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[Fiction] Hugin - The Clothes Make the...


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“You want what?”

This was not at all the way that Mr. Henchford usually addressed his clientele. Indeed, it was far enough from his usual manner of address that the proper British tailor that was his center and core nearly leapt up and slapped him across his own face for the impertinence he had just shown the prospective client standing in the middle of his small shop.

Ah, but that client... and the request said client had just made....

“I said, I would like you to prepare a garment that suits my form. All of my form.” The beautiful young man smiled, and she graced the shocked tailor with a quick view by way of a perfunctory pirouette. It was a view not shared by the pedestrians outside; even had the client not been so very unusual, shades had been drawn before the sun shifted to the far side of Lea Bridge Road just as they were every day, as it would not do to have the fabric on display fade.

The voice was troubling enough to Mr. Henchford, but that form was more distressing by far. It was thoroughly disturbing, and yet.... “Is it a unisex ensemble that you are wanting then, sir... er, ma’am... er....?” Some part of him knew the answer (to his question of design, if not of address), knowing that this most unusual nova would not have sought out his services had that been the goal, but he had to ask the question anyway.

“Hugin will suffice.” The nova frowned; “and no, a unisex garment is not quite what I had in mind. I have come to your shop, Mr. Henchford, because you have the reputation of being both exceedingly discrete and to cater to unusual requests with both creativity and style. You are, in short, the best your race has to offer; it is my sincere hope that you are thus up to the task. What I require is not a unisex garment, but rather a multisex garment. I want something that displays all of my features to their best, not that hides my body in a bland uniformity.

“So the question I put to you,” she said, “is can you provide me with this? Or will I have to seek the services of a tailor of my own race?” An eyebrow crept up to emphasize the question, as he waited for a reply.

The tailor was silent for a moment, then nodded slightly. “Well then, a multisex ensemble it shall be. Now then, shall we get to the details? For what manner of occasion will the garment be worn? And in what climate? Will you require additional changes of clothing for an extended event, and if so, will you require a combination of both casual and formal wear?” The questions went on, and Hugin gave an appreciative nod at the professional manner in which the baseline set forth on the task at hand.

For his part, Mr. Henchford was, behind his façade of professionalism and British reserve, almost bursting at the seams with excitement.


A month of interminable fittings, endless revisions, whole garments scrapped and wasted, and not a few moments when he was certain that his client would throw up his, er her, um it’s hands in frustration and storm out of the shop, Mr. Henchford watched as Hugin turned another pirouette – only this time, it was before a mirror, and was anything but perfunctory.

The lines of the suit coat lent grace to the feminine curve of the chest, revealing enough of the silk shirt beneath to be tempting whilst still proper, and yet swept upward in firmly-stated emphasis of the shoulders. The lines continued down, flowing along the curves of her hips while lending themselves to the strength of his legs with the unique trousers, coming to a slight and tasteful crease just above the shoes.

Those shoes had been a nightmare to arrange. For all of his skill, Mr. Henchford was not a cobbler. However, when he had finally found one with both the skill and the willingness to listen to his improbable request, the result had been – exquisite. Never before had a pair of what where, in most respects, Oxford shoes shown such grace; the slight elevation of the narrowed heel gave a whole new twist to the classic design.

Mr. Henchford fears were vanquished, as he saw the beautiful melding of the masculine and feminine – not a neuter homogeneity, but a celebration of both brought together in a beautiful duality – that adorned his client. And despite all of his early misgivings, his fears that the result might wind up looking like a circus sideshow, he realized: Hugin looked good.

“It will do,” was the final verdict from his client, who arranged the final details of payment and made to leave the shop. He hesitated for a moment at the door, and turned to look at the tailor, indecision clear on her face. Finally, Hugin simply said, “good work,” then left. And those two simple words would warm an old English tailor to the end of his days.

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