Ode to elegance

Appearances can be deceptive. While elegance may like to dress to impress, underneath the style, there is a certain magical quality capable of changing the world as easily as transforming a toad into Prince Charming.

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Once under its spell, comes inherent style. Not to mention allure. Even better, a whole new dimension. Elegance is not a miracle cure, but almost. It enhances, re-aligns, renders unique; it is a philosophy intent on vastly elevating its subjects; a beat to which we set our step and in so doing acquire a distinguished allure. It is the referee, God of Fair Play, who as a matter of honour treats victory and defeat as one and the same. Metamorphosis, taking the ugly duckling under its wing and teaching it the language of swan. Elegance is a marvellous thing, in a myriad of forms. Except it does not come about merely by chance.

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And do not rely on those who have moved in its circles to reveal its secrets. According to Sacha Guitry, elegance was about education, while for Giorgio Armani a cerebral pursuit, and Yves Saint-Laurent, an affair of the heart. Audrey Hepburn muddied the waters further by likening it to beauty that never fades. A lingering affliction such as this… incorruptible, elusive and invisible: is elegance therefore the art of revealing nothing, like Cary Grant in “North by northwest”? Not quite.

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For the founding principle of elegance, as Balzac would remind us, is unity. In other words, asserting a presence without overshadowing those around us. And this is the key to being a balanced individual, like musician Pharrell Williams, whose very existence is punctuated with trademark hats and swaying melodies. And then there’s Jean d’Ormesson, a Peter Pan par excellence, who has flown in the face of time and avoided its ravages. But how? By remembering, like him, that happiness, like elegance, is essentially a choice.

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