Sunday, June 9, 2013

Enduring elegance

"Excess is never elegant" - Anonymous

Lee Radziwill
Elegance, like taste or class, is one of those indefinable qualities that many people have tried to put into words and even more have tried to emulate. I guess it's another case of 'you either have it or you don't'. A strict definition as given by the Free Dictionary reads:  a. Refinement, grace and beauty in movement appearance or manners; b. Tasteful opulence in form, decoration or presentation; c. Scientific exactness and precision.

Elegance can therefore be applied to people, animals (think horses!), interiors, architecture and mathematics. Although my math leaves a lot to be desired, I know an elegant woman or interior when I see one. Could I tell you why, exactly? Despite writing for a living, I would be hard pressed to find the right words. I do believe it is a state of being, a gentle curiosity, a clean line, a beauty that needs little enhancement - the bare bones are usually enough. It is genteel, often restrained (although this need not always be the case) and never has to try too hard.

Glamorous women like Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly, Lee Radziwill, Talitha Getty and Marella Agnelli - to name just a few - have or had it in spades. They were elegance personified. These days, it's so much harder to find younger women who embody that intangible quality. God, I sound like such an old school marm! Sorry about that! But it's true, isn't it? The young starlets really don't seem to have it. Maybe, if you were to hold a gun to my head, Lilly Collins or Camille Belle. In my opinion, the most elegant of my peers is Aerin Lauder. There's a quiet, unassuming beauty about her. There's nothing loud or vulgar there. Her look, her homes, her office. She gets my vote. Who do you think is truly elegant?

Aerin Lauder's dressing room

Aerin Lauder

Aerin Lauder's office as seen in Architectural Digest

Talitha Getty

Grace Kelly

Ines de la Fressange

Carolina Herrera

Marella Agnelli