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A Guide to Elegance: For Every Woman Who Wants to Be Well and Properly Dressed on All Occasions Hardcover


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow (July 27, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060757345
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060757342
  • Product Dimensions: 1.8 x 2.8 x 0.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (113 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #16,395 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

'Reprinted with an ironic twinkle.' Observer 'Charming and entertaining!The perfect gift for anyone who fancies themselves a cut above Trinny and Susannah's sartorial sniping.' Express Featured as one of the 'Books of 2003' in the Daily Mail, The Times and the Independent. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Madame Genevieve Antoine Dariaux spent most of her life in Paris, and now lives in the south of France. Even as a child she preferred to accompany her mother to the dressmaker's rather than go to the movies. Her talent for design and making costume jewelry led her to open her own fashion house, and her success eventually took her to Nina Ricci, where she was the directrice for many years.


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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

275 of 279 people found the following review helpful By Kimberley Wilson on September 10, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I hate to admit but since I bought Elegance and started following its advice I look much better. People have actually stopped to comment. Although I'm cringing (what did I look like before?) it has been fun to get the compliments. Madam Dariaux was a designer, a director of Nina Rici and a fashion writer. She arranged the book in alphabetical format with instructions and observations about everything from alligator bags to materntiy wear. The editors have updated the book just a tiny bit but it does no harm. It's like having your own stylist.
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100 of 106 people found the following review helpful By J. Goodwin on December 22, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Yes Yes Yes! I was given the original by my mother long, long ago. Every page was a revelation. As one's appearance speaks so emphatically about one, I can't think of any gift more useful to a young woman about to take her place in the world. However, Madame Dariaux has sage wisdom and common sense advice for women of any age. Who knew that being elegant was really so very simple! And it's certainly not money that creates elegance. I wish that this book had been given to more women, especially those that have made careers in the entertainment industry. Ahem. In any case, I look forward to reading the updated version of "Elegance". And I, too, am delighted that the author is alive, well and thriving. She is truly one of my idols. I would give many more stars were they available.
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166 of 182 people found the following review helpful By vintageguitar on April 12, 2005
Format: Hardcover
While true style never goes out of fashion, I found some of Ms. Dariaux's advice to be a bit old fashioned. As a plus size woman I prefer to wear clothing that skims my curves instead of the trapeze styles that she suggests. Why should I hide my curves beneath a burlap sack? I shudder to think what she would think of me, a single woman of 42, who decided to buy her own diamonds and other precious stones instead of waiting for her only piece of real jewellery to arrive in the form of an engagement ring. And as an African American woman, well, her suggestion that dark lipsticks are out of style--hmmm, let's just say that my dark skin just isn't going to carry off the light pinks and mauves that she insists we wear.

At any rate, she's made some good points, but not all of them are going to apply universally to every woman who picks up her book.
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62 of 65 people found the following review helpful By Miss De Zilwa on November 15, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This book is a rather dangerous little flower. It appears to be very sweet and innocent, but before you know it, Madame has you following her every word. This book makes What Not to Wear seem careless. Madame advises on "everything" and even though this edition has been recently revised,it still is rather rigid and old-fashoned. On the other hand, if you already posess some taste and personality,it is a wonderful source of inspiration to never let our modern times get in the way of glamour. The glamour of simplicity,that is. And as a lover of all things retro, I can definitely recommend this book as a how-to on retro dress.
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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful By True Fashionista on May 13, 2007
Format: Hardcover
As a professional designer I am always looking for gifts and books to recommend to my clients. This book is one of my favorites for its sense of wit and surprisingly accurate information. I have lived in London, Paris and Los Angeles and can promise that elegant women have changed very little over the past 40 years. There is definitely more diversity permitted, but elegance as a reflection of charm, refinement and economy have not changed much at all. Elegant women are neither showy, nor trendy, nor cheap. An elegant woman would not frivolously waste money at fast fashion retailers such as Forever 21 nor would they be caught dead dressed inappropriately for the situation. In our current culture of self absorbed me me me, it is nice to reflect on a time when giving care to ones appearance was a way of giving to others, helping others to be at ease and projecting the sense that you have assigned a certain amount of importance to being with them. Although the truly elegant woman is a vanishing bird, use this guide to assure it's recovery. There is no greater experience than to be in the presence of a woman whose appearance provides a subtle backdrop to her sparkling and charismatic personality. When you needn't worry about your appearance, you are free to express your personality and charms without worry.
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59 of 64 people found the following review helpful By Natalia Ilyin on January 28, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
One of the many great things here is the author's attitude toward women of all ages. When this book was originally published, in the early Sixties, real clothes and real elegance were the province of the woman over forty. She had money, taste, and the experience to use both to her advantage. How different from our situation, now.
Currently, we expect a girl-child to wear sexy clothes at 8, charge out of the adolescent gates as a perfect little woman at 14. She'll run through her twenties, slow in her thirties, disappear off the course by forty. She has fallen by the demographic wayside.

In our era, beauty is inexorably bound to giving the impression of carrying viable eggs. Mass markets and "Made in China" labels ensure an abundance of cookie-cutter clothes, but care nothing for individual style. Imagine a time when you had no size-- when clothes were made to fit you, not the reverse. This book is from that time. A lovely, strong woman, Madame Antoine-Dariaux's voice is not just wry and intelligent-- it's subversive.
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