This week, I am still suffering from Post Conference Brain Freeze, plus Near Deadline Dementia, so I have not much left over for blogging. No research tidbits. No writing tips. No new lipsticks or perfumes to recommend. Naught. Zilch.
So, I will turn for help to a very amusing book I recently read, Simon Doonan’s Eccentric Glamour: Creating an Insanely More Fabulous You. Not only will it give you a laugh, it just might also help in constructing the perfect Eccentrically Fabulous (hereafter referred to as EG) heroine!
Mr. Doonan, like many of us, deplores the new trend for “fake hair extensions, fake nails, fake spray tans, fake lips, and fake boobs.” He implores women everywhere to “seek out eccentrically glamorous alternatives to the ubiquitous cheapness and tackiness that currently pass for personal style. Banish the badonkadonkdonk! Say no to porno chic! Say no to ho! And yes to Eccentric Glamour.” He gives us profiles of various modern EG women like Dita Von Teese, Tilda Swinton, and Lucy Liu, and tells us the best way to find our own EG style. It’s easier than you might think, as there are really only 3 routes to EG (with a few sub-genres. Sort of like “historical romantic suspense,” or “urban fantasy Harlequin Presents” if you will). They are:
1) The Gypsy
This is for those who are “a hazy, lazy, rustic, poetic, ethereal free spirit,” or have always wanted to be. “There is much to recommend the Gypsy lifestyle. First, it’s incredibly romantic. You can be wild. You can be tempestuous. You can be Carmen.”
There is the Euro-glam Gypsy. The Isadora Gypsy (I like this one! Doonan says “She wears panne velvet and vintage lace and medieval-ish robes and turbans a la Edith Sitwell. She adores massive rings, beading, and devoree velvet.” She also spends a lot of time “contemplating the translucency of an Art Nouveau vase on the Portobello Road.”) And there is the Green Gypsy (think Natalie Portman), and the Hollywood Gypsy (who claim Ali McGraw as their patron saint).
2) The Socialite
“Of all the three styles, the Socialite has the least amount of eccentricity. Her style has a classic panache. She herself is not particularly creative. She leaves that to the Valentinos, Lagerfelds, and Puccis of the world,” but “she has a wicked wit.” Jackie Kennedy, Babe Paley, and CZ Guest “are the primordial ooze from which all subsequent Socialites emerged.”
3) The Existentialist
“This is the edgy, belligerent, provocative, creative face of eccentric glamour,” Doonan tells us. “There are no A-list celeb Existentialists: Jennifer Connelly and Charlotte Gainsbourg are about as close as it gets. The Existentialist is an angry rebel who eschews the superficiality of contemporary culture.”
Their variables include: The Existentialist Gamine (think Audrey Hepburn at the beginning of Funny Face. “There’s nothing quite like a black turtleneck to suggest an inner life, even where there may be none”). There is also the Rive Gauche Existentialist (“The elder sister of the Gamine”); the Existentialist Garconne (think Garbo and Dietrich!); and the Existentialist Ghoul. But be careful when trying the Ghoul–“Adopting this kind of scary look limits your social interaction to those who are dressed exactly as you and is therefore recommended only for the very young.”
Once we have found our EG niche, Doonan urges us to “Go forth and shop!” That, I can do. I haven’t quite figured out exactly where I fit on the EG continuum. I think I am a bit of an Isadora Gypsy/Existentialist Gamine, but that changes every day. The heroine of my WIP, Thalia Chase (the third of the “Muses of Mayfair”) is definitely a Gypsy. Her sisters Calliope and Clio, the heroines of Books One and Two, were respectively a Socialite and an Existentialist. They have definitely banished the badonkadonkdonk! (Or whatever the Regency equivalent would be…)
Now, it’s your turn. What kind of EG are you? What about favorite heroines (either from your own writing or for favorite books)? For instance, it’s pretty clear Jane Eyre is an Existentialist, but what is Elizabeth Bennet??? Discuss! (and be sure and join us next week as we celebrate our 3rd birthday! Lots of prizes and fun)