Dear Coco

But first,

Oh darling-dear Coco, it’s been a while since our thoughts has last intertwined. And by “a while”, I mean a while’s time enhanced by the change of seasons.

Yes, November, the notorious month where fashion tends to steal some of Mother Nature’s finest prints and vibrant colors. Spring once again seizes the imagination of designers with its rich colors and organic shapes hidden in floral silhouettes. With the summer air starting to nibble on the heels of spring, the fashion industry is preparing for its most exciting and festive season. While the rest of us are inhaling spring and preparing for summer’s arrival, the “fashion bee’s” are passionately transforming their spring-inspired ideas into honey-golden garments. Tropical prints, floral patterns, pastel shades and fresh-cut shapes are all being manifested on the pages of newly spring-inspired magazines. Gradually clothing boutiques are stocking up fresh styles and trends born from runway’s spring-revival. I always find it mesmerizing how fashion, season-after-season, never stops creating new possibilities. With autumn’s dazzling presentation of multi-mixed textures and monochrome looks, it seemed impossible to think that spring would be able to top such statement pieces (for instance Giambattista Valli’s puffed-up ombre skirts or Chanel’s preppy palette-fun prints and Haute Couture Silhouettes ), but reflecting on what New York fashion week had to offer, we’re all in for a big surprise.

Chanel A/W Haute Couture Paris Fashion Week 2014

Giambattista Valli A/W Haute Couture Paris Fashion Week

Spring has always been my favorite season. This is not just because of my intense love affair with flowers, but also because of the golden opportunities spring has to offer. Spring, being the season of change where all that was once bare and cold now is blooming in vibrant life, Elle South Africa joins in the purifying process by welcoming the heels of their new editor, Emilie Gambade. At first when the news came to me that my ultimate idol of life, Jackie Burger, were to be leaving her post as Elle editor, I was devastated, doubting the future of Elle, the future of South Africa’s fashion community. But to my surprise, Emilie Gambade seems to have more than just pixie dust up her sleeve. I sense a hint of diamond dust.

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A few days ago, calmly collected within my happy place (the duck-green chair in my room, planted in a spot of sunshine), I repeated my monthly ritual by simpering on a cup of black coffee while inspecting my newest Elle. It was then when the editors’ letter tripped a switch in my brain.  In this particular issue, Emilie Gambade reflected on happiness. It might be slightly clichéd topic as it is one of the many things we daily preach ourselves about, but so there must be reason to all the go-abouts.

In life, everybody, admit it or not, is on a constant search to discovering the ideal of life. This milestone event is partnered with happiness. Once happiness is harvested within one’s soul, it is easier to discover what truly defines one.  This letter left me feeling inspired to embrace all the opportunities spring has to offer. It made me realise once again you are in control of your own destiny. Happiness is not a deserved treat for those who choose work hard and fake love, it is choice ruled by the gift of life. Let no one stand in your way of happiness and let no one ever take it away from you. Your happiness it worth far more than anyone’s opinion. They’ve got nothing on you.

So dear Coco, I challenge you to passionately fall in love with spring. Where you go, wear your soul, what you do, do it spontaneously and what you say, say it with meaning. Don’t be afraid to make impulsive decisions and experimental changes, life’s too precious to  for living in stationary luck. Move to the edge, take a leap of faith and wear that printed dress. Thank your stars for leading the way and thank God for giving you another day. And if you have to wait for something to bloom out of you, then wait patiently. If it never does bloom out of you

then just do something else.

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Dear Coco

“F” stands for Fashion and “A” stands for Art.

“I am intrigued by the narrative woven into the imagination and creativity of self-expression, and, above all, the manifestation of an identity that extends far beyond the fashion that we buy and wear.”

Jackie Burger, Fashion Editor of Elle South Africa

When referring to the term “fashion”, each person has his/her own connotation: some might be negative and some might be positive. To some people fashion is a superficial way of spending money and gaining status while to others it is a spontaneous valve creating opportunity for the inner persona to manifest.

Nothing gets me more excited than engaging in fashion-based conversation with un des amis de la mode (a fasion friend). Normally we could go on for hours, discussing the endless possibilities of mixing and matching all sorts of garments, brainstorming over new and daring ideas and exploring the open minded space of creativity. But when I try to keep up the same conversation with the cashier at Cotton On, the so-called conversation would end up in me standing all alone in monologue style. Having made a conclusion I realized that the difference between these two bodies is the different interpretations of fashion. To me, and likely to my un des amis de la mode too, fashion is more than just a piece of clothing you wear to cover your body and look lovely for your “maybe”-future husband, fashion is form of self-expression, a momentous act/thought created when the soul, body and heart meats together. We do it, to wear it, not so that we can be it, but that it can be us.

