When THE FIFTH COLLECTION talks about authenticity, it's usually about our curation process and the market-leading guarantees we give our customers. But in this first instalment of Fashion Heroes, I'm going to focus on a much trickier kind of authenticity: style.
Few people would disagree that style has less to do with natural beauty or designer clothing, and more to do with personality, attitude and self-expression. The essential element is the authenticity of your style choices and how faithfully they reflect who you are (think Kate Moss or Dita Von Teese), and those who pull it off, wind up influencing our sartorial and lifestyle choices for decades to come.
I want to travel back in time to revisit one of my favourite examples of style leadership from the 1920-30s, Daisy Fellowes, a name few might recognize today but that Jean Cocteau once credited with having "launched more fashions than any other woman in the world". Just as interesting is that she was also, as the New York Times once described her, "the trans-Atlantic fete set's No. 1 bad girl".
Born into nobility and the heiress to the Singer fortune, she was known for her radical sense of fashion and caustic wit. Perhaps Elsa Schiaparelli's most important client and a muse for Elsa's "hard chic" aesthetic, she was one of the few society ladies daring enough to wear some of Elsa's wildest designs. She embodied a new kind of style that Cecil Beaton would later describe as "studied simplicity" that never looked contrived, often consisting of a simple sheath dress and custom jewelry, but carefully designed to contrast with the fussy floral gowns and ostentation prevalent in her day.
Daisy loved jewellery as much as she enjoyed controversy, and became one of the most important collectors of the 20th century. She regularly worked with Boivin, Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels to customise one-of-a-kind pieces that became highly prized investor at auction, one even setting a record price that has stood for over 20 years. She was also known for wearing all her jewellery in doubles for symmetry, though one might guess as to why that trend did not become mainstream... Her jewellery also managed to inspire generational icons such as Schiaparelli's defining 'Shocking Pink' colour, owed to a 17 carat pink diamond from Cartier known as the Ram's Head diamond, that captured the designer's imagination.
Her elegance and flair made her the undisputed queen of the Paris social scene, but she was much more than that and far from a cliché; she may best known for radically challenging the sartorial standards of her time and setting a course for fashion that influenced a century, but she also challenged social norms for women with her reputation as a formidable seductress that she enjoyed bragging about, not to mention that she wrote and published numerous novels and donated generously - and anonymously - to charity during her life.
On behalf of THE FIFTH COLLECTION, I say: "respect". Women like Daisy teach us that style goes beyond just clothing. As Diana Vreeland once said "The only real elegance is in the mind; if you've got that, the rest really comes from it".