Friday, September 10, 2010

Bird Of Fashion

It is Fashion Week in New York this week, with runway shows of the major and minor designers and the comprehensive all-city party event known as Fashion's Night Out. And I couldn't care much less, which is odd for someone who spent much of her career in fashion and is known for her sense of style.

This might be a stage of life thing; after all, neither my career nor my lifestyle requires looking as if I know what's going on in fashion, and I no longer have the income to support the fashion habit. But I know it is more than that, that the relevance of new fashion and finding one's own style seem more and more in conflict to me.

I think one of the people who best exemplifies an outstanding balance of personal style, delight in fashion, passion for art, and irreverence is Iris Apfel. At 88 years old, she is one of fashion's muses after living a life in her own distinct style. Comfortable mixing haute couture with street cart faux, this year her inimitable collection was featured by the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute.

From a UK Guardian article on Ms. Apfel earlier this year,
"The days when she felt insecure are long gone. "You learn as you grow up, if you're intelligent – or even three-quarter witted – that there's no free lunch. You pay for things in various ways. Living, loving, everything else is a matter of the same principles: you learn to work with what you have. And there's nobody today who can't do something to help herself."

What's more, being unconventional has had lasting benefits. "If you can't be pretty, you have to learn to make yourself attractive. I found that all the pretty girls I went to high school with came to middle age as frumps, because they just got by with their pretty faces, so they never developed anything. They never learned how to be interesting. But if you are bereft of certain things, you have to make up for them in certain ways. Don't you think?"

I love this rare bird of fashion, and salute her during this Fashion Week!

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