Style

And now the LVMH young designer prize finalists are out! It’s been a big week for prize announcements, what with the CFDA and now this. In fact, it’s kind of instructive to look at the two together, because it underscores how global fashion has become – and the problems that arise when you try to think of it in the national context. Think how much more fun it would be if everyone could be considered for “womenswear designer of the year” or “accessory designer of the year.” Now that would be really interesting!

Nominations please. 

Anya Hindmarch is going to be late. I know this because her office emailed me twice on the day of our dinner to alert me to the probability; she is coming from a meeting with Bergdorf Goodman on 57th Street and we are eating downtown and, well … traffic.

There’s one 21st century anxiety that informs the way most women dress – from chief executives to red carpet starlets – and that’s a horror of overdoing it. We’ll be sure to find out whether other guests really will wear black/white tie/cocktail dress before dusting off that full-length sequined number for a party. At Sam Cam’s reception at Downing Street during London Fashion Week in February the dress code stipulated – bizarrely- “suits” and there was much investigative journalism done on the part of the British fashion press to see just how much effort was required.
This isn’t something I can imagine the late style icon ( yes it’s an overused term but she earned it) Elizabeth Taylor ever did. I can’t exactly visualise the young screen goddess, confident in her wide-eyed, hourglass beauty, calling ahead before a party to check that one of her monster pieces of bling – such as the yellow heart-shaped Taj Mahal necklace or 33 carat Krupp diamond ring, both given to her by Richard Burton – would be a bit over the top for a small supper. It’s been said that Taylor’s death marks the end of an era for Hollywood and it can also be seen as the official end of an era in fashion, although really the era of no-holds-barred, maximal glamour has been gone for some time. Now, the epitome of chic is an outfit that’s sophisticated but pared down, balanced, slightly restrained: think Tilda Swinton in a couture-inspired, full-length silk skirt by Jil Sander combined with a white shirt. If there was a constant in Taylor’s wardrobe over the years it was maximalism. Big tan, big jewels, big eyebrows, big hair, big…curves. Well, she did once say “ big girls need big diamonds”.