Saturday, June 11, 2011

Style icon: Patrick Leigh Fermor (1915-2011)

As far as I know, Mr. Fermor has never been nominated as a "style icon" although he has been described as "a cross between Indiana Jones, James Bond and Graham Greene." But Fermor's passing away makes clear, to me at any rate, why this superb, idiosyncratic writer of travels and journeys should rank highly in the the world of men's style.

Fermor led a fascinating life in the midst of a raging world war and trekking across continents, a perfect embodiment of Paul Claudel's assertion that “Intelligence is nothing without delight.” He was a wonderfully lyrical writer, a prodigy with languages, a free spirit abounding with “leventeia”. As Artemis Cooper of The Independent describes, “A quality prized in Greece, leventeia indicates high spirits, humour, quickness of mind and action, charm, generosity, the love of living dangerously and a readiness for anything.”

Fermor's sense of style was refreshingly organic to his person, and, quite likely, simply inseparable from the life he lived. A fitting lesson on style.

Additional links
- New York Times obituary
- The Telegraph's 2008 essay and interview of Fermor
- An admirer's blog dedicated to Fermor

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