After three decades in the fashion business, I needed to stop and understand why and how this thing called style has ruled my life with such tenacity. I live to design and create. But for me, designing goes beyond the actual design. I think of the world around the design—the environment, mood, ambience, emotion, and spirit—as attached to the creative process. I have always asked myself, How do we live with design? How does design affect our lives? How do the clothes we wear, the homes we choose, the objects of our life communicate to the world who we are? I think of the way we live not as lifestyle but as a life of style.
And to think in these terms you can’t just look at the outside of style—you need to look at the inside of style. You need to understand the origins of how our style is derived, to appreciate why we love what we love.
And so I decided to put pen (and brush) to paper and start my own style journey.
I needed to reflect on the source of all this love and passion. What made me develop into the person I am? How did my style evolve? Is style genetic, cultural, or life experience? I wanted to understand what my style DNA consisted of.
Was it Grandma Fanny’s plastic-slipcovered King Louis sofa? My mother’s forever un-matching chairs—and the incredible generosity in her home? Maybe a lifetime of old Hollywood films? My father, “the Cowboy”? Perhaps my first trip to Paris to meet Pierre Cardin? My first fashion show in Milan? My lavender bedroom in Secaucus? My first pair of hot pants? (Mom bought them at Bloomie’s.) Capri? The Catskills?
The answer to this very loaded question is all of the above and much, much more. Style is a reflection of who we are, where we come from, and what we have experienced—the good, the bad, and the indifferent. It is what makes us into the unique beings that we are.
Having the courage to ask ourselves what we love and why
is to really begin the process of understanding our style and enhancing the way we live and communicate who we are to the world around us.
Living a stylish life is not about buying designer clothes or retaining the “it” decorator of the moment. Nor is it about money. To live a life of style is to live with love, to nourish the passion to dream, to keep the faith, and last, but certainly not least, to understand who we are and how to say it.
I hope the book you are about to read will inspire you to live a life of style, to find the splendor and love of the world around you, and to understand yourself and the beautiful uniqueness that you have been born with. Life is a gift that we need to celebrate every day. Celebrate your life by living with love, passion, and style.
Excerpted from A Life of Style by Rebecca Moses. Copyright © 2010 by Rebecca Moses. Excerpted by permission of The Monacelli Press, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.