Secret Style Icon No.16: 19th Century Paris

Last night I went along to the magnificent Salon Project at The Citizens Theatre in Glasgow, and spent an evening in a closed-off stage of enormous chandeliers, mirrors and arched ‘windows’ beaming unreal white light as if from a sunny Parisian day. Usually, I would hide in a dark corner to avoid any kind of audience participation theatre (‘audience participation’, along with ‘ice-breaking exercises’ ‘team-building weekends’ and ‘street theatre’ is one of those phrases that makes my blood run cold with fear). This was audience participation – but not as we know it. It began amongst rails of frocks and actual-mirrors-with-lightbulbs-round-them, being (nicely) laced into corsets, powdered and decked out with feathers. Then we joined everyone else, hanging out amongst trays of prosecco and gentle piano twirling, and what followed was an evening of swooning over each other’s outfits, touching girl’s bustles, and being treated to art, discussions and music. I’d been a little apprehensive, but it was utterly wonderful – and everyone looked, without exception, spectacularly elegent.

A better person might now go on an intellectual trip through the ages of the Parisian Salon – but obviously what I’m more thrilled about is the fashion. The men at The Salon Project were all so handsomely, elegently buttoned up in suits, all luxurioius looking, clean white-and-black ensembles. They cut a dash. As for the women, here’s a sneak peek of some of the details:

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To bring a little of that Parisian glam into your every day outfits, you require nails and lips in deep, wine-stain red, anything (shoes, earrings) that glints and twinkles in the candlelight of chandeliers, a dab hand at gambling with cards, a sound repetoire of scintillating anecdotes, and black ribbon tied with a bow around your neck. Also: bare, gleaming shoulders, complicated hair, green eyes and a cigarette case in your tiny, tiny handbag.

In imaginary-land, I’d be decked out, in homage to The Salon, like this:

Day:

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(tuxedo jacket, trousers, silk shirt, shoes, watch and clutch all here).

And night:

l[5]

(Dress, hat, gloves, clutch, earrings, cigarette case and shoes here).

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