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A pale reflection of Madame Dariaux's original 1964 classic!
on 5 July 2014
I'm fortunate to still have my copy of Madame Dariaux's Elegance which was given to me by my mother in the 1960s. It has been my bible of style ever since. I bought this expecting it to be an up-date of the original, designed to bring it firmly into the 21st century. It isn't. It's a highly abbreviated version of the original (which was quite a weighty tome), but what remains is based on advice written fifty years ago, so not entirely appropriate to the present-day (who, for example, changes out of a business suit into an afternoon dress, on to a cocktail dress,and finally a dinner dress??) What's more, this version was published in the US, so the translation contains vaguely annoying American spelling and vocabulary which sit somewhat discordantly with the elegant language Madame actually used. (It has also been very sloppily proof-read. Spelling and grammar mistakes abound, which are somehow doubly shocking in a book about elegance!!!) All-in-all therefore, my advice would be to seek out an original from 1964 (they're still out there,and often cost just a few pence) knowing that it WILL be charmingly dated - the advice on "glove etiquette" is guaranteed to raise a smile in 2014! - but so is this sad volume, and at least the original will be complete and devoid of obvious Americanisms!