Town & Country’s featured story “Shala Monroque: Life of a Butterfly” by Kevin Conley was an interesting peek into the life of the titular “It Girl” of the fashion and art worlds.
Admittedly, I’m fascinated by Shala’s effortless style and was thrilled when I saw her on the cover of Town & Country. A staple at coveted fashion shows, society parties, and the subject of countless fashion blogs, I have followed Shala’s rise to fame for a while. I expected the article to cover Shala’s innate fashion sense in depth but it took a more high-level approach, which was interesting. However, I found Conley’s article at times snide with respect to Shala’s humble beginnings in St. Lucia and her current access to the upper echelons of art and fashion. There is a frail yet noticeable film of superficiality coloring the praises Conley weaves into the paragraphs. For example, Conley writes, “Monroque…with her seemingly effortless rise from island flower girl to fashion cynosure, belongs to the Holly Golightly line of It girl.” Excuse me, Holly Golightly was a call girl, a scandalous occupation even today, and especially at the time Breakfast at Tiffany’s was released in 1961. While it’s expected that the movie would tip toe around such subject matter, I’m not sure why this modern article even makes mention of a call girl in reference to Monroque. But to be fair, perhaps Conley was speaking to the essence and spirit of Holly, charmingly brought to life by the beloved Audrey Hepburn. After all, not many people remember Holly’s occupation; rather they seem only to remember she had no job, technically. Given her extravagant lifestyle, this made her mysterious and well, cool.
About 10% of Conley’s article reads as negative, with its peppering of scathing remarks poorly disguised as innocent commentary, which I found neither illuminating nor necessary. Happily, the remaining 90% of Conley’s article is positive. He does go on to compliment Monroque’s innate fashion sense (of course): “In the snaps that show up in street-style blogs everywhere, Monroque is admired for her sense of fun, the confident way she makes her own rules, mixing distinct silhouettes with designer looks straight off the runway with vintage-store finds.” He also compliments her radiant smile: “It is not seductive or knowing or conspiratorial. What it is is luminous- strikingly, wholesomely so. Shala smiling makes you feel extravagantly good.”
I think Shala’s appearance on the cover of Town & Country is wonderfully deserved and appropriate. She’s a sartorial taste maker, effortlessly glamorous and endlessly interesting. I heart Shala, and wish her all the very best.