THE STYLE BIBLE | Simon Rademan
South African couturier Simon Rademan has compiled his experiences into a comprehensive style bible that contains elements as diverse as “undergarments”, weight loss, manners, how to spend less at your wedding and 125 tips designed to keep you off his worst-dressed lists (once published in Rapport but now only on his website, so you need not worry unduly).
A curious mixture of both style and elements, the book is presented well, written cleverly and accompanied by line sketches that adeptly capture iconic style moments in history or shape and movement of a garment.
However, it also contains several cringe elements. Among the quotes scattered through the pages – some more relevant than others – are several attributed to the designer himself. And, then there is a quote by Karen Carpenter: “I was just tired of being fat, so I went on a diet.” Carpenter died of heart failure caused by anorexia. It’s clear Rademan is knowledgeable.
Among the prosaic detailing of every textile, celebrity diet and garment known
to (wo)man (skirt, blouse, coat … useful if you’ve just arrived from another galaxy), are fascinating historical details and canny insight into the perpetually changing fashion industry.
However, these (and the excellent chronological style encyclopaedia that
concludes the book), are mired down by banal, somewhat patronising statements, such as “washing one’s hair is not only hygienic and practical; it also has the ability to cure a blue mood”. It attempts to be an all-encompassing manual, but a clearer idea of target market and more editing would have resulted in a more authoritative guide.