True ECCENTRICS...What has happened to all the fashion-forward thinkers? They gives us more mystery, wonder ..., a new side to beauty... | Interesting Reading to learn English -intermediate - advanced (B1, B2, C1,) |

Clockwise from top left: the writer and actor Quentin Crisp in 1997; the designer and Yves Saint Laurent muse Loulou de la Falaise at her wedding in 1977; the English aesthete Stephen Tennant in 1922; the designer Vivienne Westwood, with devil’s horns, in 2007."


........Quirky aesthetes like Isabella Blow, Vivienne Westwood and Stephen Tennant devoted their existence to individuality. Today’s peacocks are nothing more than publicity scavengers. What happened to all the fashion-forward thinkers?


.........True eccentrics — the Isabella Blows, the Vivienne Westwoods, the Anna Piaggis and the Stephen Tennants, as if there could ever be more than one of each — are the kind of people whose entire existence is devoted to individuality and innovation. That’s what makes a real eccentric: they really mean it, and they’re willing to suffer for it. Their social function is to explode our preconceptions about what beauty is and what good taste means. Eccentrics raise the bar on the impossible.


Yet, unfortunately, there are a few too many fake ones out there now. These are the imitators, the publicity scavengers, the ones who think it’s merely about fame or attention. They seem to be working not from a brilliant fund of ideas or from a conviction that their outer selves must be used to express a fascinating inner landscape.

On the contrary, they’re just showoffs who dress up for the cameras.


For people interested in our contemporary times, this is an important distinction: the true eccentric gives us more mystery, more wonder about being human, a new side to beauty, while the faux-eccentric gives us less of everything.


The point of style, surely, has never been about just sticking on an outfit, or a weird hat, just to get a photograph of yourself on the Internet. There’s nothing startling about these people, except, perhaps, the degree of their conformity to the new media norms.


By contrast, every one of Isabella Blow’s outfits was a complete reflection of her psychology and her convictions. Every day for Blow was a struggle for survival. She didn’t care what people thought, and the fakes care about nothing else...........


Continued in this very interesting article from the New York Times