Fashion: Facts and My Fiction

 

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A few days ago, one of my “fashion fantasies” became a reality.  Fashion designer and Japan Vogue editor, Anna Dello Russo acknowledged my post on her Facebook page. Ok, she didn’t make real personal contact but she did reply with a “Thank you!” to my comment of “Fabulous!”  I count this moment as a personal fashion “coup” since I am obsessed with this fashion world icon. In my fantasy, we are family, since we share the same last name, “Dello Russo”, and I purport a family resemblance in every photo I see of her in her many poses on the streets of Milan, Paris, and whereever in the world she surfaces. She expounds a collection of fashion beliefs and tenets and I am a believer. She is everything that I would have hoped to attain if I had pursued a life in fashion. Sadly, I didn’t realize that I could even try until it was too late…or is it?

I also have rules when it comes to fashion. I thought they were mine alone and, if I shared them, I would sound a little bananas. For example, I avoid being photographed in the same outfit twice. I plan my packing for vacations around this rule, often hogtying myself to dig deep into my archives or run off to the store to beef up my already extensive wardrobe. Apparently, I share this belief with “Anna” (I feel like we are now on first name terms). She has a list of fashion rules – #7 “You must wear outfit only once.”  (She has an endearing command of spoken English that is enchanting!) She also believes that photography is the death knell for any ensemble. I guess I’m not so original after all!

Anna warns against wearing two different shades of black (who knew?) because light plays on fabrics differently, advises you to revel in the moment when someone is wearing the same outfit as you are (because it’s fashion – you got it right), and encourages excessive accessorizing (it’s sexy!).  Accessories make your look personal and “will turn an ordinary day into a sensational fashion week day.” God, I love this woman!

Anna is fearless and exuberant, owning with her every strut and pose even the most extra-ordinary and unconventional outfits. She is the epitome of the idea of runway fashion, except she takes it to the street. Gutsy and glitzy, she glams it up to a degree that is exclusively Anna. Oh, to be so bold!

Of course, Anna Dello Russo is an ideal, a caricature of style and design, not translatable in the day to day of the average person.  For this reason, I seek other perspectives and approaches to style.  As I visited the Georgia O’Keeffe exhibit at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem this afternoon, I was struck by her attention to simplicity that evolved into a style. When assembling her wardrobe, Georgia would purchase a particular frock in numerous colors or a suit from a particular tailor in a few slightly different styles.  For many years, Georgia would wear only black and white, not changing her palette until her New Mexico phase.  What would Anna say about that? Interestingly, as the museum patrons hovered around Georgia O’Keeffe’s paintings, I instead studied the clothing on display, examining each garment working to glean insight into the artist’s mind.

So tomorrow, I will dress for work with an approach somewhere between that of Anna and Georgia. This is not Milan (sadly) but I will aspire to be as bold and outrageous as Anna and, as a nod to Georgia, I will admit to owning a few of the same styles in different colors. In any case, my fashion fantasy is all mine – with a few fabulous influences

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