We are beasts locked in a stall, we have been cheated out of springtime
"Ladies' fashion! What a horrible chapter of our cultural history, laying bare mankind's secret lusts. Reading its pages, one shudders to one's very soul at dreadful perversions and unbelievable vices; one can hear the whimpering of abused children, the shrieks of maltreated women, the ear-splitting screams of tortured people, the wailing of victims burning at the stake. Whips crack, and the air is filled with the smell of roasting human flesh. La bête humaine...
No, that is going too far. Human beings are not beasts. Love in a beast is as plain and simple as nature intended. But we humans abuse our nature, and nature abuses the sexual urge within us. We are beasts locked in a stall, beasts refused their natural food, beasts who have to love to order. We are domesticated animals.
If we humans had remained beasts, then love would enter our hearts once a year. But our only barely repressed sensuality renders us capable of love at any time. We have been cheated out of springtime. And our sensuality is not simple, but complicated, not natural, but unnatural."
- Adolf Loos, "Ladies's Fashion" (1898/1902), a loopy essay that veers from the conservative, prudish, nostalgic for the natural, and misogynistic to something more uncommon and Kollontai-like, as in his calls for articulated women's trousers allowing them to bicycle quickly as the concrete step toward equality of the sexes. Add to this an attempt, as with Loos, to ascribe a grand historical narrative to particular questions of what material pants are made from , an insistence that the progress arrow always points toward stripping down to form's utility, and a number of turns of phrase that make your collar feel a bit tight (see here: "the green apple has exerted greater attraction than the ripened fruit").