Last night during the Northeast’s first snow storm, I went back and read a profile on Lee Radziwill in T Magazine from 2013 (the reason I keep magazines, because going back can be so good). While the conversation she has with Nicky Haslam is fairly dishy, what struck me most was designer Giambattista Valli’s (who is a friend of Lee’s) words on her.
“Synthèse in the French Rationalist meaning of the term, is the word that immediately comes to mind when thinking about Lee Radziwill. It is a sense of synthesis in every aspect of her life that struck me when I met her…in the way she presents herself to people, in her style, in her silhouette. There is a streamlined essence to her point of view. “Editing” could be the equivalent word in the world of fashion…..She is capable of capturing an art masterpiece or a person with a single adjective. Sharp to the point.”
I love the picture above of Lee at her desk because it speaks to this on the most basic visual level. Lee knows what she loves and is very good at surrounding herself by those things. (And beautiful things she does have.) But it isn’t just an editing of stuff, I see it more as an acute awareness of knowing when to say “no”…..and staying true to what you’re passionate about, from physical objects to ideas and relationships with others. Each decision you make should matter, whether it’s the pens you buy to keep at your desk or the company you keep. It is about having respect for who you are and how you present yourself to the world, because it is also a sign of respect for others. You put your best version of yourself out there in hopes others do the same. I can’t say that I excel at this, but it’s something to strive for–to pay attention to every detail, to make them matter, and to find elegance and beauty in those decisions.