Monday, September 22, 2008

The elusive air

This past weekend Le Duc and I dropped by a rooftop bar to enjoy a charcuterie platter. The doors burst open to admit some kind of fashion industry party, kissing and chatting and smoking.

I spotted a well-known TV and print journalist, and pointed her out to Le Duc: "the one over there, in the gray and black dress."

"Which one?" he wondered, which was a fair question, since all the women were thin, with long, straight hair, in similar short cocktail dresses.

"What do you think?" I asked.


"Jane Birkin", he said, reprovingly. "Jane Birkin."

By which he meant, he wished any one of these women had a Jane Birkin sensibility, instead of lank, blown out hair, tiny dresses that revealed strenuous interventions, a boatload of Botox, and an overall palpable attitude of effort.

It could be the difference between Toronto and Paris- and insecurity breeds conformity- but I doubt that's the sole reason.

There were several women in that bar (not one of them in that party) with an attitude of
bien dans sa peau that Birkin has. Why did they have it, but not the women in the industry that spends its waking hours telling us how to look? My guess is that after years of grueling work, they absorb so many visual 'ideas' that they lose the sense of restraint.

He later remarked that the name of the perfume that Lyn Miller of Miller Harris created for Birkin, "L'air du Rien" means "looks like nothing", or more accurately, "looks like nothing but in fact may be quite the opposite."

Isn't that just it!

6 comments:

Deja Pseu said...

I suspect that you're correct, when one is so immersed in fashion images, one can forget that they're just images and not blueprints.

Here in LA there's a version of the overdone look I call Trophy Wife: long bleach blonde hair, very skinny, fake boobs, fake tan, botoxed and (often) collagen-lipped, dressed in the tightest, skimpiest outfits imaginable. Unless you're at an industry soirée, you don't see flocks of them, and when it's an isolated sighting, they stick out like a sore thumb.

Toby Wollin said...

I always feel very sorry for people like this - because it is obvious that to them, they are gripped with the fear that they won't/can't meet 'the standard' and will be rejected or lose their jobs or whatever. For these people, I imagine that looking in the mirror every morning is a very depressing experience.

La Belette Rouge said...

This post epitomizes what I love about Paris style. I love the seeming effortlessness of it. I love hair that looks like it was thrown up in a casual chignon. I love an ensemble that looks like it was not all purchases in one season and that their are pieces rich with provenance. There is a perfect imperfection to Parisian style.

I have seen the women you and Deja describe and though everything appears to be perfect it all looks terribly wrong, at least to my eye.

Anjela said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anjela said...

I live over a spa where th(r)ongs appear every half hour on Fridays for Botox, Laser, Derma fillers and vaginal restoration treatments. "He'll think you are 25" the ad proclaims. "Yeah right, in the pitch black and with a bottle of Glenfiddich under his belt" (my translation) I met a 92 year old woman the other day who had a beautiful Harris Tweed suit and drives her car and who is self sufficient. She looks like Miss Marples. Wrinkles abounding. Beautiful. How refreshing to think of style- of a natural state of being. I guess none of the essence of whom we are or of style can be bought... or copied- it is part of one's DNA.
Thanks for that thought provoking posting Duchesse!

cybill said...

Those sorts of women just make me very very sad I think they suffer from low self-esteem. Deja Psue's very funny first paragraph said it all. They try so damn hard to look good and simply don't.