So what exactly is a taste maker? Here’s the dictionary definition:
“A person whose judgments about what is good, fashionable, etc., are accepted and followed by many other people.
“One who sets the standards of what is currently popular or fashionable.”
About a month ago, I finished a great book, All We Know: Three Lives by Lisa Cohen. One of the three lives she profiled was that of Madge Garland, who was a fashion editor of British Vogue in the 1920’s and went on to found the School of Fashion, part of the Royal College of Art in London.
She was something more than a taste maker — since the above definitions seem to be so time constrained –“currently popular” seems to reflect a certain sense of momentary not timeless. But she certainly had ideas about what was good and fashionable. She was fascinated by the relationship between clothing and consciousness. She shared with her friend Virginia Wolf the sense that it was impossible to separate having clothes on one’s mind and on one’s body.
Now that’s interesting to think about. Lisa Cohen goes on to say, “Both women were fascinated by how we wear what we wear, by the effects of clothes on the body and mind . . . They shared an appreciation of the awkward details to do with dress and character — a sense of elegance spiked with glee — and an understanding of fashion’s power of humiliation and conversion.”
Very serious stuff.
Here’s a lovely painting of Madge Garland, hanging in a great small, relatively unknown museum in London, the Geffrye.
And speaking of unknown taste makers, I just discovered Eyre de Lanux (what a name).
So elegant. She painted, wrote for magazines, designed furniture and looked just amazing. Definitely a Taste Maker.
More about her later.