• Sat, Jan 28 2012

81 Years Of Style: French Writer Colette’s Never Ending Influence On Fashion

Today in 1873 the French writer and provocateur, Colette was born. Along with her phenomenal writing ability and the impact she made on the literary world, she also impressed upon her generation (and those that followed) the importance of being true to yourself now matter what others and society may have to say.

Throughout her life Colette had several affairs with women, one of whom was legendary entertainer Josephine Baker, at a time when open homosexuality was almost unheard of. During a performance entitled “Rêve d’Égypte,” at the Moulin Rouge, Colette engaged in an onstage kiss with her lover that resulted in a riot, scandal and her being banned from the world-famous cabaret. Not long after this incident, although she was still involved with her female lover, she entered into her second marriage with a man then had an affair with her stepson. Yes, Colette didn’t give a fuck and did what she wanted, how she wanted and when she wanted – the rest of the world be damned.

Her work challenged gender stereotypes of the time, and she wasn’t afraid to take her readers into such taboo areas as hedonism and the world of Parisian courtesans. She was a heroine for all future writers, female writers especially, who would follow and dare to step outside of conventions.

Colette’s contribution to literature and the women’s movement aside, she also made an impression on the fashion world. As with her writing, her idea of fashion and feminine attire was unique and ahead of its time. Let’s look at some of her fashion choices and who may have been influenced by her since.

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