In the words of iconic couturier Yves Saint-Laurent, “Fashions fade, style is eternal”. In keeping with this much revered sartorial saying, this week Palatinate Fashion look at two women who embody the importance of personal style and self-expression when it comes to the way that they dress.
I am about as faithful to my style references as Mme Bovary is to her husband – Bowie, Madonna and Marie-Antoinette are just a few examples of those who have come and gone in my mood boards. Yet there is one person who always remains, of whom I never can seem to let go – Kate Moss.
One reason may be that she personifies everything my bourgeois upbringing condemned: sex, drugs and rock n’ roll. As a teenager my life consisted of dance practice, schoolwork and dull family dinners and so I longed to wear diamonds, do coke and sleep with movie stars. Her carefree and glamorous persona is evocative and thrilling in itself and she became the forbidden apple I eagerly bit into.
Kate’s style without a doubt reflects upon her rebellious air. She neglects traditional notions of good taste with the same nonchalance as she disregards the stereotypical female gender role. Nevertheless, she does so with such allure and confidence that she never appears naff or vulgar. At the CFDA awards in 2005, for example, she wore an exquisitely tailored Dior dress with bed head hear and makeup from the previous night’s party. She isn’t a lady, but she is definitely not a tramp either, instead she choses not to be defined by either.
Her relation to fashion is therefore very inspirational, and to me it represents the very essence of what true style signifies; it is individualistic, experimental, but never dull or unsexy. One of the most important lessons Kate Moss has taught me is that sex appeal and self-assurance are equally, if not more, important than the way you dress. This seems especially significant to me now that I’m spending my money on a degree, instead of splurging on couture.
Oh and of course! As a final note, Kate would never wear sportswear in public – so really, there is no excuse for anyone to do so.
Words: Victor Schagerlund.
When it comes to Jane Birkin, it’s difficult to know where to begin. Whether it’s the perfectly dishevelled hair, those bum-skimming A-line dresses or the oh-so kitsch wicker basket, Jane Birkin’s style simply exudes nonchalance.
As one of the most iconic pin-ups of the sixties and seventies, Birkin appeared alongside the like of Brigitte Bardot and Serge Gainsbourg – who she would later marry – in cult French noveau vague films such as ‘La Piscine’ and ‘Don Juan, or if Don Juan were a woman’. Pieces such as her navy gingham beach dress paired with simple ballet flats, or her plaid A-line skirt accessorised with milk bottle sized sunglasses combined the audacity of London’s swinging sixties with the ease of Parisian style. The result: the ultimate combination of sex appeal and innocence. Whilst Birkin may not have evoked the va va voom sexiness of her co-star Bardot, there is something so much more alluring in the way Birkin tucked a loose fitting short into a pair of boot cut jeans. Simple jersey dresses always hung daringly shorty, denim Levi shorts were more akin to hot pants, and rolled up shirts plunged decidedly low, but there was always an ease to her style.
This effortlessness is what strikes me the most about Birkin – as clichéd as it may sound her clothes never wore her. Whether it be a pea coat or an off-the-shoulder crop top, Birkin always exuded an air of confidence and attitude, but an attitude which had a softer and more innocent side. Rather than baring all, Birkin’s style left something to the imagination.
Fast forward a few decades and the Birkin effect is still very much in force. Just look to the likes of Alexa Chung and Harley Viera-Newton, whose much-coveted looks constantly reference Birkin’s feminine yet tomboyish style. There is simply no denying that Birkin’s timeless appeal resides in her ability to make the unobvious and simple oh-so desirable.
Words: Katie Shuff.
Photographs: jingdianmeinv1 and The Coincidental Dandy via Flickr.