La plus grande bête qu’on ait jamais vue
December 6, 2017 9:26 PM   Subscribe

In late-1820s Paris, women wore their hair in towering horn shapes, people pasted giraffe-themed wallpapers on their homes, fabric was manufactured in spotted patterns, and one of the most popular colors was “giraffe yellow.” Everything was “la mode à la girafe.” The cause of this frenzy for the African mammal was the arrival of a dainty young creature from Sudan: the first giraffe in France.
posted by Chrysostom (8 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
Neat. For more giraffes (over one million, in fact), it seems like this site is still up:
posted by Harald74 at 10:10 PM on December 6, 2017 [1 favorite]

The tradition continues in present-day Lyon.
posted by aqsakal at 11:21 PM on December 6, 2017 [3 favorites]

Sorrel Hays wrote an opera about Zarafa: Our Giraffe
posted by chavenet at 2:08 AM on December 7, 2017

Michael Allin's book about Zarafa (as mentioned in the main link) is a short and charming read.
posted by briank at 5:34 AM on December 7, 2017

Fascinating, thanks!
posted by msbubbaclees at 6:08 AM on December 7, 2017

It seems quite sensible to base fashions on these beautiful, elegant creatures.

Mind you, if there’s ever a fashion around looking like a hippo, well, that will be my time.
posted by Segundus at 9:48 AM on December 7, 2017 [2 favorites]

Seconding the book by Michael Allin.
posted by Rash at 12:44 PM on December 7, 2017

Giraffes are the best
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:42 PM on December 7, 2017

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