A young Yves Saint Laurent once said, "Elegance is a dress too dazzling to dare to wear twice." His vision of elegance describes a woman aware of her sartorial masterpieces, and also how very easily they could turn into clichés, or worse, style scandals pointed out by the ever-hawk-eyed Paris Match. There are many words that describe Saint Laurent's designs before elegant, though most of them were, indeed, "too dazzling to dare to wear twice."
In a recent debate with Mimma Viglezio for ShowStudio, my favorite fashion historian and most honored opinion Colin McDowell, stated that chic, somewhat of a buzzword filling in for the old-fashioned "elegance" at the moment, is a subtler illusion, "without any one item leaping out at you." He credits a woman with elegance with always looking nice, but no one quite knowing why. I, however, believe that both of them are partially correct, and therefore, I daresay, also partially incorrect. In my mind, elegance is awarded to women who have self-awareness, aren't obvious with their fashion choices, but also know when it's their time to "dazzle." I think Saint Laurent’s quote puts too much focus on the dress, and with too little on the woman wearing it; where the elegance truly comes from. Colin, on the other hand, relates elegance as a very understated quality, while true elegance is having a certain amount of self-respect and importance to put in an effort. Both fashion geniuses, although from very different levels, points of view, and times in history, understand what real elegance looks like and what it takes. At the end of the day, elegance is just another branch of beauty, and beauty can only be present where surety and confidence are.
Lou Lou de la Falaise, an iconic Saint Laurent muse.
Photo found on Pinterest.