In this world of trials, tribulations, drought and locust, Man has always found comfort in the Arts, whether it be music, theatre, great art, or literature. Though fashion might not technically be considered in the category of high art, it provides solace, inspiration and in a similar way can elevate levels of endorphins and bring joy to our lives. Anyone who has put on a piece of Chanel ready to wear can attest to this phenomenon.
Since the moment I put on those first pair of Calvin Klein jeans in high school, circa 1979, worn with a periwinkle jelly skinny belt, and wedge shoes, I became semi obsessed with fashion. Back in the day, I was able to wander through a local store in Berkeley named Hink's, a sort of all purpose store where you could pick up shoes, a thimble, curtains, and in my case, a burgundy corduroy Perry Ellis jacket. Right behind the newest Al Pacino movie and Christmas, in providing unbridled joy, was the trip to San Francisco on BART to visit I Magnin, the equivalent of Bergdorf's, in Union Square. The ladies that lunch could be found strolling along the marble floors sampling Joy or Chanel number 5, perusing the newest selection of leather gloves, or deciding between the Maud Frizon and Andrea Pfister loafers………….ah good times. As a high school student raised in the Berkeley Hills, I was amazed by fire every time I would ascend the floors of Valhalla, gazing longingly at the works of Claude Montana, Ralph Lauren, Yves Saint Laurent, and Halston.
I probably started flipping through Vogue in high school, when calculous and other such gruesome subjects got to be to much to bare, and at this point my brain was forever imprinted with luxurious and whimsical fashion I could only gaze at in the pages. At the time it was a thrill just to stumble through Macy's, where I got one of my favorite sweaters to this day……..mohair, sparkly gold thread. Yes, I admit, I'm a bit of a hoarder….**shudder**. However, in my opinion, if you love something and can afford to hang on to it, then keep it! (For sentimental reasons, I've chosen to keep three Laura Ashley dresses in my attic, but, shhhh, don't tell anyone!).
While I was drifting through high school studying the usual banal subjects, a few AP classes, etc, I had a good friend, at the time living a life whilst I was busy being sheltered by the cocoon of my cloistered life. Never deigned to have a job, abhorred even the thought of such a thing. No job tossing papers out of the car window at 7 in the morning or anything else so ghastly. Perish the thought. Then a friend of mine begged me to baby sit for her. After momentary vapors, I reluctantly agreed to babysit for her, TWO chillun, God help me. Had no idea what I was getting myself into, but couldn't muster a no. After some transient panic and terror, I settled into the job, and as it turns out, the two kids weren't so bad. Nobody died, the house didn't burn down… and ironically enough, after that night, I bonded with two wee ones, and found myself a mini entrepreneur of sorts. Before I knew it, someone told someone, who told someone else, and I had woven a web of a babysitting gig. And this was in the early 80's, when a kid was 1.25 and two was 2.50. One of my first obsessions was a pair of Italian made tan leather "cowboy" boots at Frank More, THE shoe store of the day for unique, well made, shoes and boots with a touch of whimsy. The shoes were an almost insurmountable cost of $225! It was love at first sight when I gazed at these beauties in the window. I don't how know how long it finally took at $1.25/hour, but finally I made it to $225 and those boots were mine. I believe it was 1980. To this day, it was one of the most satisfying moments of my life. No, I wasn't in the coal mines for a year, but I put in the hours and was rewarded with one of my favorite pair of boots. Those boots took me through five years at UC Berkeley, running around after Mick Luckhurst, the English place kicker (and the first boy I kissed, **sigh**), traipsing through mud on the football field, strolling through the UC campus, through shopping expeditions, and an assorted series of "firsts" in my life. God help me, but I wore them with stockings and a blue and black tiger print cotton skirt and top……..with gray parachute pants…which FYI, are making a comeback………I have them to this day, and after 33 years, finally had them brought back to their former glory. Well, almost. Note to self: don't drop silver nitrate on leather………in organic chemistry lab…sigh…
Through endless years of studying, college, medical school, internship, residency in Radiology, and then fellowship, the fascination with fashion never waned. My tastes changed throughout the years, with the obsessions shifting from Laura Ashley (I'm not even embarrassed to admit it…..well, not really), to Ralph Lauren, to well, Chanel runway and Chado. It was a gradual paradigm shift which occurred over 30 years, with a ramp up when I finally got a paycheck. Come to think of it, the genesis of my interest may have been exposure to the Opera as a child, where I was enthralled by not just the beautiful music and glorious singing, but the costumes as well. Who doesn't love a hoop skirt and some tulle?
