“I was interested in the arts but more in the art of living. Which left fashion, which in the broadest sense is our oldest art.” -Oleg Cassini
I picked up Oleg Cassini’s biography today in a used bookstore. Reading things like this help me remember why I chose fashion not only as a career, but as my life.
When I think of Oleg, I know him as the man who dressed Jacqueline Kennedy for her White House years. However, reading this book helps you to understand what a fashion master he is. Some of the most glamorous women let him dress them because he would become a confidant and friend who really understood style. Considered the Dr.Feelgood of culture, Oleg would analyze their assets and give advice on how the woman should present herself to the world. Besides learning of the history he made (not looking at the designs in Paris and becoming the first American Designer to gain inspiration from America, being the first to name clothing girl’s names instead of numbers, being a celebrity designer, and being one of the first to use black models) the book tells great tales of what an extraordinary life Oleg lived. Being born as a count and rubbing elbows in Hollywood during its most glamorous years, Oleg breathed style, as well as fun and dedication, into every aspect of his life. Besides being a fashion genius, I also consider him a brilliant person for understanding life and the behaviors of people. You can take a crash course of Oleg’s appeal at www.olegcassini.com or pick up your own copy of his autobiography for less than a dollar on Amazon.
Every few pages, Oleg writes something that makes so much sense, it takes my breath away. Here are a few of my favorites:
“I was dealing with a form of knowledge that most men don’t even know exists. I had the power to envision women as they wanted to be seen; to help them create fantasies about themselves.”
This quote was said by Prince Matchabelli, who created a fragrance empire. Oleg started his own line with this thought in mind: “When the customer comes to you in a Rolls-Royce, you go home in the subway; but when the customer comes to you in the subway, you go home in the Rolls-Royce.”
“Indeed, this-I have always believed-was the essence, the definition of style: feeling that no effort at all had been expended in selecting the paisley tie and checkered jacket that just happened to go together perfectly….an attitude of je ne sais quoi, of casual abandon, of effortless grace.”