Fashion cannot be defined or placed in a box, it represents a life liven and therefor it is enormous and monumental. A lot of people refer to fashion as art. I myself have a great passion for art and it makes perfectly sense to me why some people would relate to fashion as art: art is also a way of expressing yourself, just like fashion. Perhaps fashion can be seen as “wearable art“.

A few years ago the famous question “Is fashion art?” returned to the spotlight when fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld told the Telegraph: “I am against museums and exhibitions in fashion. One woman said to me — ‘In my world, the world of art’ — so I said: ‘Oh, don’t you make dresses anymore?’ A thin smile and then: ‘If you call yourself an artist, then you are second-rate.’”.

Whether fashion is art or not, at end, who cares? When we look at the work of some game-changing designers such as Alexander McQueen, Laura Mulleavy and Rodarte’s Kate, it is totally acceptable for fashion to intercept with the realm of art. Other designers agreeing with the statement that “fashion is art” includes Paul Poiret, who fancied himself as an artist, Ralph Rucci and John Varvatos who told ARTINFO: “If you’re creating and you’re new, and you’re pushing the envelope – I definitely think it’s a form of art”.

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Yves Saint Laurent co-founder and partner Pierre Bergé, who does not relate to fashion as art, describes some of the biggest names in the industry as artists. He told ARTINFO: “Fashion exists only when it’s worn by women. Otherwise, it is nothing. It’s not an art. But Yves Saint Laurent was an artist, like Balenciaga was an artist. And Chanel, too. And Christian Dior, too. And Schiaparelli was an artist. Fashion is not an art.

Contributing to the debate, against Lagerfeld’s wishes, is the fact that fashion is making its way into art’s most sacred institution — the museum — with exhibitions such as “Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty” at the Met, “Elsa Schiaparelli And Miuccia Prada: Impossible Conversations”, the traveling “Yves Saint Laurent: The Retrospective,” and the roving “Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk” all attracting record-breaking crowds.

The Met's Spring 2012 Costume Institute exhibition, Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations, explores the striking affinities between Elsa Schiaparelli and Miuccia Prada, two Italian designers from different eras.

The Met’s Spring 2012 Costume Institute exhibition, Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations, explores the striking affinities between Elsa Schiaparelli and Miuccia Prada, two Italian designers from different eras.

"Surreal Body"

“Surreal Body”

"Classical Body"

“Classical Body”

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“Don’t be a prisoner of fashion and don’t be afraid of age!”

– Elsa Schiaparelli and Miuccia Prada

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While fashion is parading around, having everyone scratching their heads, it still has quite a gap to fill before it convinces both industries (and the rest of the world) of its place in the field.

While the answer to this question remains in the dark, the tug of war between both companies will endure. For the long run it is best to refer to art and fashion as a symbiotic relationship – two different bodies relying and feeding off one another.

As Lagerfeld told the New York Times in 2008:

Art is art. Fashion is fashion. However, Andy Warhol proved that they can exist together.

Andy Warhol: Tomato (1968) transformed into a Campbell's Soup dress (Fashion Rogues, The Rodnik Band).

Andy Warhol: Tomato (1968) transformed into a Campbell’s Soup dress (Fashion Rogues, The Rodnik Band).

Thus, whether fashion is art or not, the true beauty of fashion is not about having a walk-in closet with bejeweled garments, velvet Versace dresses or a pair of leather Louis Vuitton’s , but the never-ending possibility for each persona to be her own “A-list” designer. Being classy goes much deeper than the skin. Classiness reflects the way you carry and present yourself, it is a lifestyle. You can always be classy and fashionable, but you can’t always be fashionable and classy. In fact it should be whether a person has a sense of classiness rather than a sense of fashion. Being fashionable does not guarantee you being classy, it guarantees you of just being you. Fashion is infinite, it can be anything, but being classy is the state of an honest heart in a passionate fashion-love affair.

Photographed by Emily Shur

Mark wears a sweater by Kenzo, shirt by Stussy, pants by Moschino and shoes by Havanas.
Kim wears a sweater by Chloe, shirt by Acne, dress by Kenzo, pants by Marni, necklaces by Emporio Armani and Marni, bracelets by Alexis Bittar, belt by Ariat International and shoes by Siperga.

Photographed by Emily Shur

Auguste wears dresses by Missoni and Sonia by Sonia Rykiel and necklace by Marni.

