Today, the divine Heather Robinson of Lost In Arles is musing about fashion and age and style versus substance. I would not be exaggerating to say she is a great writer and her every post — chez elle — glitters with her sparkling joie de vivre.
It was Haute Couture week in Paris and I had no idea. Not until my honey forwarded an article in Le Monde because it had «that lady from Vogue», mouth firmly pressed as ever, featured in photo.
I admit that rankled a bit, made me lift a sardonic eyebrow in surprise. In years past, I would writhe around the exits of the New York shows like a pigeon searching for crumbs and going to the post office was reason enough to don the vintage Dior toque or clicky crocodile Prada pumps. «I think of fashion as very important part of self-expression,» I would toss off both non-chalantly and with gravity when approached on the subject.
Up went the credit card debt but so did my self-confidence. A theatre actress who had come from the Midwest, I was very much dressing the part and I did it with enough aplomb to have my photo taken on the street.
|Chanel (of course. . .)|
It was a need I carried with me after having moved to France and into a new career as a travel writer, one that I hadn’t the slightest clue about save for a suspicion that it is best to have an Hermes scarf to wrap around one’s head while on safari. Slowly, I found the words and so left the costumes behind.
My life has gotten more and more simple in the past few years. Walking my Golden Retriever Ben in Arles, the small town in the South of France where I have taken up residence, is my current runway. One where I would feel utterly ridiculous to call untoward attention to myself while doing so. I shed my skin, I shed my skin. With time and age, the art of personality seems less important, less worth focusing on than the spark that is just beyond it.
Undoubtedly, the two can co-exist and do in most women. While my colleagues and friends are asking about how far we can go with fashion and beauty, surfing the wave of a societal shift of ageing until it breaks on the shore, I find myself struggling to work up concern.
|Christian Dior with Hamish Bowles of American Vogue (left) and Suzy Menkes (right), the International Herald Tribune, sitting front row center and busily recording their impressions of the collection by the house’s new designer, Raf Simons.|
At 42, I am admittedly on the low-ball curve of our new youth. I have wandered away from fashion, not decisively turned my back and hope that at some point I will saunter again towards its glossy embrace. One thing is for certain, if I do, it won’t be to play any role other than myself.