I experienced a surge of emotions when I first saw this photo. The Elegance of the gentleman took my breath away! So polished and tasteful! Such finesse and refinement. It forced me to stop, stare and think.
Elegance has become somewhat of an obsolete concept in the modern society. Crude and rough behavior/actions are considered aggressive and are rewarded. Alarmingly, aggressiveness is somehow a virtue in modern times!
People talk loud, dress loud, act loud. For a slice of loudness, experiment going to a Starbucks at 6.00 a.m. The energy is palpable. The loud whirring of the fan is deafening (why one would need a fan in 60 degrees temperature is beyond my comprehension.) The Baristas wired on caffeine are screaming long, incomprehensible drink orders; the patrons on their Blackberrys are trying to talk over the noisy din and of course the shrill whirring of the cappuccino machine adds to the madness. Nope, there is nothing in this scene that is even close to being defined as a “coffee break!”
The expression “squeaky wheel gathers the most grease” is apt and appropriate in present times. In a recent article I read, as per statistical data, the employees who spoke the loudest and were most boisterous got the maximum raises and least reprimands. Yes, no place for a person with delicate, fine sensibilities in our society. Dress loud, speak loud and in general live loud is the mantra! Cult shows such as Jersey Shore and the Kardashians are a perfect example.
Vulgarity is sexy and roughness a turn-on!
The “casual” look has replaced the “formal” look. Jeans and t-shirts are perfectly acceptable in most settings, even formal ones.
In the midst of such coarseness when one sees an elegant gentleman, regally perched on his bicycle is cooling for the eyes and senses. It is a breath of fresh air. It make you stop and stare, even if for a rushed moment.
Notice the attention to detail in his dressing-the peak-a-boo striped socks and shirt cuffs; the thin silhouette of the suit; the well-trimmed silver beard; the retro glasses perched on the bridge of his nose, the well-polished loafers; the suede elbow patches. An absolute optical delight!
It is evident that he took time to get dressed. There is attention to detail. He takes pride in the small things. He has dignity and grace. He is polished and refined. He is an Elegant Man. I am compelled to stop and stare at him.
From the labyrinth of my memory I remembered the words of a childhood poem. “Kate, Kate don’t be late, here is your satchel and here is your slate….Kate, Kate don’t be late!!
A sweet, simple, uncomplicated, straightforward poem denoting innocence and simplicity.
Fast forward to the Louis Vuitton Fall/Winter 2011 show and watch super-model Kate Moss sashaying on the runway with a swagger. Cigarette dangling from her lips, puffing up a storm, strutting her “barely” covered derrière. She has an “I-give-a-damn” expression on her chemically peeled face resulting in a perfect stretch and shine of the skin! She is lean, she is mean. She is defiant, she is audacious. She is bold, she is provocative. She is saucy and shameless.
This Kate is always late. Why? Simple, because it is fashionable to be late. This Kate does not need a satchel or a slate. Why? Simple, because she has a Blackberry and iPhone with a top-of-the-line voice recognition app that takes perfect notes tucked deep in her super-sized Louis Vuitton monogramed satchel.
The Kate of my childhood poem and the Kate on the runway; although namesake, yet diametrically opposed. What’s in a name?