How Coco Chanel saved my life.

naamloosFor a few weeks now, I’ve been searching inspiration. Life is a continuous boom and bust cycle of inspiration and motivation. Sometimes you burst into a million rich colors and other times you are left with only grey tones. When you get trapped in the bust and the colored ink has run out it is very difficult to boom again. You might be thinking I am talking about the professional side of life like one’s career. Nevertheless, let me tell you there is no such thing as different sides of life – everything is interconnected.

Emotions drive success and failure in many ways, one just has to learn to use them in a wise way to gain success and avoid failure. This, of course, is easier said than done. When one’s mind and emotions are hindered by life circumstances or tragic events and hope is gone, grey is the only color left to work with. This doesn’t mean grey can’t be the bearer of these lost colors. Let me explain myself.

How did I come to this idea?

 A while back I had broken up with my first big love. He left and took all the colors out of my life, just like that. Every day that past, the grey left behind tormented me, it made me cry myself to sleep. Then, one day, I woke up and asked the grey to call back my colors. I asked the grey to give me back my love. My endless hope made me suffer because I expected something that I had lost forever and would never come back.

Loosing myself happened effortlessly but finding the lost Julia has been a search to no avail. I spent my days looking for any kind of distraction; as for being alone with my thoughts would be the end of me. Countless movies on Netflix were not enough to help me through my healing process, so I began to read instead. I read many novels and every time I finished one I went in search of another. The second hand bookstore at the corner of my street was my temporal savior. One evening, in search of a new novel to read, I came across the biography of Coco Chanel. Her life has inspired me and that is why I’m writing this blog post today. The French fashion designer who had revolutionized the female clothing style of the 20th century and had remained a prolific fashion creator even after her death has changed my way of thinking.

Chanel’s life was an endless process of suffering. She was left orphan at a young age because her mother had passed away and her father had decided to abandon her. All her lovers, including the love of her life, Boy Capel, had abandoned her with a broken heart several times. Still she remained strong. Mademoiselle Chanel was able to turn all that grief and heartache into motivation to pursue her one passion: fashion. Designing was her continuous escape to the injuries of life  and this eventually made her great.

Thank you Mademoiselle Chanel for saving me from the grey. You are my great example in life. This bust i’m going through today is slowly coming to an end thanks to you. Chanel, you are my inspiration, the one who brought back the colors in my life.

Fashion and Style are a Lifestyle

“And I think there’s a difference between being childish and keeping a quality that’s childlike. I’m very grown up in a lot of ways, but I think that’s so sad – it’s good to maintain a sense of wonder.” (Iris Apfel, qtd. in The Guardian).

Watching the documentary Iris I got inspired by the youthful and passionate mind of the American fashion icon. With her 94-years of age she is still mind blown by her profession, which keeps her busy most of the time. Her spirit is what makes her young and her extravagant outfits show the uniqueness of her style.

“It is better to be happy than well-dressed” she states, giving fashion a broader and more encompassing meaning than what ordinary trends say about what can be denominated “stylish” and what is seen as “passé”. Shop where everyone shops and you’ll be one more individual in the crowd, but follow Iris’ advice and you’ll find the best way to stand out feeling comfortable with yourself. Coming back to the opening quote, I wanted to add that fashion is an art, one of many, but nevertheless it takes creativity and insight. Wonder will always lead you to try out new challenges, maybe changing your view on the attributed meaning given to the outside world. This gives you the opportunity to create something genius no one else has thought of because others simply follow the crowd.

After watching her documentary and finding out her strategy of shopping and creating outfits, I started experimenting with that. She goes to random markets, and second-hand shops where she finds peculiar artifacts that give the unique touch to her outfits. So I started doing the same and I found myself loving the process. Creating the perfect outfit had now become an adventure, never knowing what exactly I was looking for but always bumping into items that end up being the ‘cherry-on-top” of my fashion creations. The work pays off when you finally get to wear your creation; that is the most exciting part for me.

I encourage people to get out there experimenting! You can do it simply for fun, if you are bored, or maybe if you have an identity crisis, this would be the perfect way to try and find yourself. And then for all the fashion addicts out there like me, fashion is a way of life, when are we not shopping?