Chez Pantalon Rouge

The Hunt for Red Trousers


One of my Facebook friends, Andrew McFall, set up a group “Chez Pantalon Rouge“, the purpose of which was to post pictures of people wearing red trousers. What started as a bit of fun took off, lots of us became quasi-obsessed, taking and posting photos. The intended target was middle aged men wearing the offending article, but photos were posted of all kinds of people wearing red trousers. The group now has 710 members. Rich pickings can be found in Canterbury, Germany, Edinburgh and other sartorially-challenged locales. Here in Tbilisi men wearing red trousers are rare but women wearing red trousers are quite common.

The photos can be a bit blurry, snapped quickly, as I don’t want to be caught and having to explain this strange obsession. More embarrassing is when the flash goes off, having inadvertently forgotten to turn it off. Candid street photography has a long and esteemed history (many great French photographers like Doisneau and Brassai took memorable images but being in black and white, we couldn t enjoy their shots of le pantalon rouge). Now, however, street photography is coming under scrutiny in this increasingly litigious age. In theory there should be no restrictions taking members of the public in a public place. Privacy laws, however, vary from country to country. I sometimes worry about this being an excuse for my inner creep.