My favorite blog, The Vintage Traveler, recently shared a link to a long appreciation of Carmel Snow, the revolutionary editor of Harper’s Bazaar from 1933 to 1957. Snow was famous for her phrase “Elegance is good taste, plus a dash of daring.” In The World of Carmel Snow, she mentions some of her bold fashion choices, like wearing a red suit to her daughter’s wedding, “a very elegant short red brocade suit with a white ermine hat, and I’ve been happy to see my break with tradition followed by other fashion-conscious mothers since then.”(175) Perhaps you had to be there. In most photos, I think she looks like a tastefully dressed wealthy woman of her time, favoring Balenciaga suits and small hats. I couldn’t find the daring.
That is, until I saw this photo of some kind of evening fashion event. That’s Diana Vreeland next to her with the notepad. (The blog where I found it offers no photo credit, and I couldn’t locate its source on my own.) Look at that boldly striped top, with sequins forming the stripes, and a sharply contrasting animal print bag. Her outfit looks daring for 1940 and quite contemporary for today.
If you are interested in learning more about this influential woman of fashion, take a look at the fascinating biography, A Dash of Daring: Carmel Snow and her Life in Fashion, Art and Letters by Penelope Rowlands.