Elegance: In or Out?

Over the last two centuries a fashion revolution occurred, which started with the rigid dress code ante-Poiret, passed through the hands of Coco Chanel and arrived to the unbounded concession of today. We all agree that the way we dress is an expression of personality, but up to what point is it possible to dare in order to affirm our uniqueness? Is good taste something not to be cared about anymore? Is elegance something debatable or a well defined concept?


“Simplicity, good taste and grooming are the three fundamentals of good dressing”. This is what Monsieur Dior tried to teach to “the woman of today” in his Little Dictionary of Fashion. This lesson is something that sometimes people nowadays are just ignoring. On the other hand, there have been other lessons at which they were indubitably careful. In fact, it seems that the concept of any publicity is good publicity has been perfectly understood. Just consider the catwalks along the red carpet of the latest Venetian Festival of Cinema.  The trash sold as elegance of Giulia Salemi and Dayane Mello is something that has not gone unnoticed.

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According to Harper’s Bazaar, in the last century there have been many “scandalous dresses that made people lose their sh*t” ( check it out here). From Josephine Baker in the ‘20s, passing through Marilyn Monroe in ’55, Cher in ’74, Carrie Fisher in ’83, Sharon Stone in ’92, Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell in ’93, Princess Diana in ’94,  Jennifer Lopez in 2000, Amber Rose and Rihanna in 2014 and many others, up to Miley Cyrus and Beyoncè in 2015 and Bella Hadid in 2016, they have something in common. That is: they have all probably misinterpreted the Chanel’s statement “It is always better to be slightly undressed”. In fact, all this stars, and many others, have been criticized because they were not wearing appropriate outfits, at list for the occasion they were attending.

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Not so long ago, every occasion required a specific dress code. Not meeting the expectations implied tremendous scandals among society, spotting one’s reputation indelibly. Today, things are much different, both for women and men. To disregard the dress code just makes a person an innovator, a revolutionary, an extravagant. It is no more a matter of status or honour, as it used to be. Anyway, things have not to be all black or white: between the total absence of colours and the sum of all of them, there are so many shadows! Modernising the dress code might be a wonderful idea, if not going far in the other excess.


Therefore, there is evidence that nowadays good taste is something debatable. And sometimes this occurred in the name of personality. To quote Coco Chanel again, “In order to be irreplaceable, you have to be different.”, but maybe it did not mean that in order to be noticed, everything should be allowed in any occasion. There are situations in which elegance is required, and, unfortunately, personality cannot fill a gap made of undressed skin. And always remember Karl Lagerfeld words: “The elegance is as physical, as moral quality that has nothing common with the clothing. You can see a countrywoman more elegant than one so called elegant woman.”

Laura Gaudioso


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