll get.

Thanks for reminding me to adhere to our strict editorial policy, [lrf]!

Jim, Fortrel was also an early programming language in The Seventies, but, like the fabric it shares its name with, it always smells a little like sweat, and nobody uses it anymore except cab drivers that are so dirty they've become shiny.


Boo Long said...

Celanese makes me think of LP sleeves... "Laminated in Clarifoil, made by British Celanese Ltd." adorning the small print of many 1960s and '70s UK issues.


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