Nearly 20 years ago, a dear friend of mine had a baby daughter named Olivia. She was tiny and perfect, with pale golden hair, and beautiful blue eyes. We sat there in wonder, watching her at just a few days old. Olivia was headed for an interesting life. She was soon go on her first yearly summer trip to her very sophisticated Grandfathers's home in
Ramatuelle, just north of St. Tropez. Well! I thought. No time like the present to start her style training!
As there was no conversation to be had with a 3 day old, I started telling her this funny sort of alphabet. It started with Asprey, and off we went! It was all very tongue in cheek, and we laughed and laughed, but these people and things are still some of my favorites.
It might seem odd to bring out a list like this in the current economy, but it's nice to know that style and imagination, along with beauty, do endure. They've help us through rough times. This list is a reminder of that. Some of the people on it had privileged beginnings, but most did not. Many of the things here were created by hard working people, craftsmen/women who could were driven to do things well. Coco Chanel started out destitute, dumped in an orphanage. The Chrysler building was built by blue collar workers at the beginning of the Great Depression, for a wealthy man of great taste, who did it despite the financial odds.
I've had the the alphabet tucked away, but now that little girl is growing up, getting ready to brush off some of her tomboy mud, and possibly open to trading in her riding boots for something else once in a while, so here we are. Go Olivia!
A- Adrian, Armani, Asprey, Asscher Brothers, Aston Martin
B- Balenciaga, Balmain, Bottega Veneta, Bergdorf Goodman, Babe Paley
C- Coco Chanel, Charles James, Cartier, Christofle, Chrysler Building, Claridges, Cole Porter, Cipriani, Claire McCardell
D- Dior, Dogs, Dunhill, Duesenberg, Diana, Princess of Wales
E- Elsa Schiaparelli, Elsa Peretti
F- Fendi, Fred Leighton, Ferrari, France, Frette
G- Gucci, Givenchy, MB 1954 Gull Wing
H- Hermes, Harry Winston, Henri Bendel, Hotel du Cap, Harry's Bar
I- Issey Miyake, Isadora Duncan
J- John Galliano, Jensen Interceptor
L- Lagerfeld, Lanvin, Louboutin, Levi Strauss
M- (Claude)Montana, Manolo
N- Narciso Rodriguez, Nancy Lancaster, Nature
O- Oscar De La Renta
P- Prada, Poiret, Pucci, Patek Philippe, Pratesi, Petrus
Q- Mary Quant
R- Ralph Lauren, Romanee-Conti, Hotel Ritz
S- Stella McCartney, Simon Doonan, Shelby Cobra, The Sherry Netherland
T- Tom Ford, Taillevent
V- Valentino,Van Cleef & Arpels, Versace, Venice Simplon-Orient-Express,
W- Vera Wang,Vivienne Westwood
X- xxx (kisses, which are always in style...)
Y- Yves St.Laurent, Yohji Yamamoto, d'Yquem
I'm sure Olivia has her own list by now, with more names from the equestrian world, as horses are her great love. Maybe she won't care at all. No matter. Whatever she does, she'll do it in style.