By their conception of fashion, style and elegance
YVES SAINT LAURENT: "FASHION PASSES, STYLE REMAINS
Fashion is ephemeral, brief, cyclical. A t-shirt, a bag, a down jacket, meets with phenomenal success, for one season. A whole category of people rush to get this garment which seems to become an absolute necessity. Most often this product is not a guarantee of quality. It is not necessarily to your taste. It is expensive. It is the law of supply and demand. And yet it becomes the envy of thousands of people.
And then after a few months, it's gone. Has-been. Not only is it no longer original or "stylish" to wear it, but worse, it indicates a form of cheesiness. This product has been out of fashion for a month. It is therefore bad for its image to wear it.
This is what this "fashion" that Yves Saint Laurent talks about consists of. This fashion that rests its novelty and brevity. Create a product that makes the buzz, then disappears, as quickly as it arrived on the market.
This fashion does not confer a style to a person. On the contrary, those people who live fashion in this way, who buy the new trendy product every month, are constantly looking for a style, without ever achieving it. The style is anchored in a form of perennity. In the same way as allure, or elegance. Style does not go out of fashion.
GIORGIO ARMANI: "THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN STYLE AND FASHION IS QUALITY
Another distinction between style and fashion, this time concerning quality. To echo what we said earlier: fashion is characterized by its ephemeral and spectacular nature. A product can sell thousands or even millions of copies if it is a real success. Such a large production is necessarily synonymous with poor quality.
Quality and durability go hand in hand. A style is built, shaped, over the years. Just as a good product ages without going out of fashion. Like a good wine releases its best aromas after many years. Like a beautiful leather patina and acquires all its charm over time. Style cannot emerge from ephemeral, large-scale production.
COCO CHANEL: "IF A WOMAN IS POORLY DRESSED, WE NOTICE HER DRESS. BUT IF SHE IS IMPECCABLY DRESSED, IT IS SHE WHO IS NOTICED."
The idea behind this quote from Coco Chanel, is that style, or elegance, doesn't necessarily have to be noticed. Having style doesn't mean trying to stand out at all costs, to be seen by everyone, to be talked about, to be dressed up. True style is hardly noticeable, as it is simple and elegant. When an individual is well dressed, one does not linger on his clothes, because they are an integral part of the elegance he exudes and are no longer distinguishable individually. An outfit is like a jigsaw puzzle: if the pieces are correctly arranged with each other, it is possible for us to have an overall view of the pattern or design represented. We no longer pay attention to the pieces that make it up. We can admire the beauty of the whole.