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Proust is the godfather of fashion’

The title is a provocation: Legendary Authors and the Clothes They Wore. What? Shouldn’t authors, especially “mythical” ones, be exempt from fashion scrutiny? Surely, we need to study their phrases, not their outfits. If they produced high-quality works of art, who cares how they dressed?

Gertrude Stein at Her Desk in 1936.

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Gertrude Stein at Her Desk in 1936. Photograph: Hulton Deutsch/Corbis through Getty Images
“When I sat down the first morning and began writing approximately Samuel Beckett, I idea: ‘Oh, my goodness. Am I doing something completely outrageous?'” says the e-book’s author, Terry Newman, who teaches fashion journalism at the University for the Creative Arts, Epsom. As it happens, she quickly observed that Beckett became a superb area to start: he carried a Gucci bag and cherished Clarks Wallabee footwear.

Hemingway operated at the same time as on safari in 1952.

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Hemingway ran while on a safari in 1952. Photograph: Earl Theisen Collection/Getty Images
Newman’s e-book is full of those crossovers between literature and fashion. There are apparent examples, including Joan Didion, who appeared in a Céline marketing campaign in 2015, and Dorothy Parker, whose writing career started at Vogue. But a few alliances are more sudden. Gertrude Stein and her monkish hair and opulent brooches exchanged postcards with couturier Pierre Balmain. Vivienne Westwood was inspired by employing Joe Orton, and almost everyone became stimulated by Proust. “Oh, Proust!” Newman says wearily. “He is the godfather of style. That 70s disco crowd becomes all so passionate about him.” Especially Yves Saint Laurent. This is in contrast to any Proust grievance I have heard.

Samuel Beckett in 1975.

Proust is the godfather of fashion’ 3

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Samuel Beckett in 1975. Photograph: Rex/Shutterstock
Living authors are underrepresented. Zadie Smith is right here, as is Donna Tartt. But there’s no Stephen King, together with his curated informal appearance, and Karl Ove Knausgaard may want to experience unappreciated with simplest a quick access within the “hair” section. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is every other omission, considering that she has a clear look based on round-image clothes. Her 2012 TED talk, We Should All Be Feminists, became a slogan on a Dior T-blouse.

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Marcel Proust in 1896.
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Marcel Proust in 1896. Photograph: Corbis through Getty Images
No one questions the link between fashion and inventive fashion for visible artists, actors, or musicians, but the concept seems debatable for authors. The writing-in-pajamas trope is partially guilty. However, this motif is itself misleading. Writers like to mention that they spend all day in sweatpants. However, looking at this as a dereliction of fashion would be incorrect. Often, the scruffiness is a way to preempt high expectations of what you are supposed to produce, to trick yourself into seeming unhopeful. It can be exact to sense a piece undone. Who thinks they may write their fine if they visit the web page clothed?

But writers don’t spend all their time at a desk. They go into the arena as authors; when they do, there could be continuity between writing style and garb fashion. “Strong voice” – prized by agents and editors – is the verbal equal of a robust appearance. It follows that an author’s style may spread seamlessly from

Tom Wolfe in 1976.
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Tom Wolfe in 1976. Photograph: Alamy
Sometimes, a style can make a writer’s picture and assist in promoting books, as it did for Ernest Hemingway, Tom Wolfe, and Tartt herself – whose first creator image showed her c

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