There's no point in hating Nancy's fashion

Shelagh McKinlay thinks it’s a good thing that Nancy Dell’Olio won’t be tied down in the style stakes.

By Zoe Zahra 27/06/2012 15:54

Nancy Dell’Olio Image Doug Peters/EMPICS Entertainment

At last night’s Serpentine Summer Gallery Party the wonder that is Nancy Dell’Olio stole the limelight in a tight, white, halter-neck frock and spangly silver headdress.


Rocking a look that was half Cleopatra, half collapsible kitchen colander, the divine Miss D’O once again demonstrated her fearless approach to personal style.


Unfortunately, the consensus of today’s headlines appeared to be that her space age take on ancient Egypt had left her up the Nile without a fashionable paddle.  Her critics saw her outfit as bizarre, inappropriate and outlandish.


Like that’s a bad thing.


She is a wonder of nature, a law unto herself, she is, quite possibly, not even human


The point is, that where Nancy’s signature look is concerned, there is no good and bad. You might as well criticise the dress sense of the QE2 or the Himalayas. The normal rules just don’t apply. She is a wonder of nature, a law unto herself, she is, quite possibly, not even human. She is simply, Nancy.


This is a woman who has said of herself ; “Women and men, they both love me and this is because I am the kindest person I know.” and “I know I’m fascinating.” Her self-belief is so potent she makes you want to send Lady Gaga to assertiveness training. 


Is Nancy a positive role model of female empowerment? That’s a tricky one. She’s a successful woman with an enviable “don’t give a damn” attitude. But then again, a little bit of self- awareness can come in handy if, like most of us, your life is not an endless round of dictating important legal documents in satin pyjamas and an eye-mask, while a manservant moisturises your elbows.


I’ve certainly wondered whether she is in fact acting out an elaborate and never-ending prank


Some might say that Nancy is simply deluded. At times I’ve certainly wondered whether she is in fact acting out an elaborate and never-ending prank, just to see how far she can take this persona of super-human self-confidence, before we all get the joke and burst out laughing.


But it is very refreshing to see a woman, an older woman at that, with such fierce faith in her own choices, fashion or otherwise. In an age when we are subject to so much scrutiny about the way that we look, it’s good to be reminded of the power of pleasing yourself.


Who knows what makes her tick?  In the end, I don’t really care why she is the way she is. I like the way she just “is”. 


Shelagh McKinlay is a writer and mother. Her interests include, politics, eating peanut butter with a spoon and George Clooney.
Follow Shelagh on Twitter @Shequeen
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