Fashion is Spinach

A sometimes cutting (no pun intended), brisk and good-tempered opinion on fashion, style, chic and design runs through Elizabeth Hawes’ autobiography Fashion is Spinach. Hawes was a Vassar-educated economist who studied fashion in Paris and seems to have a respect for that shrewd business-woman, Chanel, who taught her models to walk too fast for the copyists to take any notes.

The opening plate (a toddler saying “it’s not spinach, it’s broccoli and I’m damned if I’ll eat it”) sets the tone straight away, but this is the passage that sold it to me. I always want to look very, very appealing in a modern room in March:

If a lady came into me and said (and sometimes they do), “look here, I’m 47 and have grey hair and look severe and rather forbidding. It is essential to me that on Wednesday 17th March, at 8 o’clock, I look 35 and very, very appealing. I will be in a modern living room with dark grey walls and white and silver furniture. There will be yellow flowers…What shall we do?” Then I can whip out an answer in the guise of a few possible dresses.


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