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.
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.
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.