Monday, 1 January 2007

What is elegance?

Elegance is a state of mind and a lifestyle. Its outward expression is a reflection of an inner attitude. At the heart of elegance you will find kindness and tolerance; a warmth that is directed towards the self, the other and the world at large. We typically call to mind the lines of Audrey Hepburn when we think of elegance. In truth, elegance informs everything we do; the way we make decisions, the way we conduct relationships and careers, the way we use language, the way we present ourselves to the world. Elegance is unfailingly generous and those who practise it consider their fellows in all their actions. They also make the best use of their selves and talents, while retaining absolute modesty.

Elegance is not a set of affectations and behaviours that we classically associate with the privileged, although the elegant may doff a cap from time to time at etiquette. Elegance never mocks, sneers at or looks down on others. It is not vacuous, arch or superficial.

New Year's Eve

New Year’s Eve is the least elegant night of the year. Fireworks are passed off as art, people drink champagne at the wrong hours and events that should be fun, feel forced. Even parties hosted and attended by the most elegant among us have more than a touch of the inelegant about them with the kissing and toasting at midnight.

In order to spend the night elegantly, one should retire into only the most private company and send wishes to loved ones well in advance of the hyped hour. An interesting meal, a good wine, conversation, perhaps a crossword, a late cognac and a kiss on the cheek is all you need to sufficiently coax in a new year.