Friday, January 01, 2010

2010: The substance of style

Greetings and happy new year to everyone. Here's a deceptively innocuous quote by the French poet and critic Charles Baudelaire to start off 2010 - "Style is character." This equation of person and appearance is related to my previous post on decoding styles. In other words, style often starts from within, not without. It's a powerful idea because, among other things, it furnishes an escape hatch to what is often the self-contained world of fashion coverage, journalism and blogging - writing that often struggles to provide insights and depth beyond "I like this, I like that or this is fantastic, and so is that".

The idea of "character" is an essential element of style that I'm developing in my proposed book. I should add that my treatment of character is probably not what Baudelaire, author of Les fleurs du mal, had in mind. But perhaps more importantly, there are additional, indispensable elements to style that have yet to be put together in a systematic way and captured in a coherent intellectual framework. Hence my book and my new year's resolution to push it closer to reality in 2010.

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