Sunday, September 11, 2011

SUNDAY LIFE STYLE QUEENS STORY




In case you didn't catch my story in this weekend's Sunday Life (photographs by Chris Colls), here it is:


"Fashion fades, style is eternal." This oft-quoted sound bite from the late fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent has never rung truer. We live in the age of the rapid-fire trend, with designers at leading houses churning out more and more collections each year. According to British Vogue, John Galliano, the scandal-beset former creative director of Dior, was producing 32 ranges a year before his contract abruptly came to a halt (after an anti-Semitic tirade in a Paris cafe). With so much fashion, so fast, style becomes more important than ever. For style, although slippery to define, is different from simply wearing what is "in fashion".
Style is the way we put our outfits together, but it's also the way we hold ourselves, the way we deal with others, the way we talk, walk, dance, fight. Those who possess style exude personal flair, panache, that certain je ne sais quoi. Or to quote another famed couturier, Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel: "Fashion is not simply a matter of clothes; fashion is in the air, borne upon the wind; one intuits it ... it comes from ideas, manners, events."
While we might struggle to define it, we certainly know style when we see it. It could be the red lip on a groomed-to-the-hilt Lauren Bacall lookalike, the jaunty tilt of a fedora, or a scarf knotted just so. Some people have style so abundant that it fairly shines out of them; they could wear an Australia Post sack and get away with it. And yet style is not beauty. Indeed some first-class style mavens aren't conventionally beautiful at all – the famed US fashion editor Diana Vreeland had more style in her little finger than the much prettier models she worked with on her photo shoots.

I interviewed four Australian fashion players, with very different personal aesthetics, about what style means to them, and why it is worth celebrating. Clockwise from top: Eva Galambos, Kym Ellery, Zanita Whittington, Terry Schwamberg.

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