Saturday, November 28, 2009
Glamour originally described a magical-occult spell cast on somebody to make them believe that something or somebody was attractive. In the late 19th century terminology a non magical item used to help create a more attractive appearance gradually became 'a glamour'. Today, glamour usually denotes the impression of attraction or fascination that a particularly luxurious or elegant appearance creates, an impression which is better than the reality. Typically, a person, event, location, technology, or product such as a piece of clothing can be glamorous or add glamour.
Virginia Postrel says that for glamour to be successful nearly always requires sprezzatura - an appearance of effortlessness, and to appear distant - transcending the everyday, to be slightly mysterious and somewhat idealised, but not to the extent it is no longer possible to identify with the person. Glamorous things are neither opaque, hiding all, nor transparent showing everything, but translucent, favourably showing things.
The early Hollywood star system in particular specialised in Hollywood glamour where they systematically glamorised their actors and actresses.
Glamour can be confused with a style, which is adherence to a particular school of fashion, or intrinsic beauty; whereas glamour can be external and deliberate.