Because you can't have depths without surfaces.
Linda Grant, thinking about clothes, books and other matters.

Wednesday, 19 December 2007

Great Mutton Debate Part 2163

Amanda Harlech, 40-something muse of Karl Lagerfeld

Because of my trip to Liverpool last week, I missed Sarah Mower's second column on the Great Mutton Debate:

I am becoming impatient with all the crossness and whingeing about how difficult it is to dress past a certain age and about being sidelined. I particularly despise the lack of self-esteem being paraded in this debate. To my observation, things can get better as you get older - especially if you're a British woman.

This was illustrated to me to perfection last week at the Chanel Paris-Londres show that Karl Lagerfeld brought to town. By a miracle of good timing, I ended up alone with him backstage, and the conversation - which started with a discussion of Coco Chanel's penchant for Englishmen - turned to Daphne Guinness and Amanda Harlech, the merry divorcées of British high style.

"They look like life should be," he said. "They are stimulating, sparkling, not just clothes horses. They're clever, civilised. They read, they have lives, children.

"And you know," he added conspiratorially, "these kind of women exist only in Britain. Not in France; after a certain age, they just…" He didn't finish, but it was obvious what he meant: run to beige. Which, of course, is very French.

Several people in the comments have made the point that Sarah Mower has missed the point. It is never hard to dress well at any age with a model-thin figure and unlimited income. The difficulty is finding clothes that fit well and flatter within your budget when the shops are full of mini tunics with no sleeves.


Tobyt Wollin said...

"They look like life should be.."
Well, of course they do, Karl -- they may be 40, but they look at least 5 years younger, they are model thin and have lots and lots of money.
A great part of the "mutton Debate" is that 98% of us are over 40 and NOT model thin and do NOT have access to unlimited resources to clothe ourselves. We are stuck with whatever is in the shops.
And THAT, Karl does NOT "...look like life should be."
If Karl L. really thought of himself as a great designer, he would put some "think time" into that design challenge - because dressing women who have the body shapes of the cardboard tubes used for paper towels is not a design challenge.

Teresa said...

What toby said! She took the words right out off my keyboard.

Glamourpuss said...

Good news. But tell the twenty-somethings. On the whole, they need a good scrub and a lesson in elegance.


Deja Pseu said...

Agree 100% with toby, and wanted to add my vexation with Ms. Mower's intimation that those who were critical of her first column and voiced frustration at finding stylish clothing as suffering from a "lack of self-esteem."