Those who project it and understand it are rare, for to be glamorous one must have charm and be sensitive and passionate at the same time. One must be inundated with stamina and blessed with a brilliant sense of humor. One must have the capacity for recognizing beauty and know when to add to it the sparkle and the movement that will give it life. And lastly, one must have that priceless knack of being able to distinguish good taste from ostentation and romance from sex appeal.
Romance and sex appeal are perhaps the two most important ingredients to the image of glamor. By romance, we mean adventure, courage, imagination and a certain amount of sin. By sex appeal, it is anybody's idea, but generally it concerns something or someone with what the world chooses to call "good looks."
The world loves glamor, it needs glamor. Ian Fleming knew all there was to know about it. His James Bond became the most glamorous fictional character of our times, the whoIe world responding in wild enthusiasm to the crazy nonsense of his books.
But we have seen this need for glamor, not only with James Bond, but also with 'Gone with the Wind', with 'My Fair Lady', with 'The Bridge on the River Kwai', and with many other books and shows that in the same style have given to the world the fun and the beauty and the magic that we all want to believe exists.
The love of glamor in personalities was never more obvious than in the incredible popularity and admiration that the late President Kennedy and his wife awoke wherever they went. In what Maria Callas has done for the opera and in what Margot Fonteyn and Nureyev have done for the ballet.
Glamor, being an image, does not apply to people only, although it is created by people. A hat, a dress, a house, a sport, any of those things can inspire in us that sensation of beauty and fun and romance that is in glamor.
Schiaparelli knew how to make a dress look glamorous. And so can Balenciaga and Norell and Marie Bohan and Castillo and every one of the great dressmakers who has worked all his life for the beauty of women. Unhappily, of late, in women's fashions there has been a tendency to glamorize all women hated when they were children. A girl's first dream is to be a woman, to look like a woman. To be able to be rid forever of those horrible woolen stockings and those ghastly flat heeled shoes. To own a pretty dress that will show her figure and attract the men. What the little girl wants is, in fact, to be glamorous. And where is the glamor in looking like a retarded schoolgirl?
Today, it is disheartening to see how people responsible for keeping the image of glamor alive either in fashion or entertainment prefer to disenchant us by encouraging the crude and uninspiring side of life. It is as if those people were afraid of looking old or being thought of as old by the mere fact of pronouncing the word glamor.
Glamoros people have always existed, even more so in the past than they do today. Sometimes they were there for a decade like that famous Prince of Wales, later Edward VIII and now the Duke of Windsor. There were the maharajahs from India and the Foreign Legion and Garbo and Dietrich and Mrs. Reginald Fellows. And later, there were Marilyn Monroe, Gary Cooper, Ernest Hemingway and Ali Khan and many others who have either died or just faded away. But almost anyone with any kind of talent or fortune worked to glamorize their personality or surroundings.
The Duchess of Windsor glamorizes whatever she touches, as does the Countess Edward von Bismark. Alexandre, the Paris hairdresser, can convert the saddest hunch of hair into the most glamorous head, just as Yul Brynner has done the same for a hairless one.
Cole Porter wrote the most glamorous songs, and sung by Sinatra they became even more so. A little shop in St. Tropez had the idea of the bikini and worn by Brigitte Bardot it became the most glamoros two bits of material ever seen. The Beatles without those Edwardian clothes and manners which they featured when they started, would not, I think, have achieved the success they have today. They were different, they were glamoros. But even they have changed.
What is killing glamor? ls it wars or is it money? Why have hats gone out of fashion? Why have good manners hecome a thing of the past? Why must one be almost ashamed of being decent?
The sad sequel to this modern way of thinking and living is the lamentable vulgarity that is beginning to overpower us, forcing us to accept the dangerous concept that freedom of speech is more important than knowledge. That luck and publicity can replace ability and learning. That there can be lasting success without effort, and that pleasure can be found without adventure.