Two weeks ago, a couple of friends and I attended the Vogue Festival on London’s South Bank for a talk on “Personal Style – Do you have it?”; a discussion roundtable with Alexa Chung, Lucinda Chambers (Vogue Fashion Director) and Amanda Harlech, Model and Muse of Karl Lagerfeld exploring this sometimes hard to define subject.
During the talk, nothing new, groundbreaking or controversial was discussed. Lucinda Chambers led the discussion for the most part, Amanda Harlech only chipping in now and then, and Alexa Chung, the real crowd puller, being too cool for school. She seemed bored at the event, as if she rather wanted to be with her cool East London friends.
They seemed to reach consensus that style is not fashion, hence it’s timeless. You can be stylish at 110 years old, whereas it’s more difficult for an older woman to be fashionable. Style is not something one is born with, but something that evolves, just like your personality. I liked their point about how confidence, grace and the way we hold ourselves, contributes to style.
Alexa explained that she uses style as an armour. When scared of an interview, she will wear sky high heels, making her taller and in return, she will feel less intimidated. Her favourite style items are passed on from her mother: navy blue jumper, black skinny jeans and moccasins. If she could pick one brand she couldn’t live without, it would have to be TopShop.
Lucinda, ever the British, quirky fashion director, praised the UK high-street stores, which make it possible to dress fashionably on a small budget. Her favourite shopping haunt is the Portobello flea market.
While it’s great that leading fashion ladies (Lucinda and Alexa) promote the High Street, flea markets, and charity shops, I question their authenticity. Alexa is mostly dressed in high-end couture, and so is Lucinda. It’s like promoting going grocery shopping at Lidl, whilst only shopping at Whole Foods! On the contrary, Amanda Harlech took a more honest appraoch. She loves Chanel couture for the simple reason that it’s so classic and timeless that 15 year old pieces still look relevant today.
The most interesting and controversial contributions of the day came in the shape of questions from the audience:
Question: Why is Kim Kardashian on the cover of Vogue?
Lucinda: Kim has a large following and is relevant in today’s society. Vogue does not put constraints or rules on how a person has to be to fit on a cover.
If you have to pick one item of clothing you can’t live with, what would it be?
Alexa: Navy blue jumper
Amanda: Long black lace dress
The lovely ladies from London’s Merchant 24 shop, which sells pre-loved desigener pieces, wore Zara snake print trousers and Zara leather jacket, Missoni coat and Chloe bag.