Everyone has passions in their lives, usually above and beyond what they do for a living. And though I enjoy what I do for a living, my passions have been far afield from my daily routine, and have provided a needed adjunct to my life. These include the arts in general, thanks to my dear recently departed Father who was amongst other things, a professional musician and artist, and in particular the Opera, and in the last 15 years, travel, and since I was a teenager, fashion. My fashion bona fides, if you will, are derived from a life long love of the arts, and especially the Opera and the Ballet, from which came an ation for all things beautiful. As a Radiologist for the past 22 years, I have an eye for detail and know impeccable workmanship when I see it.
During the past 30 years of my life, I have gleaned so much pleasure from fashion, and the venn diagram effect that a love of fashion imparts. Through the years I've had the great fortune to make lifetime friends of those working for the purveyors of the concoctions I've accumulated. We've all heard about the endorphin rush that shopping brings, for dudes its cars and shiny metal stuff. For us women folk, its silks, feathers, sequins, cloquet, brocade, velvet, bows, ribbons, ruffles, tweeds, underpinnings, duchesse satin……….swoon, and who amongst us doesn't love the smell of leather or the touch of baby cashmere. Love of fashion and shopping is not the shallow pursuit its detractors might claim. This is a billion dollar industry that employs millions of people, many of which are craftsmen in their own right. (http://www.npr.org/2011/09/09/140141279/at-maison-lesage-beauty-embroidered-by-hand) However employment statistics also include design, manufacturing, distribution, marketing, retailing, advertising, communications, publishing and consulting. Who can forget the classic soliloquy from "The Devil Loves Prada" wherein the egomaniacal tyrant and editor of the fictional "Runway", waxes condescending about the origins of the lumpy blue sweater the downtrodden Andrea wears after she mumbles some gauche statement about two turquoise belts looking the same. (Hell, I had the 264 box of Crayola crayons, and even I thought they looked alike….yikes!…).
One is able to assert a sense of style that is unique and interesting, sometimes captivating to others. We'd all love to believe that we are judged by the wonderful person we are, by the good deeds we've done, and the truth of the matter is that we are after we can show these qualities to others. The first impression is based on primarily looks, who are we kidding. That doesn't mean that we wear a silk shift adorned in bugle beads to a baseball game. In that case we look like a freak, and then who can enjoy the game fearful of the first spattering of mustard? There is something to be said for the importance of context. Akin to fresh flowers and art, certain combinations of color and pattern make people happy. (Maybe not as happy as a bowl of puppies, but you get the idea). People bond over similar likes and dislikes, and are drawn to things of beauty. You might find yourself striking up a conversation with a stranger and making new friends over a particular outfit. And ladies, even the straight menfolk are occasionally amazed by an embellished frock, much like a Magpie! And these days, we have to use any advantage we can find, amiright ladies?
My mission is to bring beautiful fashions and combinations that I love and that will be appreciated by anyone who loves fashion, outfits that can be worn to a host of places, including the office, on a trip, and to fancy events and openings! If you don't have the time or wherewithal to wander into the stores, this is the place for you!
I am dedicating this blog to my Dear departed Father, Ronald Alfred Meux, the person I've admired most in my life. An artist, a musician, a golfer, and my best friend, he remains a constant source of inspiration.
CHEERS! Maya D. Meux, M.D.