Modern MuseAuthor - Farage / Date of post - February 22, 2012

To have ‘it’ the fortunate possessor must have that strange magnetism which attracts both sexes.  ‘It’ is a purely virile quality, belonging to a strong character … there must be a physical attraction, but beauty is unnecessary…

Judging by the current crop, you could be forgiven for thinking the ‘It Girl’ must be born with a Cartier spoon in her mouth. Not the case – rather it was Clara Bow, an accidental Hollywood starlet, who was thrust into fame in the 1920’s as a notably un-posh shop assistant in the aptly titled film ‘It’.  The 1927 Paramount movie sees a department store owner become infatuated with one of his ‘pert and unabashed’ employees (Bow), a possessor of ‘it’.  As the movie took America by storm, the actress became inseparable from her role in the public imagination and Bow became known as the ‘It Girl’.  Hedonistic, warm, earthy and working class she was the perfect emblem for the post-war, pre-depression era & the public adored her…


“I never saw her not grab anyone’s attention, the hair, the makeup, the crispness. You were never conscious of what she was wearing; you noticed Babe and nothing else.”

Perhaps one of fashion’s most revered ‘It Girls’ Babe Paley was neither outrageous nor controversial but her influence on fashion has been enduring… Her confidant Truman Capote once famously commented, “Babe Paley had only one fault: she was perfect; otherwise, she was perfect”. The one time editor of US Vogue continues to be a style icon more than 30 years after her death: Her look combined classic items – trouser suits, crisp shirts – with a pristine obsessive neatness that somehow contrived to look effortless.


“She must be entirely unselfconscious… indifferent to the effect she is producing.  Self consciousness destroys ‘It’ immediately”

Fashion’s latest It Girl, Alexa Chung has been referred to by Vogue Editor Anna Wintour as ‘a phenomenon’. Her unique sense of style and passion for tailoring has designers mesmerized and the public captivated. Karl Lagerfeld has described her as “beautiful and clever … a modern girl” and perhaps cementing her iconic status in the pages of fashion history, Luxury British Label Mulberry has named a sought after bag ‘Alexa’. Yet perhaps doing little other than to reaffirm our fascination, despite all of the attention Chung shrugs off the idea that she is an original, “a lot of my friends dress like this so I feel somewhat bad that I have made a career out of it.”

Encapsulating the spirit of her times the It Girl “reflects the energy of fashion in the moment”. From Clara Bow to Marianne Faithful; Babe Paley to Audrey Hepburn & Kate Moss to Alexa Chung, she has continued to infiltrate the public consciousness for generations and based on NY Fashion week’s front row for many more …


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