Secrets of Today’s 20 Most Stylish Women
It wouldn’t be too outrageous to say that personal style has reached its saturation point. Between the glut of outfit-a-day blogs, Instagrams, runway reality shows, mass-market designer collabs, and the Web sites that go with them, it’s not difficult to find oneself overwhelmed, not to mention overdressed.
Yet at a time when personal style is anything but personal, there are still those zeitgeisty influencers like Dasha Zhukova and Alexa Chung who, without trying to, anticipate what’s next and set the tone for the look du jour. They have the ability to seamlessly navigate a sea of sartorial options and come out looking ravishing, rather than ravaged. They know their way around the mix-and-match and the photogenic pose. Whether they’re crossing a street clutching a Starbucks cup or holding forth on the red carpet, the reaction they elicit is always a distinct combination of envy and awe.
We all have our favorites, but regardless of whether you consider yourself a member of Team Tilda or Team Beyoncé (if you spend time considering such things), it’s undeniable that each of these style stars has, as the legendary Bazaar editor Diana Vreeland would say, “pizzazz.” Defined as “an attractive combination of vitality and glamour,” this ephemeral quality, which the original editrix also ascribed to racehorses, may explain why Sarah Jessica Parker can throw a full-length Jil Sander jacket over a cream Rochas gown and channel Deeda Blair, or how Kate Moss has made jeans the ultimate chic staple, topping them off with a fringed motorcycle jacket or nouveau grunge plaid and wild fur. Indeed, where Kate’s jeans go, the world follows. Which leads us to the next point in today’s expression of pizzazz: the ability to mix and match to hit the perfect dressed-undressed balance and to incorporate unexpected elements to great effect.
On the red carpet, for instance, the stars seem to be lightening up, dressing in pale hues for night instead of the traditional black. The duchess formerly known as Kate Middleton never looked better than when she wore an ivory Roland Mouret gown (which showed just the right amount of leg) in May.
That white is the new black was further proved by Gwyneth Paltrow’s caped Tom Ford getup at the Oscars, where it trumped many an over-the-top taffeta confection. And Monaco’s Charlotte Casiraghi has also been a notable proponent of the cape crusadepeople are still talking about the glamorous powder blue version by Giambattista Valli she wore to her uncle Prince Albert’s wedding reception last summer. The heroic garment does not generally evoke sleek minimalism, but on the backs of Paltrow and Casiraghi, it did just that. Lauren Santo Domingo’s bow-bedecked ensemble from Oscar de la Renta pulled off a similarly unlikely hat trick. It’s uncanny how LSD managed to sport a fabulous pouf sleeve the size of a ham hock and make it memorable for all the right reasons.
Enter Stella McCartney, Céline’s Phoebe Philo, and the Row’s Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, to whom the best of today’s personal style owes much of its appeal. These visionaries bring to their labels an elevated sense of what design by women for women can, and should, be. Their practice is devoid of impossible fits and draconian shapewear and instead aims to find the intersection of power, elegance, and ease. It doesn’t hurt that each designer is, virtually, her own ideal customer. Personal-style pioneer McCartney has been known to step into the spotlight wearing the no-nonsense woman’s power suit of cuffed jeans and a black blazer. When Philo emerged to take a bow after her Fall 2011 show, she was understatedly chic in a gray turtleneck, black pants, and white sneakersand the fashion world took notice. And since Mary-Kate and Ashley have been redefining downtown nonchalance with their respective neoStevie Nicks and Carolyn Bessetteminimalist vibes, the rest of the world has noticed too.
However different these designers are from one another, they exemplify a certain cool ethos that has taken hold in women’s wardrobes everywhere. The always subtly dressed Sofia Coppola nailed laid-back elegance when she wore a black Yves Saint Laurent jumpsuit to the Oscars. Model Joan Smalls took the fashion uniform to the next level by adding a high-top bootie to her leather-pants-and-blazer moment, and our office girl crush, photographer Mary Frey, knows exactly how to subvert the noir skirt suit with the addition of a lace blouse and a snap slit. At the opposite pole from red-carpet white, dark dressing remains in a class of its own.
The boho boom that Isabel Marant architected is another personal-style stronghold. This loose-and-louche genre has been championed by the likes of Bianca Brandolini d’Adda, Margherita Maccapani Missoni, and Poppy Delevingne, who wear leopard as a neutral and printed pajama pants as cocktail attire.
As with any question of pizzazz, it has something to do with appropriation and everything to do with confidence. These ladies know how to make an outfit their own, and they look like they’re having fun while doing it. They may be anticipating next season’s silhouette, pushing the boundaries of proportion, and bringing back capes, or they may be playing with fashion. But no matter what the look (or the intention), one fact remains abundantly clear: They wear the clothes, the clothes don’t wear them.
CLICK THROUGH FOR THE SLIDE SHOW OF THE STYLISH WOMEN.
Pictured above: Dasha Zhukova
Follow this link:
Secrets of Today’s 20 Most Stylish Women
Leave a Reply
You must be logged in to post a comment.