Bilkish Vahed

Rebellion & Romance

Tag: classic

Black Suit Elegance

YVES SAINT LAURENT – LE SMOKING

In August 1966, Yves Saint Laurent introduced a classic black evening suit – the tuxedo for women – marking a revolutionary moment in fashion history. Despite the changes that feminism of the 60’s had wrought for women, wearing pants in public was still frowned upon, but this was to change, and did.

Helmut-Newton-YSL-le-Smoking

The original Yves Saint-Laurent Le Smoking Tuxedo for women, photographed (above and below) by Helmut Newton for French Vogue, Rue Aubriot, Paris, 1975

The real appeal and iconic status of le smoking lies in the attitude and stance that a women wearing it seems to exude – confidence and a sense of her own power. Fifty years later, the tuxedo suit for women is still found in the collections of Saint Laurent Paris  as well as other designers – a testament to its embodiment of perennial chic.

“For a woman, le smoking is an indispensable garment with which she finds herself continually in fashion, because it is about style, not fashion. Fashions come and go, but style is forever.”

— Yves Saint Laurent

The Riding Boot

EQUESTRIAN STYLE – SLEEK & TALL

Sleek, shiny, soft leather that hugs the length of the leg imbuing the wearer with  a beautifully proportioned longer silhouette. Classic with edge.

Vintage Riding Boot

Vintage Equestrian Style – photographer unknown

Film - Belle du Seigneur - Ariane and Solal in stylish equestrian clothing

Film ‘Belle du Seigneur’

Red Lipstick & me

Though she’s never out and out said anything, I read it in her eyes, I hear it in her unspoken words – her disapproval. My mother is not fond of my penchant for red lipstick, nudge nudge!

It’s not a deep irritation, just a superficial difference of aesthetics, I suppose. If I asked her head on, I can just hear her sharp retort: Where did I dream up the insane idea, she would probably say, fiery light in her eyes, she has no opinion on the matter.

Weird though, in the confines of my mind, there’s a memory. Did she once let slip, or did I dream it? Said very red lipstick made one look like a woman of the night, shady behaviour and all that? I think she did, or something close enough. Then never again, said nothing more about this topic!

Funny how perspectives change from one generation to the next, and how standing up for our individual choices requires some spirit, some resistance, some standing our ground, even when it’s about the harmless subject of red lipstick. Smile smile.

The Leather Jacket

EVOKING THE UNFETTERED OPEN ROAD

There’s nothing quite like soft buttery leather, cut to beautiful proportion, sleekly hugging the body. Nothing like the feeling of soigné power drenching the self. Nothing like the feeling of adventure, open roads, pulsing possibilities.

All of this swimming in an exquisitely crafted leather jacket!

The endless open road

Bradley Cooper wearing a leather jacket in watch ad for IWC Schaffhausen.
Bradley Cooper, for IWC Schaffhausen watches, “The Road Less Traveled”
Andreea Deaconu wearing Belstaff leather jacket.
Andreea Deaconu, for Belstaff, photographed by Peter Lindbergh

A Badge of Individuality

THE TRENCH COAT

No one looks the same in a trench coat. Each person gets to stamp their own signature on the look, whilst borrowing its crisp, classic form. Originally a military uniform worn by army officers, designed with details to aid soldiers through the travails of wind, rain and the conditions of trench warfare, the trench coat found its way into the realms of high style, and persists today as a garment of elegance and functionality for both men and women.

“The Trench Coat was once a uniform, now it is a badge of Individuality.”
Aquascutum

Audrey Hepburn and Hubert de Givenchy, Paris, 1982, photographed by Jacques Scandelar.

Audrey Hepburn and Hubert de Givenchy, Paris, 1982, photographed by Jacques Scandelar.

“Each feature on a trench coat has been specifically designed for a reason. The epaulettes were added to display the rank of the officers while the storm shield, found on the upper back, enabled water to run off the coat and keep the wearer dry. A pleat was also featured on the back which allowed for ease of movement when running or on horseback.”
— Style History: The Burberry Trench Coat

The drive to develop fabrics for the manufacture of outerwear that protected one against the elements, began in the 1800’s.   Linda Rodriguez McRobbie  writing in the Smithsonian explains that as early as 1823, Scotsman Charles Macintosh invented a “rubberized cotton” and made outer garments called “macks,” that were worn by the military and civilians.

In 1853, British clothier John Emary, developed a better fabric, still weatherproof but more breathable, and appropriately renamed his company Aquascutum: “aqua” meaning “water” and “scutum” meaning “shield” in Latin.

It was in 1879, that Thomas Burberry, English gentlemen’s outfitter, invented “gabardine,” a “weatherproofed twill” that began the design development of the iconic Burberry trench coat. As a 2016 festive offering Burberry released a glamorous short film, directed by Academy Award-winning filmmaker Asif Kapadia that tells The Tale of Thomas Burberry.  

Kate Moss for Burberry, 1999

Kate Moss for Burberry, 1999

“Embodying a certain cool, effortless, sexy feel with hints of masculinity…. A piece that will never date and a piece that will epitomise chic elegance no matter how you choose to wear it. Simply put, it is a classic to suit every woman.”

— Vogue (Australia)

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