Letters of Life

On Style

Coco: Stylemeister of the 1920s and 30s


Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening. — Coco Chanel

I like what current designer at the house of Chanel, Karl Lagerfeld, says about his collections: “Chanel is composed of only a few elements, white camellias, quilted bags and Austrian doorman’s jackets, pearls, chains, shoes with black toes. I use these elements like notes to play with.”

Lagerfeld's Spring 2010 look: I do love this! Thing is, I probably need to be blonde to carry it off!

Fashion is a lot like music, of course. In fact, the best kind of music is also the best kind of fashion: When it is improvised. And so the great Karl describes his approach to his most lucrative fashion house as improvisation of the highest order!

The next quote is by a man who is not at all interested in trends and things that are of-the-moment. Anthony Burgess says: “Women thrive on novelty and are easy meat for the commerce of fashion. Men prefer old pipes and torn jackets.” Still, his words obviously have large grains of truth in it, for most women do like to get new earrings and doodads, and lipgloss is a recurrent purchase for me. Like I need it!

Elegance is a question of personality, more than one’s clothing. –Jean-Paul Gaultier.

This is intentionally scaled down. . .


It’s interesting that the designer who created nipple tassels and dressed Madonna at the height of her most outrageous, should say something about elegance. He is French, of course, so we don’t want to quarrel with him.

I once spoke with the designer behind The Project Shop line of clothes for men and women, and whose PS Cafe in Dempsey Road is a magnet for the beautiful people (and wallets to match). He said that there is no such thing as bad taste, because what that person wears is ultimately what that person is. In fact, he added, he found bad taste more interesting than good taste. He said–with a straight face–he once saw his t-shirts put on the backs of car seats. I didn’t know whether to laugh or to look sympathetic. But he seemed pretty stoic about it.

I’ve saved the last words for the man *everyone* knows is elegance personified, in his collections, in his furniture lines, in his lifestyle.

I’ve always thought of the T-shirt as the Alpha and Omega of the fashion alphabet.–Giorgio Armani

Amen to that.

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