Monday, May 16

much love monday: great dames

In New Zealand we seem to be living in the time of choice so why do we limit our outfits to clothing that will blend into a crowd? Why do girls enjoy oversized off the shoulder knits with black tights; why do boys save up for their Lower jeans and black tshirts and that’s it? It seems that there is such a thing as too much freedom. Perhaps we are lost. Thank goodness there’s a solution. When the little sheep are lost and frightened who can they look to but the wise fashion shepherds?

These shepherds are NOT the quick to come quick to go IT girls - no. They are the old dames who dress because they love art, they love style and most of all they love wearing what they can dream of. Vivienne Westwood is one of the greatest designers of our time but it’s not solely for her fashion label she created, it’s not just because she clothed the punk sub cultural wave, it’s because all she creates, she is herself. We see a now 70 year old diva with a tangle of orange hair, painted lips, laughing in an advertisement with her good friend Pamela Anderson. She slaps judgment in it’s pink flushed face but she also sets a style standard that many of us crave or obsesses over.

The website and my visual shrine ‘Nowness’ recently posted a short video of alive and beautifully aged woman who the fashion world bow down to. When my friend and I watched it we fell in love with their way of being, how they costumed their day to day performance.

There is Iris Apfel who’s eyes blink at you behind her famous huge owl spectacles. There is artist Ilona Royce Smithkin looking charmingly eccentric with extended orange eyelashes. I think what is central to these women’s layered, elaborate and beautiful dress is that each piece is stitched into them with its own little stories. Their outfits are creative certainly but what is most important is that they are wearing their lives AND they are consistently doing so every day.

Fashionable older ladies adorned with glorious brooches, tailored coats, ironic prints, token glasses are the people that we should pause, consider and be influenced by. We don’t necessarily have to worry about dressing as near to the oddball line as we can without crossing it, it’s not about that balance. But it is about being bold and slightly more eccentric when dressing and being slightly more individual. Avoid splurging on cheap nothings and wear outfits that carry your stories within them.


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