"Taste cannot be taught, but can be acquired. You must be born with the good taste of wishing to acquire good taste."
Hardy Amies, London fashion designer and royal dressmaker – 1954
This week's book is a quotationary!
Alphabetically ordered, hundreds of witty, audacious and sometimes shocking statements that date from post 1850, which define fashion as it relates to women.
"The emphasis is upon historical quotes, which provide intriguing glimpses into how women lived in the past, but also act as a comparison so we can evaluate contemporary circumstances."
The author, Amy de la Haye, is a curator, dress historian and professor at London College of Fashion. The read is a very pleasant, light and entertaining one. A charming compendium, 'accessorized' marvelously with illustrations, signed by Emma Farrarons.
NITA SAO fascinator, available at House Of NITA SAO and on www.nitasao.com.
Until you discover yours, here a couple of my favorite quotations:
Accessories: "They are the signatures of your special tastes, clues to the type of woman you like being. Each is an idea in itself and you will quickly learn that you can't wear too many ideas at the same time."
Claire McCardell, New York fashion designer – 1958
Crinoline: "It symbolized in concrete form that woman was beginning to occupy larger spaces in the social world."
C. Willett Cunnington, fashion collector and historian – 1948
Gloves: " In town you cannot be dressed without gloves anymore than you can be dressed without a hat."
Hats: "A hat can make you gay, serious, dignified, happy – or sometimes ugly, if you don't chose it well! A hat is the quintessence of femininity with all the frivolity this world contains! Women would be silly not to take advantage of such an efficient weapon of coquetry."
"You shouldn't ask, "Why do you wear a hat?". What you really should be asking is "Why are you not?". I can't imagine leaving the house without a hat. How can a look be complete without a hat? From a cap to a full-on fascinator, the hat is the accent, the exclamation mark, the finishing note that punctuates the whole look."
Vintage jewelry, available at House Of NITA SAO.
Individuality: "Why not be oneself? This is the whole secret of a successful appearance. If one is a greyhound, why try to look like a Pekinese?" Dame Edith Sitwell, poet, writer and critic, 1887 – 1964
Models/Mannequins: "Slowly the idea of a mannequin parade, which would be as entertaining to watch as a play, took shape in my mind. I would have glorious, goddess-like girls, who would walk to and fro dressed in my models, displaying them to the best advantages and to an admiring audience of women...not one of them weighed much under eleven stone, and several of them were considerably more. They were "big girls" with "fine figures", a compliment then, though it has become the reverse now."
Lady Duff Gordon, London designer – 1932
Trousers: "We consider this article of dress unnecessary, and in many ways detrimental to health and morals."
The Lancet – 1879
"Legs have emerged after centuries of shrouding and adult woman at last frankly admit herself to be a biped."
J.C.Flugel, social psychologist – 1930
Wearability: "It's funny how certain words go in and out of vogue. In the sixties, the dirtiest word in fashion was wearable. Nobody wanted to be known for wearable clothes, although I was."
Bill Blass, New York fashion designer – 2002
Hope you enjoyed them as much as I did! See you next week!