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Monday, September 28th 2009

Art of the Dress

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Last Saturday night I was out at a club wearing a draped grey tunic, black skinnies, and zippered Sergio Rossi boots when in walked my friend Jeffrey whose chic ensemble blew mine out of the water: houndstooth vintage Dior jacket, Ben Sherman cardigan, custom pinstriped button-down with French cuffs, vintage Vivienne Westwood paisley tie, tailored Ted Baker jeans, and Balenciaga wingtip shoes. Although a tee and jeans was more than enough for the dress code, it’s so exhilarating to see someone making a serious effort to get dressed. Which for people like Jeffrey is no effort at all; it’s merely an extension of their personality, a reflection of their love affair with fashion.

This was all very fitting, as I had just finished watching The September Issue, a movie devoted to professional tastemaking, which attempts to give us a peek behind, as one reporter called it, “the iron curtain of Anna Wintour’s bangs.” While this doc’s central drama focused on the tension between the enchanting Grace Coddington and the exacting Anna (punctuated with lighter moments such as a scene where André Leon Talley practices his backhand with a diamond-encrusted tennis watch on his wrist and a Louis Vuitton towel draped around his neck), I most enjoyed the sumptuous couture photo shoots Ms. Coddington styles to perfection in locations like the Palace of Versailles and the Vatican courtyard. It reminded me of the continued importance of couture decadence and fantasy in our industry—how viewing one otherworldly Meisel photo, one breathtaking Ports 1961 dress, one magical Coddington story has the power to transform you. It’s something I hope never becomes a lost art.


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