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VA college student struggling to balance dreams of fabulosity with the realities of one's wallet. intoxicated by aesthetics, lover of simplicity, master of the last minute deadline, consistently overcaffeinated and overbooked... but wouldn't have it any other way.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Fashionable Read: Eccentric Glamour by Simon Doonan

So as a fashionably interested individual, I'm generally inclined to spend my free time pursuing activities that support my insatiable fashion appetite, which includes my choice of poolside literature. On one trip to Borders for such inspired material, I was examining the vastly understocked image/appearance section (Barne's and Noble is so much better at this) when I stumbled upon this book, Eccentric Glamour, by Simon Doonan. I recognized him almost immediately as many dedicated viewers of VH1's "I love the 80's/90's" would---being the creative director at Barney's, the man is not only fashion fabulous but incredibly funny. At $15.00, the price was right (you won't believe how outrageous fashion books can be) and the name-dropping positive praise of the reviewers was more than enough to convince me (including Diane von Furstenburg, Michael Kors, Donna Karan and Narciso Rodriguez), so I bought the book and headed off to the pool.

The premise of Doonan's book is one that's been tried before: "creating an insanely more fabulous you" is the sort of tagline that might attract the same girl to a Cosmopolitan magazine for a more concise set of instructions in going about the process. But, I promise you, no one could possibly write about this better than Simon. He writes about how the style epidemic paralyzing the states currently is called "porno-chic"... And though we all know how trashy and demeaning those girls look with the fake tans, french manicures, boob jobs and bleached hair, deep down we still want to BE them (crazy phenomenon, but it's true) at least some point in our lives, be it because of the attention they get from that one special guy or the opportunities that seem to come their way. Well, in this book Simon aims to teach you how to "say no to the ho" and, as Harper's Bazaar puts it, coach you as you develop your "signature form of chic."

The key to such a signature is found, according to Simon, by taking your style constants and punctuating them with a spontaneous gesture, which is "life-affirming for you and life-enhancing for others." This, in a nutshell, is eccentric glamour. Simon guides you along through engaging, witty discussions of the three groupings of glamourous eccentrics, which include Gypsies, Socialites and Existentialists, encouraging you not only to find your place amongst the three but even create your own hybrid of style, whichever suits you best. As the narrative moves along through absolutely entertaining anecdotes and personal interviews with modern day eccentrics, including Dita von Teese, Iman, Micky Boardman and Lucy Liu, you as the reader are pulled in not only by Simon's humor but his genuine charm and caring. One gets the sense (especially having heard his voice on TV) that you can actually hear Simon talking to you as if he were telling you the same riveting story as you both meet for a morning coffee.

All in all, Eccentric Glamour was more than a delightful read; it was enlightening on several levels beyond one's personal style. I especially appreciated that Simon related creating your personal style to creating and getting to know who you are as a person----fashion is something inseperable from your personality, and I feel it's often a greater window into a person's inner self than anything else. Simon is not only a humorous writer but a sincere and frank one; he tells it like it is because somehow, he KNOWS exactly what you're thinking/doing concerning your style choices. This is a great book for fashionistas of every level, whether you're just starting to form your personal style or you're already a glamourous eccentric by Simon's standards. I truly enjoyed it and I plan on reading some of his other books. Have you/will you read Eccentric Glamour?? And if so, what did you think of it?

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