Posted by: Viviana M. Rueda Image | October 16, 2008

What is Glamour?

I know that I promised to write a few blogs with a travel flair since I just came back from Denmark but last night I was at an event and I was so inspired by the topic I have to write about it NOW (before my aging mind forgets) and I promise to get back to travel-inspired fashion blogging next week. 

So the event last night honored a man who is synonmous with glamour because he’s been around it and photographing it since the days of Studio 54 (I’d love to have been a fly on his camera lens).  His name is Patrick McMullan.  Check him out because he truly knows how to recognize and capture a fabulously glamorous woman.  So the panel that he moderated (for the LACMA Costume Council Glamour Girls Event) featured well-known celebrity stylists and fashion insiders and the primary question was “what is glamour?”  Can anyone define it?  Those are some of the questions that I want to explore.  At the post-event cocktail I had a classy, very put-together woman swoop by me and tell me that she believes she’ll apply the Supreme Court’s definition of pornography to her definition of glamour (yep, this was a “little ‘ol society grand dame telling me this).  And I think it went something like this “I know it when I see it.”  And when you think about it, that’s true.  I definitely believe that there are general attributes that you can apply to a glamorous woman such as confidence, understanding her audience, and knowing what works for her.  I can name a few glamorous women and you’ll know what I mean – Think Madonna, Grace Kelly, Grace Jones, Kate Moss, and Ava Gardner.  In my personal opinion glamour also means a woman who lives life to fullest.  I love Audrey Hepburn and Angelina Jolie-types for this reason.  I believe THAT is glamour but don’t think that I don’t also expect my glamour woman to be a fabulously well-turned out fashionista.  I’m picky this way.

That’s because my first glamazon was my Mother.  I mean seriously, who is in full makeup, perfectly coiffed, in crisp wool pants and a silk blouse before 7:30 a.m.?  My Mother.  That’s who, and follow that up with a bridal designer Godmother (some people have Fairy Godmothers and I have a Fashionista Godmother) and the rest of my fashion relatives.  So was basically immersed in glamour at a very young age.  No wonder I’m so fascinated by strong, gorgeous women (and I don’t necessarily mean the swimsuit model type of gorgeous).

Which brings me to the point of glamour not being defined by the media.  Yes it really helps that some of the world’s most glamorous women are courted by couture designers (Nicole Kidman for instance looks stunning in Chanel and was a Chanel No. 5 spokesperson) and they’ve all the money in the world to facilitate the look BUT the look really only highlights the true woman and you are glamorous or you are not.  It can be trained but so many times it’s just innate.  I’m guessing Madonna acted like a glamorous Diva even when she was living out of a hovel.  And while the reality is that rail thin is a common physical attribute amongst the current, well-known glamour girls, you don’t need to be a runway model to be glamorous.  Sophia Loren is not stick thin, neither was Marilyn Monroe.  You can argue that the image of the perfect woman in those days was more voluptous, okay fine, but runway models even in those days were required to be very thin.  Whatever, even in our current age of weight obsession you can point to beautiful women such as Dita Von Teese and Queen Latifa who are not flat-chested waifs but are definitely glamorous.

So I’ll finish with this.  People all over the world invest in their personal brands and they purchase style.  But I’m of the opinion that style is only sustainable if you are glamorous.  And glamour you are born with, you can develop it (sometimes with the single-minded determination of a person who knows they are destined for greatness) or you feel it when you put on that perfect outfit and you know in your gut, that you are a glamazon (if only for that night).  My point is, you too can have it if you want it.

And naturally, everyone has an opinion on the definition of glamour.  I personally loved Patrick McMullan’s comment “When you have breasts, you are glamorous.”

Go forth and conquer the world glamazons!

Viviana M. Rueda

Vivendi Fashionista

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