Image from newsweek.com
I love people who dress with a strong, consistent aesthetic. Not just those who have signature pieces, but whose whole manner of dress has been the same for decades. There is something slightly strange and extravagant about people who have adorned themselves in the same garments for decades – something that alludes to both affluence and oddity. Like Mrs. Havisham in Great Expectations, who wore her yellowing wedding dress into old age.
One of these people is Diane Pernet, who I had never heard of until I read this article, to which I was directed by Miss Nubby Twiglet. And while the contents of the article itself are interesting, I was particularly struck with the beautiful and slightly macabre figure of Pernet. According to the article, she draws her “minimal baroque” aesthetic from “young widows who featured in Italian neo-realist cinema”. This aesthetic seems to consist of black cat-eye sunglasses, a tall hive of glossy black hair, a black scarf or mantilla (you may be starting to think I’m a little bit obsessed with mantillas – and you’d be right!) and layers of dark and sometimes sculptural pieces. In the above photograph she’s carrying a fan – which made just me completely fall for her. I love carrying a fan in the muggy depths of summer. (When I was in Kyoto, I loved the fact that a fan and a parasol immediately became my wardrobe staples – much more elegant than a giant hat and a newspaper!!)
While I’m definitely not refined or august enough for this kind of aesthetic, I like the idea of slicing it with my own, by doing some of the following:
• Wearing a black silk scarf tied around my head, with my fringe (that’s bangs!) in a pomp and tucked underneath the scarf.
• Wear black lace tights and big black platform heels, as well as huge, heavy cocktail rings with a pastel 1950’s dress with a long ballerina skirt.
• Wear cat-eye sunglasses, with an entirely black-and-ivory outfit.
• Wear a lot of shiny black: Black patent boots and wide belt, black acrylic cuffs, black lamé leggings – with a soft chiffon 60’s dress.
If you want more, this is a fantastic interview. You can also read Pernet’s blog, A Shaded View.