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“High Fashion” and Happiness

June 9, 2021

“Haute Couture” is enjoyed by the few who are very wealthy or influenced by couture. As a person from a working class family, what we wore had to be clean and appropriate for the occasion. At funerals a dark suit was expected.

Consequently, I wasn’t aware of the demands of “society” until 1969 when I visited Nieman Marcus in Dallas, Texas and noticed that the clothing that was for sale in Dallas was identical to what was on sale at Harrods in London.

Those items of clothing were above my class. I was outfitted at Sears and later at Bloomingdales. I didn’t make the annual trek to Paris or London to fill out my collection. I was a Republican and came to know some very wealthy people, but we shared similar ideas, not taste in clothing.

This past weekend I looked through the Wall Street Journal weekend “Magazine” and saw advertisements for jewelry by Van Cleef & Arpels nicely displayed under a branch containing eight to ten Elderberries, an advertisement for Louis Vuitton, a blouse by Hermes, a dress and handbag by Gucci and a dress by Chanel, a watch by Breguets Depuis 1775 (18 years before the execution of Marie Antoinette), another watch by Harry Winston and yet another by Omega. It wasn’t until page 21 (Tiffany) was the face of a fashion model the main focus, and on page 27 another (Grafff).

I didn’t see signs of joy or happiness in the eyes of these fashion models. The Tiffany model seemed acquisitive and the Graff model could have reported a rape. Their clothing and jewelry was expensive, however, but literally shouted “Money can’t bring you happiness.”

Still “if you’ve got it, flaunt it,” which may explain why Cecil Beaton wore women’s dresses.

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