A French jewelry designer was asked recently, “What is your definition of elegance?”
Having worked in the fashion business all of his professional life, one would tend to expect him to cite something related to the fun-filled world of façade. He didn’t.
Elegance for me, he said, is, “La pudeur, une forme de reserve des sentiments.”
Pudeur is generally translated as “modesty” but it is more delicate and profound than that in French when used to describe someone’s comportment. It suggests discretion, a sort of code of privacy and respect.
Please, those of you who speak fluent French, how would you define pudeur? Perhaps his “reserve des sentiments” is the best translation/definition.