If you have not already done so, you may wish to read the
Introduction to Gnomica.
Sunday 19 August 2012
Read gnomica 1-100 here!
“A girl should be two things: classy and fabulous.”
Coco Chanel (19 Aug 1883 – 10 Jan 1971)
You mean ‘woman’, don’t you?
It is perhaps more than likely that 21st century feminist thinking objects to this kind of statement, made though it was by a beautiful woman who was surely one of the greatest modern fashion designers and who, on the solid evidence of her own solid career, was a successful career woman long before women were supposed to have careers successful or otherwise — and long before modern feminism.
But do note that while she affirmatively urges that women should be classy and fabulous, she nowhere deems these two qualities to be mutually exclusive of brains and competence. That is, just because a car should be fast and comfortable and a man, polite and shaved, the implicational universal is certainly not that the one can not also be tall and well-dressed and the other a convertible with eight cylinders.
And what is a girl who is ‘classy and fabulous’? Well, not by any means to intimate invidious comparisons, but I kind of go with Supreme Court justice Potter Stewart on pornography (1964): I may not be able precisely to articulate it in words but I know it when I see it. And I, ever since childhood entranced by woman’s beauty, definitely know a ‘classy and fabulous’ woman when I see her, and, should it be possible, would certainly like to know if she is as ‘classy and fabulous’ on the inside as the exterior would predispose one to believe.
What she is not is flashy and cheap, no matter how dazzling, and those are features that I likewise know when I see them.
As a proto-fashonista, Coco Chanel surely recognized that fashions change and trends may go retro, in couture as in culture, and what counted then may not count now just as what counts now may not have counted then. Yet, whatever the currently concrete expression of fashion, fashion at its core is timeless and, truly, always recognizable as such.
A woman who is classy and fabulous will always be fabulous and classy at any age in any age.