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  • Writer's pictureAlyssa Chen

Play with Contrast- let’s be rebellious!

Updated: May 10, 2021

Recently Chanel launches a series of advertising campaign for its new Gabrielle bag, in which four celebrities are invited to interpret the connection with the bag in their own style.

To be honest, I am not too impressed with either the bag or the series of ad- even though they are from the omnipotent Karl Lagerfeld. The only thing that attracts me at the first glance is Caroline de Maigret, one of the celebrities in this series of ad whom I am not familiar with at all, for her careless yet charismatic style.

Caroline de Maigre in Chanel ad

Then I googled her. From what I found, she is a famous model, muse, music (rock-and-roll) producer and co-author of “How to be Parisian Wherever You are.” In 2015, she designed makeup kit for Lancôme. Meanwhile, she worked on a documentary about women’s education in India.

Caroline is not pretty from a mainstream point of view- her nose looks a bit big. Rather than calling her beautiful , “androgynous” could be a better word. Her signature is the frizzy hair with long fringe. Quite often she appears in public occasions with her makeup-free face with obvious dark circles. To promote her book, this sexy Parisian icon produces a funny video to illustrate how typical Parisians are like.

It’s not my interest to talk about why Parisians are attractive as too many people have done that. Plus, I strongly believe that everyone’s unique and thus copying the so-called Parisian style will not make you the same (for example, I don’t believe that frizzy hair and makeup-free face are for everyone to look sexy!) What I love to do is to steal some inspirations from these icons and personalize them to make these good qualities like what you are born with.

To me, Caroline’s one-of-the-kind sexiness comes from her careless attitude! There’s an imperfection on her outlook, but it’s done in an intentional approach to delivery such carelessness. Why is it interesting? Because when the perfection is predicable, cliche and boring, breaking some rules could be refreshing and surprising.

Applying to styling, personally I love silhouettes with contrast in details to break rules. The designer who masters contrast is Miuccia Prada- her collections always mix impossible elements and patterns- very quirky, “sometimes ugly” (cited Giorgio Armani) yet one cannot deny that they break fashion stereotype by dazzling your eyes, convey a strong attitude and inspire us to explore the mix-and-match possibilities.

In daily life, being rebellious is never easy. There are thousands of reasons for us to compromise to our work, our roles and money. However, I always believe that fashion can be a form of expression. If your style contains a certain attitude, it will give you an strength to move to that direction bit by bit.

Here are some easy starters to make the contrast in style: just marrying two opposite concepts!

Sober (tweed jackets) meets casual (denim jeans, cap)

Gucci style

Elegant (print dress in chiffon/silk) meets Grungy (leather jacket, sneaker, military jacket, sweatshirt)

sweet rebellion style

Something private (lingerie, pajama) meets anything else (suits, statement jewelry,denim)

lingering layering
Gigi Hadid Pajama outfit

Print meets check

ballerina styling

Androgynous: Feminine (ruffles, pearl) meets Masculine (wide pants, pointy slip-on sneaker)

dandy style
Instagram ©alyssanifatitti

They don’t all look that difficult as you thought, right? Maybe some of them have been incorporated in your daily outfits without awareness. So keep the spirit, be daring, and enjoy the experiment. Bonne chance!

P.S. I strongly believe that the same principle applying to men too. So there might be a coming one for men. Stay tuned!!


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