The Style Decoded

Art Fair Season

In October, as fashion month runs to its end, another creative world gears up for their equivalent to frenzied industry activity.

Words by Siska Lyssens
Photography by Julien Boudet


This time of the year, gallerists, art collectors, museum directors, art enthusiasts and the artists themselves start to get in motion for Frieze London, FIAC in Paris, the Istanbul Biennial, the Contemporary African Art Fair in London and TEFAF in New York – to name a few.

With the art crowd being notoriously discreet, it’s no wonder that the wardrobes that can be spotted at the fairs are often discreet as well – but no less lavish for it. Key elements are rich fabrics, neutral colours, hints of jewellery, exclusive handbags and impeccable footwear.

Blend in by trying these three variations on a theme: silhouettes that are both introverted and extroverted, draw attention to themselves in ways that are either slightly eccentric, but always very personal, or slightly under-the-radar with directional detailing.

Bagging It

You can keep your outfit simple but express your personal style via an eye-popping bag. Choose for either obscure labels that will have everyone wondering where you bagged it, or for a good old-fashioned – and back in vogue – monogram. If you’ve got an exceptionally long day bidding on masterpieces, why not layer bags?

Contemporary Classic

It’s hard to go wrong with the classic wardrobe staples – and it’s a surefire bet when trying to shop for art incognito. But no true aesthetics obsessive would be caught dead with just any plain trenchcoat or trouser suit. Exaggerated proportions betray knowledge of the masters, while pops of colour communicate insouciance.

Finer Points

Add interest to simple cuts and conventional fabrics and prints with little quirks or sensuous cut-outs. Chunky knits let the breeze in through a circular opening at the back, spruce up a pinstripe suit with cerebral glasses or insert classicism in unexpected places.