13 experts including Julian Fellowes Stanley Tucci and Symone on the definition of good taste
Most people would like to believe they taste good, of course. But could this just be a self-delusion? And what exactly do we mean by “good taste” anyway? In honor of the tasting kit in our October issue, we asked experts to comment on the topic.
Here, find “good taste” as defined by some CGVthe most trusted tasteful friends.
Bruce LaBruce, avant-garde artist and filmmaker
“Good taste has never been a quality to which I aspired. As a provocateur, I find it extremely difficult to provoke people by attacking them with taste. In addition, and in order not to be too Rumsfeldian, we cannot simply invoke the notion of “good taste” without qualifying it. There is good taste and bad taste, just as there is good bad taste and bad taste. Bad good taste could be described as something akin to “pissing elegance,” a pretentious attempt to be discriminating and of great value. In the final analysis, people who espouse their own “good taste” are often timid snobs more interested in conspicuous consumption and flaunting than any real expression of sophistication or style. “
Antwaun Sargent, writer and critic
“As David Hammons once said, ‘A great tailor makes the fewest cuts.'”
Patricia Field, stylist
“When it comes to taste, I’m a little hesitant to join the ranks of snobbery. However, I will offer some simple thoughts on taste in general. 1) Taste is smart because it demands creativity and individuality in its style. 2) It is very important that someone who dresses in an interesting way exhibits the above. In my experience as a director, I have to entrust it to Sarah Jessica Parker, who is very fashion savvy and understands the nuances of an interesting wardrobe.
André Aciman, novelist
“Taste is not a democracy. Not everyone has it. But we are all convinced that we have it and that others do not. There is no standard of taste, there are no rules and our philosophers cannot get along. It is anarchy. And that’s it. “
Julian Fellowes, screenwriter and director
“Good taste on the whole is kind of a colleague with good manners. Manners should be designed so that everyone feels comfortable. And, of course, the point of teaching your children to behave or eat an oyster is not to annoy them but to make them feel comfortable. I feel the same for the taste. I think if your taste is great then it should be great in a way that allows people who are not to appreciate the things that you have. If it’s designed to make them feel small and obscure, then I don’t think it’s tasteful. I think it shows.
Joël Chen, antique dealer
“There are the subjective categories of good and bad taste, but there is also a third category, which is the worst of all: no taste. By that I mean an individual who has never encountered or judged acquisitions. If he buys a sofa, there is no distinction beyond functionality. There are those who live their lives this way, poor or prosperous.
Wendy Goodman, design critic
“Taste is a difficult thing to analyze because it is completely subjective, and although people have spent eons trying to define good taste and denigrate bad taste, the truth is that there is no of truth to what constitutes it either. I would say that taste is not a question of aesthetics but of behavior, conviction and attitude. I admire the extreme passion that can be expressed in extreme aesthetics, like the incredible presentation of herself by the late Italian writer Anna Piaggi as a walking encyclopedia of a unique style. Fashion writer and doll collector Lynn Yaeger is also an extraordinary person who looks extraordinary every moment of the day. These style icons go beyond the representation of taste; they define originality, spirit, commitment and nerve. Taste, as a concept, may be outdated and irrelevant! Style, on the other hand, its declaration of independence, is what matters.
Prince Dimitri, jeweler & author
“Good taste is inseparable from beauty and elegance. If there is neither beauty nor elegance in what you look at, it is in bad taste. This applies to creations as well as to behavior.
Symone, performer & RuPaul’s Drag Race winner
“Taste is knowing yourself and trying to present yourself in the best possible way, and that’s difficult, because you either have it or you don’t. I never wanted to look like anyone else. Of course, there are references and views that I admire, but I’ve always wanted to turn things around and say, “Okay, that’s where it started, but how can I do it. go through my own filter and make it mine? ‘ This is important when it comes to a taste of flirting, or whatever you do.
Diora Salviati, designer
“For me, taste is not so much about how you dress, how you style your home, or how to have perfect table manners. It’s about how aware and considerate you are of who you are talking to – the social context. Talking a lot about yourself, about money, or flaunting your wealth and privileges, is always in bad taste. Kindness, consideration of others and discretion are all marks of good taste.
Clint Ramos, Tony Award-Winning Costume Designer and Set Designer
“I don’t know if good taste is something that is innate in you. I have the impression that the taste is acquired. And I think acquiring good taste is recognizing what we really need. For me, good taste is not just a matter of aesthetics or the precision of Hellenic ideals, but you know you see or experience good taste when you feel right at home. It is effortless. Effort is not even a question.
Stanley Tucci; actor, writer and foodie
“I think our palates get more sophisticated as we age, if we allow them. I know a lot of people who are adults and still have the taste buds of an eight year old. How do you live life like that? ”
spelling sweets; author, director and philanthropist
“The word beauty is a key here because people with real taste see beauty in everything. Edie Goetz was the daughter of Louis B. Mayer, and she was one of the best hostesses in Los Angeles. I have been fortunate enough to come to a lot of his dinners because my best girlfriend was his daughter. She had the best art on the wall, the best overalls you would ever want at a dinner party, and it was still perfection. People don’t take that kind of time anymore. As I get older I look back and I’m like ‘my God, we don’t have this, we don’t have that.’ I guess the younger ones think their path is the best, and maybe it is. I just know I liked the way we used to do it better. ”
This story originally appeared in the 2021 issue of City Country. Subscribe now
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