As fashion fades, style remains

love-opera-victoria-baker“Fashion fades, only style remains” said Coco Chanel. With the myriad choices in the fashion market today that’s really something to think about.

We’ve become too obsessed with brands these days.We don’t always wear them because we like them but rather because they represent a lifestyle we aspire to. I’m always on the lookout out for interesting, new designers because I like clothes that are not instantly recognized by everyone.

When the designer is too familiar I feel like I’m a walking advertisement and I’m a staunch advocate of the old adage “The woman makes the dress and not vice versa.”

In the spirit of coming across interesting pieces that are hard to come by, I made a great discovery. The Mayflower Grace is a relais & chateaux hotel and spa with a sensational restaurant and world famous spa. But few people know about their specially curated gift shop.

Everything is hand-selected by the dashing store-manager, Abdo Ballester, who got his start at the Plaza Hotel. His offerings range from vintage Chanel handbags to Loro Piana raincoats for the spring and his conversation is as sparkling as his wares.

From beautiful coats to cashmere shawls and vintage jewelry this is the place to relish in the joys of shopping with personal attention. I love to meander over there after a trip to the spa: fully relaxed and in a meditative space, shopping seems like a natural next step. Well, not really- but it works for me.

They also sell the Frette linens that are used in the Mayflower rooms. It may be pricey but worth every penny. There’s nothing like Frette linens to make you sleep like a baby.

Nobody understood the importance of finding one’s own style better than Coco Chanel herself. Today, she is a fashion icon but in the early days she was a rebel. Her short hair, loose fitting dresses and pants created uproar when she first appeared on the scene.

Fashion, which may seem so trivial at first glance, is really about self-expression. That’s why expensive brands, and the way they sometimes seem like luxury uniforms, can sometimes feel like the antithesis of personal style and self-expression.

Wherever your style sensibilities may lie, part of the fun is the process of shopping. My favorite is online because I love endless choices and I hate waiting in line. But every once in a while a store like the one at the Mayflower Grace will pique my interest. There are never long lines and always an interesting gamut of styles. Whether you’re in the mood for Chanel or Frette linens, the important thing is to follow your instinct: fashion fades, only style remains.


Victoria Baker, of Greenwich, is an opera singer. Winner of many prestigious competitions, she has performed and worked with distinguished artists all over the world (notably at Lincoln Center). Should you have any questions that deserve answers and may be in print please call 203-531-7499 or e-mail [email protected]

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