Portmanteau Commentary: Harvey Nichols Hosts a “Classy” Dinner

Last week Lucy Yeomans and Sophia Neophitou hosted a private dinner at Harvey Nichols in celebration of the newest courtesy book to join the ranks of historically and culturally poignant behavioral books – “Classy – Exceptional Advice for the Extremely Modern Lady” by Derek Blasberg. With his impressive fashion based background ranging from publishing for Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, W, V Magazine, Interview, The Sunday Times and Conde Nast’s Style.com and a collection of a fashionistas with a wide fan base, this book is setting itself out to be a must-read even if it is to chuckle at silly quotes or more innocently, to read up a few stories of rags to riches to red carpet (quite literally) and dream that “modern” American Dream.
Burping may bring you glory according to Jonathan Swift’s “Tale of a Tub”‘s Aeolists (if one would like to consider themselves as a fool reader), and the oldest English courtesy book dating back to the 13th century, the “Book of the Civilized Man” by Daniel of Beccles outlines that “If you wish to belch, remember to look up to the ceiling.” So burping can’t be quite wrong, right? Right? Uh…
I’m sure we can come to agree that despite the amusement and historical factor of these books, when it comes to such social constitutions as fleeting as social manners, it is quite pivotal to have a regular update every few centuries or so (at the least). In many cases, they will help future generations understand not only the details of etiquette, but also the implications such etiquette have about the culture and understanding of what was deemed higher society in general.
With his firm belief that “At the end of the day, even the unclassiest girls can become classy” one does wonder whether there has been an adjustment to the understanding of the word and meaning “classy”. Yes, we saw that Lindsay Lohan can look ladylike on the cover of Vanity Fair before her stint in jail, that whichever childhood or background you come from, you can “get to the top” where you’ll be perfectified by a horde of stylists, make-up artists and hairdressers. Does that mean class? Perhaps not, but for the sake of a fashion based book with the assumption that looking classy (plus having your manners roughly in check) means you are classy, let’s say yes. Derek Blasberg provides a handbook with quotes and secrets from “all the socialites”, and may be confusing fame with class, but maybe this is the new definition of the word or the new understanding of what is deemed high class today.
However, pulling in the extremest examples that overshadow all the hard working and well mannered people working in fashion isn’t entirely fair. Take Anna Wintour for example. Do you think she should have a peak into what this book promises to be? Do you think she really needs to? Would you classify her sharp but real tongue to be “unclassy” or does it suddenly not matter because of her position? “Classy” sounds to be a very fun book to read where, I am sure, the structure, hierarchies and real rules of today’s fashion culture will come across if the words aren’t taken by their literal meaning and am even more certain, will provide a an actual insight to this mad world we call the fashion industry.
Apart from the fact that modernity is strictly speaking a historical time frame that was taking place around the time of the Industrial Revolution and that the late 20th was, technically speaking, post-modernity, one must go with the given lingo even if I do think that the “Extremely Modern Lady” Derek Basberg is referring to might actually be the the “Extremely Post – Modern Lady” since the extremely modern lady is actually one from the last century as, one could argue, is the concept of the “American Dream”, which underlies the rags to riches storyline. But of course, this doesn’t sound as good, so I’m going to put aside such technicalities for now and celebrate the star studded launch, most namely Alexa Chung in that beautiful leather skirt outfit (see how quickly I abandon all reason and argumentative tendencies just to celebrate fashion?).

Back to the point, here are the nitty gritty detail of where you may purchase the discussed book: The US No. 1 Bestseller ‘CLASSY’ by Derek Blasberg is exclusively available at Harvey Nichols for £9.99
(This article was published on LDNfashion.net)