Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Elegance and Beauty

Materialistic is not a word that I would use to describe myself, but I love collecting and surrounding myself with beauty and I love to collect books. This blog has given me reason to record and share things that I find to be beautiful. With illness in the family, I have missed the opportunity to photograph all of Autumn's glory so will instead share a picture of one of the columbines that I planted this summer. Despite feeling sick, yesterday I ventured out to bring a friend a birthday gift: the book DV by Diana Vreeland. Books can be risky gifts but sometimes you know when it suits the person to a tee. My friend is as close as any person I know to possessing the legendary dramatic style that was Mrs. Vreeland. Of course, when I gave her the book I started to think of other books that I have about beauty and style icons and guides to achieving beauty and elegance in life. One of those books is one that I have read but do not possess: A Guide to Elegance -For Every Woman Who Wants to Be Well and Properly Dressed on All Occasions by Genevieve Antoine Dariaux. Mme Dariaux, who was the directrice at Nina Ricci, made a substantial impact on me when I read my Mum's copy as a teen and led me to be more inclined to look to some of old Hollywood's stars more than my contemporaries for inspiration. The book also inspired some rather fun fiction that I read in the past year also called Elegance
An early influence for me, as well as legions of others, was Audrey Hepburn and one of my favourite books on her is Audrey Hepburn, An Elegant Spirit written with love by her son. I enjoy its insight into her humanity that shines so beautifully in her films and her work with UNICEF. My admiration for her led me to What Would Audrey Do? which I found to be full of useful ways to add elegance and grace to daily life.
Recently, I was able to find a lovely book about another public figure who embodied elegance and beauty: Grace Kelly - A Life in Pictures. I was thrilled to find this book at a second hand book store and makes me eager to review all of her fabulous film roles -good for a quiet Fall evening in! I was reminded of Grace Kelly when I found this vintage train case at the thrift store. It is in beautiful condition made in England by Morton of London. Unfortunately my Internet sleuthing has not given me information about the company. The train case is smaller than others that I have seen but that makes it a possible to use as a handbag. What can be held in the train case suggests what is found in Caroline Cox's How to Be Adored - A Girl's Guide to Hollywood Glamour. A small delicious tome, it includes information on charm, etiquette and personality tips as well as creating a glamorous image. All of the books mentioned require us to concentrate on our personalities to find elegance and style like these beautiful icons of the past. If these women can inspire us to greater humanity, beauty will be found.

1 comment:

gardener-b said...

Great post on elegant ladies of the past. Love the train case, reminds me of a more relaxed and elegant way of travel in the 50s and 60s. Mme. Dariaux's book was my style bible in the mid 60s. I find it still has relevance.