An ode to fashion classics because investment in a foundation of timeless basics is half the job done. Once you’ve got that down, you can play with every trend without losing sight of your own style.
The British have had plenty of them: style icons. Trendsetters who have made their mark on style and held on to their authentic sense of beauty. Here’s an overview of six significant creatives.
Diana Spencer knew what she wanted: she chose the longest veil ever (7.5 metres) for her wedding to Prince Charles, ordered her engagement ring from a catalogue (unheard of) and refused to vow to obey Prince Charles during the ceremony. So it’s not difficult not to interpret Lady Diana’s taste: pink was her favourite colour, she was the first princess to wear trousers, she preferred not to wear gloves (she wanted to be able to shake people’s actual hands), she preferred not to wear hats to children’s hospitals (she couldn’t cuddle with a hat), she did like woolly jumpers and she wore beautiful coloured dresses covered in sequins by her favourite British designer, Catherine Walker.
Many distinct colours and different prints mixed together can be busy and messy, but never when it’s by David Hockney, who likes to wear coloured sweaters and ties and trousers with stripes and dots. Of course, this comes down to the way in which he, also as an artist, can look at colour. Like no other, he can put a green next to a red and it goes. His trick? Combine hard colours with pastel colours. Hockney’s art is the most expensive for a living artist today.
‘I find only freedom in the realms of eccentricity,’ said David Bowie. He has transformed more often than any other artist, mainly going for glam rock, but not always: just look at his character Thin White Duke, who was just dressed in classic black trousers and a white shirt. His other character, Ziggy Stardust, was unprecedentedly androgynous – suddenly men could wear make-up too. In the eighties, he suddenly dressed as a classic gentleman, in big suits and smart shoes, after meeting the love of this life Iman via a short rock period, finishing with a free hippie-like style.
Suddenly, she was there: Cara Delevingne with her distinctive full eyebrows. The Brows, as she was also known, was quickly compared with Kate Moss since they are both effortless, cool British models. Meanwhile, it’s easier to name the fashion houses she didn’t walk down the catwalk for than she did walk for. Her style is cool, nonchalant and tomboyish on the street, and elegant glam on the red carpet. Favourite in the cupboard: biker jackets, baseball jackets and denim jackets.
Over thirty years ago, a sixteen-year-old high school drop-out reported to the British street famous for immaculate tailoring, Savile Row. It was Lee Alexander McQueen. His cuts were soon perfect, but above all he proved to be able to tap into a huge source of dark, but extremely creative inspiration. He became known for his ‘bumsters’ (almost unwearable low trousers) and famous for his provocative collections. His dresses were grand, dramatic and exceptionally skillfully made. By contrast, he wore worn-out jeans and lumberjack shirts; a contrast he also found funny.
Dame Vivienne Westwood is actually two style icons. On the one hand, she is the designer who has never shied away from provocation. She started out with an iconic shop on Kings Road shopping street, which was constantly changing its name and became an important place for the punk movement. She also plays the role of activist and world improver, refusing to make concessions when it comes to sustainability and our nature. She is still campaigning today at the age of 77 years old: a true icon.