Thursday, November 11, 2010

Elements of Style

Meet me new style icon, Yvonne Force Villareal

A few weeks ago, I was sent a reviewer's copy of The ELLEments of Personal Style, by ELLE Magazine editors Joe Zee and Maggie Bullock. I've been a subscriber to ELLE Magazine for many years, which is hands down my favorite mainstream fashion magazine, primarily because it matches its glorious editorials with witty, snappy prose, and genuinely compelling stories which may or may not have to do with fashion. While I wouldn't say that the written content of the book matches the magazine's high standards, that's hardly the point of the book.

The ELLEments of Personal Style features 25 style profiles of famous women of all ages, many of whom have been featured on the pages of ELLE. I read the book cover to cover (which went pretty quickly, since it's 90% photographs), with varying levels of interest throughout. ELLE is an American magazine through and through, and the book democratically features women with a wide range of styles and tastes, from classic and clean-cut, to avant-garde and boundary-pushing. I respect the attempt to please everyone at once, but at the same time feel that some of these women weren't compelling enough style-wise to warrant a multi-page profile (although you'll notice that the less interesting subjects do get considerably fewer pages than the more iconic ladies featured).

Nonetheless, the book is worth picking up for the collection of mega-watt stars and style icons it does feature, including an intimate peek into their homes, and more importantly, their closets. Dita Von Teese's incredible collection of vintage and meticulous eye for sartorial detail, not to mention her fascinating story of Hollywood image creation, might be worth the cost of the book alone. Both Charlottes (Gainsbourg and Rampling) exude a classic French elegance, and their timeless chic and effortless style are mesmerizing. My favorite subject was art world doyenne Yvonne Force Villareal, who might not be quite as famous as some of the other ladies featured, but represents daring, irreverent style, which I personally find most inspiring. If I could raid one closet (and one apartment too), it would be hers. Here are couple of my favorite spreads from the book for your voyeuristic pleasure.

Angelica Huston in her perfectly cluttered home

Charlotte Gainsbourg in her living room

Dita Von Teese's vintage treasure trove, as well as some adorable childhood photos that demonstrate her transformation from being a blond girl named Heather Sweet

Charlotte Rampling's style evolution over the years

Margherita Missoni in her Missoni covered home

Singer and rapper Estelle in dresses by her favorite designer, Bernard Chandran


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joy said...

bea-utiful collection of spaces and people. Angelica Huston is a favorite of mine.


escapistmusings said...

hello :)
I just wanted to say that I will use a picture from this post if you don’t mind, I am writing a post about some fashion books and I will name your site as the source.

cool blog you have there ;)