Photographed by Emily Shur

Mark wears a blazer by Lanvin, t-shirt by Givenchy, shirt by by Robert James, pants by Versace, necklace by Alexis Bittarand shoes by Givenchy.
Auguste wears shirts by Salvatore Ferragamo and Peter Som, skirts by Louis Vuitton and ICB, pants by Helmut Lang, scarf by Louis Vuitton, necklaces by Salvatore Ferragamo and Frieda Rothman Belargo Jewelry, bracelets and rings by Belargoand shoes by Carven.

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Dear Coco

A tribute to Mademoiselle Coco Gabrielle Chanel

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Dear Reader.

Since 2014 is the exact year of my matric-being and since I am, without a doubt, a passionate freak for winter (oh, need I name the coffee, the rain, the cuddle, the fashion…), I think that this would be an appropriate day to publish my first post. During the fleeting pass of time this year, I have realized that I am quite a sentimental&celebratory person. So every ‘first’, to me, is an opportunity worthy for clinging glasses and popping those golden champagne bottles. Due to this little personal fact, I feel that it is of great appreciation and admirability that I dedicate this post to the woman I aspire to be, Mademoiselle Coco Gabrielle Chanel: the one whose legacy has shaped the future of the female race as independent, strong, courageous and beautiful woman. I cannot possibly think of any better way to celebrate this momentous moment. Now then, without further adieu, let us pay tribute to the one&only:

 

 

“You know, they ask me questions. Just an example: ‘What do you wear to bed? A pajama top? The bottoms of the pajamas? A nightgown?’ So I said, ‘Chanel No. 5,’ because it’s the truth.”

Encore, encore, encore! Oh, dear Marilyn, how proud you do me. Just when I thought this woman cannot get anymore spectacular, she admits to being a victim of the famous fragrance, Chanel No. 5. These words, spoken by the the true Marilyn Monroe in an interview back in April 1960, (see link) reveals her passionate love affair with Chanel No. 5. Ladies&Gents, it is my privilege and a great honor to dedicate this post to a woman whom has learned me many things and among all of these precious treasures, most important, to be comfortable within your own style.

Mademoiselle Coco Gabrielle Chanel has become one of the world’s most well-known luxury fashion designers whom gave birth to the classic trademark suits and the must-have, little black dress. Although most of you are probably quite familiar with the name, there is much more to the girl who started it all. Despite her dying in the shadow of a wealthy fashion designer who made a fortune from her signature perfume, Chanel No. 5 and fine iconic fashion garments, Coco lived a childhood of poverty and abandonment. With a bit of luck, success-driven passion and a creative spirit that would change fashion forever, she outran the social marathon. And yet, here we are, stuck between the boundaries of what the world expects us woman to be and what we ourselves dream of becoming.

Ladies, it is crucial that you realize that you are capable of achieving so much more. Take a moment to be totally awestricken and go google the life of Chanel, if I could, to make it easier for you, I would have posted a whole profile analysis of her right here, but that could result in a creativity-passion takeover changing my ‘suppose to be short&sweet’  post into a Chanel-bible.

Though I did not know Chanel on a personal base, obviously not, but damn, wouldn’t that just have been one splendid party. I mean, just imagine:

walking side-by-side,

a good cup of take-away Vida in your right hand

and a freshly printed Vogue under your left arm,

listening to the wisdom flowing  from her lips.

and chatting and babbling on about the infinite possibilities of wearable art, known as fashion.

 

I could go on forever raging about her, how she conquered her circumstances, battled for survival and so on., but to see her legendary footsteps inked all over the fashion world brings me the greatest joy. Not only has she rearranged the meaning of style but also left us with an inspiring legacy for  women to work hard, to strive and succeed. In all awe I look up this woman and I thank her for helping me to be what I am, to be the extraordinary, do the unexpected, go the extra mile and achieve the impossible.

The one&only Mademoiselle Gabrielle Chanel

“Luxury must be comfortable, otherwise it is not luxury” our dearest Chanel once said. Thanks to her initiative and wild passion for world of elegance, style and trueness, Chanel created unique ways to make fashion more comfortable and applicable for woman. An essential uniqueness of her was that she carried a spirit of independence, a style that molded the ultimate class with comfort. Need I state it out aloud, but were it not for her, we woman would have to function in uncomfortable dresses and exaggerated skirts squeezing out every last drop of life from our stiff bodies. Not being able to enjoy a cup of coffee in my favorite pair of pants with a matching stilettos, I don’t think so.

 

In a nutshell, Coco is a true inspiration to every woman striving to break free. From learning how to sew in an orphanage to a world-famous fashion icon, Coco accepted the challenge to finally become what she has always dreamt of. Coco Gabrielle Chanel will forever remain to be the original queen of the fashion industry…

 

Thank you Chanel, thank you.

to Coco

À la vôtre! xo

 


 

 

 

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