As someone who is obsessed with style I am often asked how it is defined or who has “it”. I don’t know about you, but to me it’s like the famous saying about porn “you know it when you see it”.
So I was utterly intrigued when I heard that ELLE Magazine Editors Joe Zee & Maggie Bullock were putting out a style book. While they are certainly more than qualified to discuss style I dreaded another book with chapter headings like “10 items every woman must own” listing staples like the little black dress (we know, thanks) and the timeless trench coat (yep –got that memo too!) Because while that’s all well and good that’s hardly where style lives! (read to the end of this post to see how you can score a copy of the book!)
Fortunately ELLEments of Style is not one of those rule books. Instead, Joe and Maggie created a gorgeous book that features 25 well known women in entertainment or fashion and let’s us see not only into their closets but into their homes and what inspires them. The photography is beautiful and I especially enjoyed seeing things like Erin Wasson’s handbags on the wall or the shoe collection of Dita von Teese.
I do have a couple of issues with the book and the first one is the subtitle: 25 Modern Fashion Icons on how to Dress, Shop and Live. Ummm…excuse me? Since when did sitcom stars become Fashion Icons? Is this simply a coastal difference in how we define a fashion icon? There definitely are some in here: Diane von Furstenberg and Charlotte Gainsbourg come to mind. And there is the aforementioned Dita von Teese who definitely has her own style. But can people who hire personal stylists –and even quote them in the book– be considered to be great style icons? I mean, who is making the look –the client or Rachel Zoe?
And I’m not saying that all style icons have to be older but in my mind they have to at least generally dress themselves and be known as having a great look/strong interest in fashion. The Olsen twins would be a great example. As is LA artist Rosson Crow. Which brings me to my second issue: Why are all of the people featured celebrities on some level? (if they weren’t called icons maybe they wouldn’t all have to be celebrities) There are so many girls with amazing style that dress themselves –many even well known bloggers (Tavi? Susie Bubble? hellooo???) Why not show truly audacious personal style instead of canned celebrime style? hmmm….just writing this is getting me slightly more annoyed with the book.
Okay! So not as to go off point here’s how I’d sum it up.
The good: some of the people are truly iconic and much of it is beautiful to look at.
The bad: their ideas of “iconic” are frighteningly mainstream.
The better: if you still think you’d enjoy the book (and really, you would despite my critique) I will be giving away 2 books courtesy of Avery/Gotham of Penguin Group USA. All you have to do is tell me who you think is a great style icon and why! Write a comment below or follow me on twitter and tweet it!