Little Black Book

Image of Little Black Book
Release Date: 
August 21, 2015
Lannoo Publishers (Acc)
Reviewed by: 

The biggest issue at hand here is whether or not one can consider any 30 year old a plausible, last-word authority on any subject, let alone fashion. Yes, of course there are the Sheldon Coopers of the world with mega IQs and extraordinary mental capacities, but fashion and style are intangible talents and traits that very few possess. How many Diana Vreelands, Babe Paleys, or Coco Chanels have there been in the past two centuries? And even they didn’t fully blossom until way after their 30s.

With this in mind Sofie Valkiers is not exactly what one might consider the consummate fashion/style authority. Without question, the Internet era has given the world amazing access to every facet of fashion as well as allowed those who write about it the opportunity to acquire huge followings. But followers do not equate actual fashion intelligence; case in point: Kim Kardashian. Valkiers may be enormously popular in Belgium, but her scope of knowledge is wildly limited to the here and now with very little knowledge of actual fashion history other than the obvious—and therein lies the fly in the ointment. One must know what happened in the past to know how to examine the present and foretell the future.

The do’s and don’ts of The Little Black Book come off as rather sophomoric and possibly even a bit too silly to be taken seriously by anyone with a strong fashion background. One must wonder who the audience is when a 30-year-old fashionphile is touting diamonds as the perfect accessory. Take that into account as well as the fact that she has a business degree but has actually never worked a day in the trenches of fashion—unless you consider shopping, taking selfies, or being photographed with some celebrity as jobs. On matters of fashion/style, an author needs to be a lot less “me” and a lot more “reader,” which is not the way it comes down when reading this book. It is a lot of “do as I say and not as I do,” which does not exactly offer much in the way of gravitas.

Not to take anything away from the author, but the book is obviously aimed at a more millennial audience rather than a boomer audience. Only upon reading do you really grasp who her audience is or who the information is aimed at. Her very spotty vocabulary is emblematic as the word “nice” is hardly a descriptor that comes off as authoritative or intelligent, and her written/ sematic skills in general come off as a bit “valley girl” instead of commanding.

Two instances come to mind: one is that no matter how long you stand in a garage, you will not become a car; and two, taking a course in first aid does not qualify you to be a brain surgeon.