Proust is the godfather of fashion’

The title reads like 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 operating at the same time as on safari in 1952.
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Hemingway running while on 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 out at Vogue. But a few alliances are greater sudden. Gertrude Stein, along with her monkish hair and opulent brooches, exchanged postcards with couturier Pierre Balmain. Vivienne Westwood turned into inspired by means of Joe Orton, and pretty lots absolutely everyone become stimulated by way of 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 actually have heard.

Samuel Beckett in 1975.

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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 when you consider that she has a clear look based totally round image clothes. Her 2012 TED speak, 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 or actors or musicians, but the concept seems debatable for authors. The writing-in-pyjamas trope is partially guilty. However, this motif is itself misleading. Writers like to mention that they spend all day in sweatpants, however, it’d be incorrect to look this as a dereliction of fashion. Often, the scruffiness is a way to preempt high expectations of what you are approximate to produce, to trick yourself into seeming unhopeful. It can be exact to sense a piece undone. Who absolutely thinks they may write their fine if they visit the web page absolutely clothed?

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

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

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