Clarabella Speaks.

"It is not in the stars to hold our destiny, but in ourselves" - Shakespeare

Thursday, 15 September 2011

There is more to fashion than meets the eye.

Fashion photographer Bill Cunningham spoke these wonderful words,
"Fashion is the armour to survive the reality of everyday life." 
The use of armour as a metaphor elevates fashion from the realms of superficiality that many associate with it. But what is Cunningham really saying? because no amount of beautiful clothes can protect us from life's difficulties the way that a bullet proof vest can stop a bullet to the chest.
Before you read too much into it and pass him off as a naive and romantic idiot, think about it. Cunningham is not saying beautiful clothes create an impenetrable bubble around those who wear them and that they pass through life unscathed, that really would be ridiculous. I think what he means is that when we dress ourselves in these clothes we are reinforcing the natural outward defence system that we have. When we feel and look good in our clothes we have more confidence, feel more motivated and have a more positive attitude to life, so it becomes a little easier to deal with life's problems.
There will be many who think it is farcical to talk about clothes like that, but I bet that if you think about it right now you will be able to pinpoint a moment when the outfit you were wearing positively impacted your outlook on the situation. Fashion exists to make us feel good so next time you're faced with a situation you rather wish you weren't, delve into your wardrobe and indulge in a well put-together outfit. You might just be surprised.

For more on Bill Cunnigham see

Sunday, 11 September 2011

BCBG, as the French would say.

Relaxing in the most idyllic location you could imagine in the South of France, I found the inspiration I had been searching for for my next blog. It came in the form of designer Vanessa Bruno's succinct and elegant depiction of French style. Her description of not being "dictated to by one individual...specific decade or a passing trend", of recreating current trends in a "softer" way and of daring, "but not too much" was music to my ears because it beautifully summarised - in a way that I had not managed to articulate - my own stance on fashion and trends.

I am so sick of being expected/told to dress according to the latest trends and being judged if I don't, but what is so much worse is people assuming that if I am wearing something that happens to be on trend then I am only wearing it because it is current. That is so not okay because in my opinion people who do that have no concept of style (and I would rather like to consider that I do)! For example I recently bought a scarlet cardigan from Urban Outfitters, because I liked it, and I was wearing it one day when someone commented "Oh I love your cardigan, that colour is so on trend for this season."AARRGH. I know she meant well but it got me thinking about the predicament we find ourselves in. Almost all of what is available for us to buy on the high street is there because it is this season's trend so whenever we buy new clothes we have very little choice but to buy into trends and fashion, but like I said last blog, trends are so last season. They come and go so how can we extract style from the chopping and changing trends? Well, by taking a leaf out of the french book of style.

Style is all about putting your own (classic) twist on (current) fashion and trends, and in my opinion the French do it better than anyone; the term Parisian chic exists for a reason. One could even consider Bruno's 'recreation of current trends in a softer and cunningly daring way' an excellent definition of the term chic and so we have it that French style = chic. Don't over do it and aim for beautiful. Voici quelques exemples:

Yes you can find beautifully dressed women on the streets of New York, London or Milan but why is my heart in Paris? For me, french style in 3 words (excluding chic) is cool, elegant and understated and this combination goes above and beyond the boundaries of trends and creates an exquisitely timeless look, which in case you hadn't realised is what I absolutely love to see. The French have a term for it. They call it BCBG (Bon Chic Bon Genre, literally good style good class) and it depicts a modern tastefulness and luxury which goes beyond preppy but not as far as haute couture. If they coined a term like that then you can be sure they know how to carry it off!
A bientôt