Why do we like what we like? Is it learned? genetic? A mix of both? I distinctly remember, when I was about ten years old, telling my mother that I would NEVER have antique furniture or Oriental carpets. “I am going to have wall to wall carpeting and all modern furniture,” I stated adamantly.
And, while my passion for wall to wall carpeting abated sometime in the late 80s, I still do have very different style from hers. My sister, on the other hand, always loved my parents’ style and decorated her home in a very similar fashion to them. And, in a genetic twist that further proves my point, my first cousin has my mom and sister’s taste as well!
This leads me to believe that, in addition to special talents and temperaments, quirks and foibles, style is highly genetic. Now, I’m not sure exactly where I got my passion for bright colors or love for glamour but I’d be willing to bet that someone in my lineage had a similar bent.
As a big fan of Missoni, I found it interesting a while back to discover that the Missoni women (grandmother, mother and daughter) all have the same taste. A preference for a certain aesthetic runs deep in their veins. (Lucky for the rest of us, huh?)
I also tend to think that our sense of style is broader than just a love of a certain type of furniture or a certain color scheme. This point was driven home to me one day when I was looking at several images I’d put up on the wall in my walk-in closet. Three images, of quite different types, sat right next to each other. They were all things that fascinated me at one time or another.
The photos were of The Delano Hotel, Duran Duran and Marion Cotilliard.
(The above photo and the Marion Cotilliard photo below are the same photos I have hanging in my closet.)
First of all, I had such an intense visual reaction to Duran Duran the first time I saw them. Like many other girls my age, I was infatuated with their whole image, music and general aura. To this day, I still find them attractive. They have all aged so gracefully!
Next to the Duran Duran photo was a photo of something else that caught my fancy in the late 90s and never let go. The Delano Hotel. The billowing white curtains, the incredible verandas, the Alice & Wonderland garden and pool…my head literally went spinning the first time I set foot in it.
Here is a fun little utube video of Samantha Brown from The Travel Channel there.
And then there was the photo of Marion Cotilliard, an actress I have, to be honest, never seen on screen. I put up the photo because there was something about her that was terribly familiar and fabulous at the same time. Something French? Something 20s? Something mysterious.
When I look at all of these pictures together, I see myself. I mean, I see a theme that reflects my true style gene. When we look at the world, it is through wonderfully unique glasses. And sometimes, it’s interesting to stop and reflect on why we are reacting to things the way that we are.
To wrap this up, I wanted to include a little ditty from “Style Statement: Live by your own design,” a spectacular book by Carrie McCarthy and Danielle LaPorte. If you want an energized life, in full color, with surround sound, you’ve got to dive into yourself. Only the self-referencing thrive. We rarely think twice about what we’re attracted to. But what floats our boat – and why – is the zillion dollar question.