If I’d been born on my due date, I would have been not just two weeks younger, but a Scorpio. Sometimes I imagine what it would have been like, to justify any mood or wild behaviour with: ‘ I’m a Scorpio’ and a withering glare. As it is, with Venus, mercury, Pluto and mid-heaven in Scorpio, and a posse of close Scorpio friends, I have pretty strong ideas about what constitutes true Stinger style, and what is merely costume for imitators.
Scorpio costume, of the kind designed by Scorpio Gone With the Wind costumier Edith Head, for fellow Scorpio Vivien Leigh who played Scarlett O’Hara, is vampy with plunging necklines, velvet, feathers, hair as stiff as a mannequin’s. But real Scorpios only dress this ostentatiously when they have a specific agenda, either to convince everyone that they are a living incarnation of the past, or to persuade a desirable someone that they cannot live without them.
Case in point, a friend, who we’ll call Porphyra, is uncannily gifted at dressing for costume parties. She looks like she’s stepped out from a vintage kodakchrome, as though she’s unearthed the style secrets of the dead… Half-knowing that an irresistible sleaze-ball would be at a black-tie event, this same Porphyra turned up in eye make-up and tight-fitting leather. Her success astounded her, and she had to beg him to stop stalking her.
The poet Sylvia Plath, one of my favourite Scorps, had a style that might be described as one-part vamp. A Marilyn Monroe fan, she paired her blonde page-boy bob, red lips and head bands, with preppy separates, so she could appear brainy and ravishing simultaneously. The story of her first bruising encounter with Ted Hughes, when she left him bleeding and he stole her red headband as a victory spoil, has gone down in legend.
But most of the time, Scorpios prefer not to attract too much attention. Their favourite looks are armoured disguises. Black, grey and blue are favourite colours because they are subtle and don’t detract from the main event, Lady Scorp herself. Scorpio Calvin Klein saw sex in simplicity when he showed how blue jeans and understated styling equated to pure bodily allure. Nudity aside, there’s a tribal Scorpio edge to the slogan ‘nothing comes between me and my Calvins’- as though he demanded fierce loyalty from his gamine models, even if they were mercurial creatures of fashion.
Finally, the most sublime Scorpio of all, artist Pablo Picasso was less concerned with clothing women’s exteriors than with showing how they informed his present vision of the universe. During his long career, the women in his art shape-shifted enormously, as did his attitudes towards them. But I love that his depictions are so sweeping, stark and enigmatic – Scorpio style at its most magical.
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