On Friday night—11/11/11—the Corduroy Appreciation Club held its "Grandest Meeting" at the Desmond Tutu Center. Occurring on the date most closely resembling corduroy in our lifetimes, the sold-out event drew hundreds of corduroy-lovers for a night of, well, corduroy loving. The sixth-annual meeting featured a keynote address by Amy Sedaris, a wedding of two lovers who met through the Club, and the crowning of the Corduroy Messiah, a girl who turned 11 on 11/11/11.
Corduroy aficionados traveled to NYC from as far as London for the big meeting, which is one part parody of secret society rituals, two parts fashion fetishism, and three parts drunken circus. As cries of "Hail the Wale" erupted throughout the auditorium (corduroy ridges are called "wales"), Sedaris took the stage to address the Club. Before reading a poem she composed on the subject of corduroy, Sedaris noted that 11/11/11 is a date second only in significance to 6/9/69: "They didn't call it the Summer of Love for nothing."
Noted corduroy fan Wes Anderson was not in attendance, but he sent his regrets in a personal letter to Club President Miles Rohan, enclosing one of the corduroy suits worn by the Fantastic Mr. Fox as a gift. Director Woody Allen also declined to attend, but was present in the form of an Etsy corduroy doll, as well as a video showing one Corduroy Club member accosting him to present a lifetime corduroy achievement award.
The surreal highlight of this year's meeting was the anointing of 11-year-old Avery Sorenson as the Corduroy Messiah. Rohan told us the girl was culled out of almost 100 possible contenders for the title, and her mother told the Club that when her daughter was very young "she had a little red corduroy jumper she loved so much she would take it out of her drawer and let me know she wanted to wear it—before she could even talk." (Just like how the Tibetans find the Dalai Lama.) As Sorenson sat on a throne wearing her new corduroy cape, a procession of supplicants weaved solemnly down the aisle to lay gifts at her corduroyal feet. She looked terrified.
After sacrificing Sorenson on a corduroy alter (kidding), there was a corduroy poetry reading, a corduroy fashion show, a corduroy history lecture ("Did Ben Franklin wear corduroy in 1774?" Rohan says yes.) and finally, just before 11:11 p.m. rolled around, a corduroy wedding. You may not be able to tell from the bride's photograph, but her gown was in fact made out of corduroy. Then, as the night drew to a close, club members were asked to vote about whether to continue the club or disband now that 11/11/11 was behind them. Rohan says he wants step aside as President and become the club's Vladimir Putin. "My mother's here tonight," he noted dryly at one point. "And I'm sure she's disappointed."
At press time, the vote count wasn't in yet, but with Corduroy Appreciation Clubs cropping up in cities around the world, it's clear the wale hailing has become bigger than just one man. Rohan has created a corduroy monster, and it won't rest until we're all marching audibly together toward a corduroy future.