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Beauty

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4 X POWER WOMEN

Vivienne Westwood (74)

Dame Vivienne Westwood has enjoyed huge popularity for decades. Her designs are celebrated and worn by both faithful fans and a younger generation of admirers who are drawn to her always surprising, contrarian style. Today Westwood is as much of a punk as in her heyday in the 1970s, when she ran her London shop Sex and dressed the legendary punk band The Sex Pistols together with her then lover and business partner, the music producer Malcolm McLaren. Those times, and the do-it-yourself attitude that prevailed on the punk scene, set the tone for Westwood’s later successes and personal taste. No matter how beautiful a dress is, Westwood always adds a frayed edge or other offbeat detail, from a few randomly placed safety pins or a clumsily tied tie as an accessory. A typical Westwood outfit might be men’s striped satin pyjama bottoms teamed with pirate boots, a brocade jacket, a fishnet shirt and a studded belt plus a feather hat. Or something in taffeta, Harris tweed and tartan. It’s Westwood’s militancy that really appeals to her clients. She does not refrain from publicly expressing her rage at consumerism – My motto is buy less, choose well, make it last” – and our destructive treatment of our planet. Her lesson in style: “First you have to know who you are—or want to be. Then you have to use your clothes to tell your personal story. And be confident. I’ve never worried about what other people think of me. You have to cut a figure.

 

 

Tilda Swinton (54)

Reed-slim and one of the most striking faces on the big screen, while Tilda Swinton has been acting for over thirty years it is only recently that she has really risen to stardom. Perhaps you first saw her in Vanilla Sky (2001), or more recently in the controversial We Need to Talk about Kevin (2011) or the brilliant vampire drama Only Lovers Left Alive (2013). Or you may know her through the fashion scene, which is enchanted by her cool David Bowie-like appearance, her usually cosmetic-free face that seems to come from another planet. Swinton maintains a nonchalant air in the face of all this admiration and despite lucrative contracts with various designers remains her own androgynous, aloof person. Swinton is an unconventional actor who has chosen a life in the Scottish highlands over a Hollywood lifestyle of red carpets and parties and at one time earned a living gambling on horses. Her style is the paradigm of minimalist beauty, of how masculine clothes can look feminine and how every shade of grey can be exciting. Her favourite pieces consists of “six pairs of wellies, various sweaters and general Lebanese menswear. How to look a bit Tilda? “Super easy, just remove your mascara. Done!

 

 

Iris Apfel (93)

While the name Iris Apfel may not ring any bells, it’s unlikely that you don’t know this dynamic woman. The ‘geriatric starlet’ with the huge round glasses is a flamboyant personality with an unmistakeable style. Apfel, businesswoman, interior designer, jewellery designer and fashion icon, married Carl Apfel in 1948 and two years later, the pair started a textile design company, Old World Weavers, whose contracts included providing the White House with new curtains. Apfel became known to the general public in 2005 when the Costume Institute in New York wanted to exhibit some of her jewellery pieces with strange ornaments, such as her necklace of found plastic objects, including a toy calculator, figurines and chewing gum wrappers. “Fashion is like a box of Lego to Iris,” says her friend the designer Duro Olowu. An apt metaphor since Apfel composes eclectic outfits using colourful building blocks. These may be cheap finds – “Sometimes something is so cheap that I don’t bother to try it on. Then I think: if they don’t fit, I’ll turn them into pillows” – or more expensive designer pieces, such as the red leather Ungaro trouser with studs or a thigh-high fuchsia satin Yves Saint Laurent boot. The golden rule is always “a piece has to talk” and “you have to follow your instincts, not buy something because it happens to be in fashion”. And according to the Apfel adage, you should combine all your fabulous finds in one over the top outfit together with “very, very, very bright red lipstick” and those gigantic glasses. “I’m no minimalist, as I’m sure you’ve noticed.”

 

 

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