Oops. I miscalculated slightly on the clothing side. The colours aren't nearly as scary as they seem - it's just the SAMPLES that are a little way out there. We arrived at our clothing/food/medikit session this morning to find a team of specialists from Energia, the Institute of Medical and Biological Problems (IMBP) who were there to walk us through each item of clothing in detail and then help us choose our wardrobe.
Roberto and I had a good chuckle because 'choosing our wardrobe' meant filling out a form, where we were supposed to request a specific number of clothes of each type. However, in most of the categories, our clothes 'have already been sent to the station'. What that means, in translation, is that there are some leftover items up there that will be assigned to us. So Roberto and I will be tossing a coin (can one DO that in space?) to see who gets the bright yellow t-shirt, and who gets the bright red one. In the other categories we were instructed what to put in each block. I have put in a plea for one variation - thin socks in addition to the thick woolies they have allocated already - but we'll have to see whether or not those materialize. Here's hoping.
The specialists were all lovely ladies, and it's clear they take great pride in their work. While the styles may be... different... the functionality is very well thought out indeed, and I'm happy to know that our underwear will be flame retardant, even if I hope not to test the limits of that technology. It was a good laugh. Also, in many areas, we learned that they are starting to switch to current off-the-shelf goods. So Gillette Sensor Excel is currently the space-certified Russian razor. Which is a relief, given the cutthroat appearance of the 60's demo models in the packages we saw.