The Art of Style
In a world where revenue from fashion apparel outsizes the GDP of most major economies, consumerism and industry pressures may appear, superficially, to drive the changing trends in fashion. Trendsetters establish the standard for the next season, and we scramble to keep up with the latest “thing”. If you have the disposable income then you too can be a part of the crowd, following looks on the catwalk that make their way to high street stores. In an oblique sense, being fashionable is easy. Great designers and dressers, the heroines and legends of the fashion ethos, these women used style, not fashion, to transcend the mode of their time to become true artists. True artistry lies in having style. Allow us to explain:
Style is timeless. Style is in the details. It’s in the seams of a tailored suit, the finishing touches on a shoe, or even the materials used to create the perfect compact mirror. There was a time when clothing and accessories were made to last, to be cherished, and perhaps even be passed on down family lines. Charles Mallory prides their self on living up to those erstwhile ideals, in living our brand and build values, in focusing on and drawing inspiration from history’s most stylish humans. We look back on those visionaries and creative icons: men and women who were not just before their time, but outside of and beyond them, unwilling to compromise their aesthetic to match ‘fashion’ of the day.
Katherine Hepburn, Sade, Frida Kahlo, the Olsen Twins, Jane Birkin, Zoe Kravitz; women from all places and times who mastered the science of expressing themselves with a look. Vanguards in the art of dressing who knew and know themselves, and if you chanced to see them walking down the street you would know a part of them too. They tell a story knowing that every garment matters, every bangle on their arm is there for a reason. When they step into the world they do so with ineffable but undeniably powerful intentionality.
Consider Hepburn in her blazers and trousers: feminine style upending and re-contextualizing traditional, masculine ‘fashion’. Consider the simplicity of Sade’s trademark look: large hoop earrings and a white button down shirt. These women weren’t interested in trends. These women lived out the ancient wisdom “Know Thyself”. These women, as all artists do, saw things differently, and seeing, they shared that vision with the world. The real artistry of these legendary ladies lies in the unique and unmistakable styles they forged. Fashion was merely their preferred medium.
Like music writing or stagecraft, style is a form of communication. It’s a means of understanding the sensibilities of others, and it serves ever as a demonstration of just how diverse we are when it comes to preference and perception. We all have walked past someone who totally at ease, fully inhabits an ensemble that they wrested into reality from a feeling- a vision. That kind of artistry takes time and experimentation. Sometimes there will be mishaps but that is the joy of it, finding out what works and doesn’t for you is the only path to building, eventually, your own style.
We are interested in the romanticism behind the craftsmanship and the imagination that inspires creations both beautiful and functional. These are the values that go into everything we do at Charles Mallory.
Authored by Vanessa Dos Santos (@mozwrites) in collaboration with William J.C. Parry (@charlesmallorylondon).