Edith Bouvier Beale

Edith Bouvier Beale embodies what a fashion hero should be not just in style but in spirit too. A style zealot Edie sense of self is what distinguished her from her peers. Her style was inherently classic reflecting her affluent society background yet became an anarchist interpretation during her latter years. Her passion for life and the arts exuded from her, a natural born performer her dress and personality always had a flair for theatrics. For her every day was a show, a performance. She was a woman born into the wrong time, in an era where women were supposed to remain on the path of school, secretarial work then marriage she was a rebellious character and unbeknownst to herself an early feminist.
I love the mystery and legends which surround her - the suspicions of illicit affairs with elite business men, the controversy surrounding her infamous head scarfs. A known alopecia sufferer, she is said to have set her hair alight in a confronting move to the disease, whether true nor false this anecdote I feel encapsulates Edie's dramatic persona. Her wardrobe remained routed in the 1940's as she used her clothes to cling to the memories of a time she treasured most in her life.
The subject of the notorious documentary Grey Gardens alongside her lone ally her mother, what I love when watching this film is how everyday Edie 'dressed' for the camera, acting out a role in Elizabeth Taylor style dramatics all for the benefit of the camera. For Edie was coy and as such gave the Maysles a production they would not forget as she inwardly hoped this would act as a second audition for her Broadway dream. I adore how through lack of money her outfits became highly improvised as she would wear luxe items such as a mink coat which would be juxtaposed by using a towel as a skirt or head wrap. Her style was daring and unrestrained and was to a great extent character costume, as rather then be restricted by our world she created her own.

Posted by Susan Walsh 


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