Of all the eccentric older women currently having a fashion moment, I like Tziporah Salamon the best. Perhaps it is because I once saw her once on a New York street, as brilliant as a bird of paradise amidst her darkly clad compatriots. She made a big impression on me. When I saw she had just published a book, I immediately got it from the library.
This beautifully photographed volume is many things—the story of Salamon’s life, an overview of her fashion philosophy, a guide to how she finds her clothes, and an introduction to similarly inclined older women. She has an interesting life story. The daughter of Holocaust survivors, she was born in Israel to a tailor father and dressmaker mother. Her family came to the US when she was nine. She takes the reader through her many jobs, from therapist, to teacher, to waitress, to sales clerk. Throughout all of it, she collected textiles and used them to create original outfits.
Although Salamon’s style is something I would never want to emulate, her look appeals to me because of its inherent harmony. Many times in the book she compares her outfits to paintings. She focuses on a color scheme and theme and then builds her clothes and accessories around them. This gives her a more coordinated appearance, at least to my eye, than someone like Iris Apfel. Beautiful textiles are always at the center of her creations.
Unlike many of the other women featured in the book, Salamon never had the money to buy a collection of designer clothes. Instead she went for vintage treasures sought out at flea markets, thrift stores, and resale shops. She advocates getting to know the sellers at favorite outlets. One thrift store manager put aside an entire collection of antique kimonos from the estate of the wealthy matron because she knew Salamon would appreciate them.
Tziporah Salamon considers dressing well to be her mission in life. It is not mine, and this book did not convince me to change my ways. But I would really love to take a trip through her closet.