On Elegance

Photo by Mango Studios

Photo by Mango Studios

By Crystal Adair-Benning

Elegance is a word that gets used far too quickly and without much thought or care these days where images of barely-there Met Gala gowns and haute couture creations have us swooning for all the wrong reasons. Gone, or so it seems, are the days of grace where Ava Gardner, Grace Kelly and Princess Diana were the epitome of what true elegance really was. Elegance is an embodiment of grace, a return to manners linked in tradition, timeless, stylish and polished. Elegance, my friends, is not a word to be used lightly or thoughtlessly. It’s so much more than that.

In today’s modern world, we’re fast-paced. Why leave a voicemail when a text will do? Why write a letter when there’s email? I’m here to say “abandon all devices ye who seek elegance and grace”. This, does not mean, to throw away your electronics. It simply means to use them, and all things, with elegance. Choose personal interaction over technology. Grace your guests with an active participant, confidante, friend of acquaintance. Choose to live present, be present, be personable.

Elegance can, and should, be actively sought in our society. A recent trip to Hugo Nicholson of Hazelton Ave in Yorkville caught my attention for something so charming, yet lacking, in today’s society - thoughtful attention. In other words - elegance. From the delightful storefront boasting luxury stylish pieces to the personal consultant in a stunning backdrop, I was transported.

Hugh Nicholson is a reminder of how elegance is timeless. Trends may come and go but good manners, individualized attention and luxurious goods will always remain. Meeting, Hugo Nicholson owners, Eleanor and Carole, is a lesson in passion. These ladies hand touch, handpick and know the finest details about every piece carried in their studio. There is no finer elegance than knowing the intimate details of the fabric on your skin, the gems adorning it or the reason a certain hem was cut a specific way. Elegance, my friends is in the details.

For women like Eleanor and Carole, elegance is a lost art that so desperately needs a revival in our society. It’s owning that occasions should be celebrated with dignity, refinement and good taste. You should never attend a formal event, like the Opera, persay, without a formal gown, custom suit or tails. Likewise, an outdoor picnic may not require a ballgown. It’s opening yourself up to your surroundings and dressing for the occasion.

In today’s modern world, I feel we could all use a bit more of Hugo Nicholson’s elegance. Showcased in a two-storey brownstone nestled in Yorkville, it isn’t presumptious or overwhelcoming, you don’t come here to be seen but to be adorned and adored. Doted on in a private, quiet and elegant experience of encountering fashion... and don’t we all deserve that?