When I was 14, most of my friends were hanging out at the local youth centre or sitting in cafes smoking cigarettes. Not me, I was at home glued to the television watching CNN’s “Style with Elsa Klensch”. I don’t know what it was about the show but I knew from the start that I wanted to be a part of this world. Elsa Klensch had the most annoying voice (a mix of an American and Australian accent) but she was so passionate about style and fashion that you could almost see her salivating over the poor people she was interviewing. She was a very articulate person and only one person managed to mock her and that was Andre Talle Leon who made fun of her slightly pretentious pronounciation of the word artist.
“Dahling, its not arteee its ar-tist!” he said. She was quiet. For a change.
Elsa would also wear these amazing outfits by Sonia Rykiel, Chanel or Yohji Yamamoto.
Don’t forget, this was in the early 90’s (yes, I am that old) when the glamour of the Supermodel era was at its peak. I would obsess over Helena Christensen and Cindy Crawford and watch them twirl! twirl! twirl! down the runway. Bright coloured Versace dresses were on the covers of magazines and I will never forget the amazing John Galliano bias cut dresses as worn by the likes of Christy Turlington.
For me, the most talented of them all was Jean Paul Gaultier. The way he would mix classic “French” white/blue stripe tops with ethnic influences (think nomads or tribal) was mind blowing! I remember being in awe when I saw Bjork strutting down the catwalk for one of his shows. My mother never understood this world yet she took me to Paris for my 15th birthday and more importantly to the Jean Paul Gaultier boutique! There I bought my very first designer piece – a classic white/blue stripe t shirt.
While most of my friends and classmates would wear GANT or Polo Ralph Lauren (it was de rigeur in my area back in those days) I went straight in for the top end! I realised that this was going to be a classic and it would never go out of style. I was right. I am 29 years old today and I still wear the top!
Since then, I have always shopped with the idea of seeing my purchases as “investment pieces”. I don’t follow trends or fashion and I don’t buy high street (unless they are basics from H&M, like t shirts and jeans).
Coco Chanel once said: “Fashion fades, only style remains the same”.