Walking around my West Village neighborhood recently on an autumnal Sunday afternoon I played a little game of "who is not wearing jeans?" and out of the approx. twenty people observed, was somewhat dismayed to realize that I could count only two and that one of those was in sweat pants. We all look so samey now, we might as well be wearing Mao suits. Not that I am against the idea of having a fashion uniform, certain individuals have made a name for themselves with a signature style that screams their name, and I applaud them for it. Here are a few of my favorites.
Dame Edith Sitwell 1887-1964
Signature Style: Ornate "dressing gown", turban, rings
Edith Louisa Sitwell was born in 1887 to an aristocratic family and began writing poetry when she was about twenty. She complemented her marvelously Plantagenet looks with a combination of Pre-Raphaelite, Oriental, and Surrealist styles to create a specific look that included turbans, dressing-gowns and lashings of rings and other exotic jewelry.
by Terry Fincher
Poetry Reading, 1928
Garden Party, Time Magazine 1953
"Portrait of Edith Sitwell" by Wyndham Lewis
by Cecil Beaton
Signature Style: Head-to-toe black, bee-hive, mantilla, cat-eye glasses
Fashion icon Diane Pernet was a designer in New York for 13 years before moving to Paris in 1990 to be a journalist. Pernet is best known for her cult-status blog, A Shaded View on Fashion and for her signature mantilla-and-dark-glasses look for which the blog is named.
Diane in 2008
By Miguel Villalobos
Signature Style: Novelty hat, cane, fingerless gloves, blue marcel waved hair.
The Italian fashion writer, Anna Piaggi, has a vast collection of clothes and accessories including almost 3,000 dresses, around 300 pairs of shoes, many designed by Manolo Blahnik, plus innumerable Stephen Jones' hats. She is said never to wear the same outfit twice. In 2004 Tamsin Blanchard interviewed her for UK newspaper, The Observer for a piece entitled, Rebel de Jour
With Karl Lagerfeld in the 70s
Signature Style: Red bowl-cut bob, china doll face, petticoats underneath dresses
Lynn Yaegar is a fashion writer who was famously let-go from The Village Voice after working for them for 30 years. These days she contributes to Vogue, The New York Times T Magazine and eBay's The Inside Source amongst others.
Cool article about Lynn by Meredith Barnett in Huffington Post this past March.
Signature Style: Alexander McQueen couture, Philip Treacy hats
By the time she died in 2007 at the age of 48, Isabella Blow had become a legendary figure in the British fashion world. She had an infallible knack of not only sensing great talent but also the ability to effectively nurture it to fruition. Her protégés included Philip Treacy, Alexander McQueen, Sophie Dahl, Stella Tennant and Hussein Chalayan
Three recent biographies have been written.