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A Jolly Good Show – The Chap Olympiad 2009

It was a day that passed by in a haze of illicit Pimms, very British drizzle and outrageous cheating … which could mean only one thing … this year’s Chap Olympiad was officially underway!

The Olympiad is an annual event, hosted by everyone’s favourite anarcho-dandyist periodical, The Chap Magazine. The Chap’s raison d’etre is simple, it aims to make a stand against the vulgarity, the blandness and indeed the sportswear of modern day life. And the Olympiad epitomises these values. It’s a day of excitement, good old-fashioned fun, and sartorial splendour. And above all, it’s something I’ve been looking forward to all year!

The day started in style, as I had been invited round to the sumptuous boudoir of Naomi, the owner of Vintage Secret, a website which specialises in the most divine, hand-picked vintage clothing. Naomi had asked me to style her hair for her before the day’s festivities, and had laid on a delicious breakfast of pastries and cups of tea served in antique porcelain cups. Now, I’m still quite inexperienced as a stylist of others’ hair, but as time’s gone on, I have grown more confident of my abilities, and I was pleased with my efforts on Naomi’s hair, and that of her friend Stefanie, who came round shortly after me. I decided that, despite the likelihood of rain, I would risk wearing the black straw 1940s sun hat that I purchased at Hep Cats Holiday, and as such, I did my hair tidily up so as not to detract from it! Here I am with the gals sporting my handiwork … what do you think?

Stefanie, yours truly and Naomi

We set off for Bedford Square Gardens amid a squall of rain, rather worryingly, but armed with picnic food and concealed booze. Unfortunately, my two litres of gin and tonic, cunningly disguised as a bottle of fizzy water, did not make it through the stringent entry checks. Despite my protests that it was “only water”, it was removed from me and I was given a ticket, with which to claim my ‘water’ on my exit from the event. However, the cursory glance the bouncers gave my big bag meant that my two litres of Pimms and Lemonade sailed through. Hurrah!

Soon after arrival, the opening ceremony took place. Everyone’s favourite bounder, Atters, carried the Olympic flag around the park, and the Olympic pipe was lit and shared around the athletes.

Atters and commentator Monty. Image coursey of Jim Shannon.
As ‘Madame Fleur’ the glamorous score-board lady, it was my job to record the names of the victors on my specially adapted (ie. made taller for me) chalkboard.

Picture by my friend Suzanne.

This all went very well throughout the first few events, the Martini Knockout Relay, the Cucumber Sandwich Discus and so on, until the aforementioned haze of Pimms descended and the winner of one event was scribed as ‘A Man in Yellow, or with significant yellow detailing”. And I only knew that, because I asked my friend Charlotte who had won, and that was all she knew! Luckily the man in yellow, one David Webster, who was actually only wearing a yellow hat, came over and told me his name. Phew!

I did manage, in between glugging down drinks and writing increasingly illegible names on the scoreboard, to snap some pictures of the events. Here are some shots of Atters during the Tug of Hair, in which two opposing teams had to win a tug of war with a giant moustache!

Atters tries to get good purchase

Union Jack socks and sock suspenders, God save the Queen!

The Hop, Skip and a Gin & Tonic was the next event I captured, which involves performing the Hop, skip and jump holding a glass of G&T, and the competitor with the most remaining in the glass was the winner.

Fellow Fedora Lounger Edward with his G&T!

And then there was the Three-legged Trouser Limbo!

One couple tangoed to the pole

Farhan offers his limbo partner a drink on the way

Umbrella Jousting, during which contestants face each other on bicycles, brandishing umbrellas, and try to unseat their opponent.

Mr Graves is protected by the Daily Torygraph

The Chairman takes a tumble. Images courtesy of Jim Shannon.

Atters himself was on fine form, carrying about a skirt lifting device and an angled mirror on a long stick, with which to look up ladies’ dresses. That cad! He wasted no time in distracting me to use it!

My modesty was saved by the cropping!

After the events were over, it started to rain more heavily, so I reluctantly withdrew, sadly my lovely velvet suit jacket has fallen foul of the British weather. I think it is fixable though!

I’m sure there will be an abundance of photos cropping up over the next few days, and hopefully some other good ones showing me in action at the scoreboard, so until then, here are a few more photos of me and my glamorous chums. Do head on over to my Flickr to see more.

A gorgeous lady sandwich! Fellow Chap cover model Tiffany on the left and Grace on the right

C & L

Mr Clayton Hartley of the New Sheridan Club and his consort

Mr Callum Coates, actor, director and designer of the splendid Fitzrovia Radio Hour

Mr Torquil Arbuthnot of the Chap, and also of the New Sheridan Club,
with Miss Minerva Miller (featuring hair by Miss Betty)

And my favourite of the day, the smoke gives it such a fantastic background, even if it was only from burning hamburgers!

Moi and Edward!

So that was that! I’m starting my training for next year already. Well, on my liver, anyway.


Fleur xx

PS. Almost forgot, here are the triumpant victors of the Chap Olympiad 2009!

From left to right:
The Silver Cravat – The Chairman
The Gold Cravat – Farhan bin Rasheed
The Bronze Cravat – Louise XIV


a cat of impossible colour

What a fantastic group of people, and what a great event! Looks like so much fun.

What's the weather like there at the moment? We'll be there in two weeks and I'm looking forward to some warmth!

Fleur de Guerre

Cat, it's pretty awful at the mo – the rain was torrential last night! But the forecast for the next week is better so fingers crossed for your trip!


looks like a fun time! we do bike jousting here in portland, but it's much less civilized – jousters are usually on tallbikes or in bike chariots 😉


Awesome! I would love to go to something like that. You did a great job on the hairstyling and looked beautiful. And I love the gold, silver and bronze cravats!


Looks like so much fun – wish we had vintage style events like that in New Zealand!

Andi B. Goode

This looks like so much fun! I wish we had events like that in Adelaide but we're all too lazy over here I think. Haha.
You look lovely – your new hat is divine! And you did a wonderful job of styling the other ladies' hair.
-Andi x


oh, my…what a day! Mr. Callum Coates looks like a very dashing fellow! Love the pic of Atters accosting your modesty. Can I ask you how you attach your hats?? That always befuddles me (your hat MAKES the outfit, IMO.)


What splendid fun, and such gorgeous outfits! I have been adoring your blog and personal style since I started reading a week or so ago, thankyou for inspiring me.


I'm busily catching up on my feed reader (bad me! I've ignored it lately) and wanted to pop in and say how gorgeous you look! I adore your hat especially; I've been on the hunt for something similar this year (a straw hat would be perfect in sunny Florida ;), but have yet to find the "perfect" one. 😉

It looks like you had so much fun! How neat it must be to be in the company of so many other smartly dressed people! 😀


I think yours is the loveliest hat I've seen in the last time. I'm in love, and I can't try to get a similar one myself because – well, my room is ready to burst for the amount of hats (and gloves, and shoes, and headbands, and fans – but I digress…) that I already have.

And I firmly believe that having a profile like yours should be absolutely forbidden.
By law.
It's a cruelty among people who have some big nose – like me.

Jessica Cangiano

This day looks so resplendently fun! I truly wish that I could have hopped across the Atlantic and taken part in the festivities myself. Perhaps one year! 🙂

Thank you for coving this fantastic day out, Fleur, I had a jolly good time reading about it and viewing all of the marvelously well dresses participants.

Wishing you a lovely week ahead,
♥ Jessica


why have I never heard of this? I demand to be kept informed of further events!


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