Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Gucci Offers a Bit of a Style Lesson

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Gucci Offers a Bit of a Style Lesson

Article excerpt

SHARP DRESSERS are easily divided into those who care about fashion and those who care about style.

The new Kenneth Cole catalog came in mid-August and turned out to contain a great pair of shoes: wonderfully shaped, emphatically flat-heeled, with a broad toe and a high-ish vamp. They looked a little bit medieval and a little bit like my grandfather's bedroom slippers. Something about them reminded me of my friend Janet, so when she was over the next day I said, "You have to see these shoes."

"Yes!" she said. "I've been looking for them at all the Kenneth Cole outlets." I flipped a few more pages to my other favorite pair, crocodile-printed black velvet loafers with silver bits across the vamps. "Eeeeeuuuw," she said. "So old-ladyish." "Too Gucci for you?" I guessed. Janet is a graphic designer/photographer/filmmaker. She likes clothes and has a strong sense of what colors and shapes she wants them to be - a sense of personal style, you could say. Last year, Gucci's young American designer Tom Ford produced a sharp, 1970s-influenced collection - narrow-collared, slinky shirts and lean, low-slung hip-hugger pants a season before everybody else - that was wildly successful and revived the label's floundering cachet. Ford's prescient eye for line and color and texture - his sense of style - made Gucci hot again, which revived the currency of the signature bridle bit from the vamp of the Gucci loafer, so this fall it's being knocked off on shoes, bags, headbands, bracelets, everything. It's a fashion trend. The conventional wisdom is that people who care about style are stylish and people who care about fashion are mindless sheep looking to be led, but that's simplistic. (And I actually mean simplistic, unlike people who think it's a fancier synonym for simple: A press release in my circular file trumpets "the mood of simplistic elegance and upscale refinement that is predominating this season's fashion trends.") Back in August, Janet didn't know knockoff Gucci bridle bits were a fashion trend and probably wouldn't have cared if she had: She's not interested in wearing what everybody else has on - that is, fashion. …

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