STAY ELEGANT

Lloyd Klein's Made-to-Measure Memoir

Synopsis by: John Arguelles

 

Inevitably, many of the same questions are posed to Lloyd Klein almost every time he is interviewed. "Any relation to Calvin Klein or Anne Klein?" (for the record: No and No). The other question that is asked almost as often goes something like, "Ralph Lauren's real family name is Lifshitz changed to Lauren for marketing purposes and branding. So tell us please, is Lloyd Klein your real name or are you using it for business?" So he'd like it to be clear once and for all, Lloyd Klein is his real name. 

 

While there is plenty of trivia and interesting thoughts about the fashion business in this personal journal based memoir, ultimately Lloyd Klein has the desire to share his perspectives on how to walk through the fire and not only survive but revive and become stronger.

 

This book is ultimately about the personal choices he's been summoned to make throughout his lifetime of incredible high points and low points resulting from more drastic situations than many of us will face in a lifetime. It's about dancing in the rain even especially when it's supposed to be sunny. It's all about the freedom discovered by understanding that we have the ability to turn situations from negative to positive depending on how we respond to them. It's not seeing the glass as half-full or half-empty. He says first appreciate that there is a glass. Second he insists that the enjoyment of observing the filling of the glass is the best part. Third, the level of fullness in the glass is of no consequence because the amount received is the amount that we allow or inhibit by our own limitations or expectations of our choosing.

 

Like the mythological Phoenix which according to lore, is stronger by rising from the ashes after the fire and so seeks a challenge to become stronger. Lloyd Klein has discovered that welcoming challenge, is a powerful and useful response that has afforded him resilience. He's learned first-hand that his key to his sense of balance in the midst of chaos is to "respond" thoughtfully and not to "react" unreasonably. Of course, he has often failed miserably and done exactly the opposite. Through his hindsight, Lloyd has often wondered how life would be nearly as interesting so far, without the many challenging opportunities of contrast he has been gifted with on his journey up till now. 

 

STAYING ELEGANT while navigating the unexpected bumps in the road can be a daunting experience. Extreme highs and incredible lows are either a curse or a bonanza, especially when driving in the fast lane with the jet-set. It's all in how we take control of designing our own reality by choosing how we view situations. Facts are facts, but for Lloyd, reality is a personal perception and we have to e choose to interpret facts as "architects responsible for living powerfully or not. It starts with the conscious and clear decision to be happy. We are in-charge of either the allowing or the blocking the potential of having what we think we want, through the power that comes from conscious attention and focus. We have the ability to design how we live and in fact, we are responsible and liable for all decisions we make. Lloyd Klein has made his life "to-measure".

How to "Stay Elegant" When Detoured From the Fast Lane of a Jet-Set Life 

A Made to Measure Memoir | Book Preview

A BRUSH WITH DEATH

 

"Although my memory returned even more precise than before that collision, there was a period of time that I experienced being in a semi-conscious state because of the jarring impact of the crash. I remember looking into the mirror. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't fully recognize the man staring back at me. He looked familiar, but in such an odd way. I still can't quite put my finger on it. The more that I tried to recall those hours or the days or even the years before the incident, the more confused and disconnected I became. I thought, if I could just close my eyes and wake up from this upside down state of mind, things would begin to make sense. So I put my chilled hands, which were cold on my hot face so tense and damp from fever. It felt amazing and so calming. And then in a flash, I began to hear sounds that were partly human voice and partly tones like hollow horns. It wasn't the first time, I'd heard them somehow or somewhere a long time ago, who knows. It felt like a message was trying to be sent and could understand the intention of the message but no words were used. Even without the words the message was clear. 'Summon the Phoenix.., Untangle the tangled web... Stand tall in the shadow of ovation...' echoed endlessly making me dizzy.  I wondered, "What do those messages mean?" Then just as quickly as they started, they suddenly stopped. All sounds were reduced two distinct tones that sounded likevery deep guttural hums. The sounds seemed to evolve from confusion, to a clearly understood two-word message.. STAY ELEGANT!

 

As the words and their message became clearer with each beat, my entire body vibrated, and it felt like I was coming into an awareness and sense of being as if I were only now being born and waking into a new reality. It was as if I heard the truth for the first time and my body and mind and soul were in sync again. I can still hear and feel those two powerful words that have become more meaningful to me each time I activate their command. I can never forget them. They have become a mantra of sorts for me...so simple, yet so incredibly powerful, especially when I think about how they have come to serve me, on so many occasions.  STAY ELEGANT.

Stay Elegant Book cover featuring a portrait of fashion designer Lloyd Klein

Lloyd Klein's Memoir is based on his personal journal entries that started as a   His recollection of  how he overcame a series of  “against the odds”, challenges are summoned up two simple words he learned from his father… ”STAY ELEGANT.”

LIFE LIVED WITHOUT REGRET

 

"I am the man I am today, solely because of what I've experienced and the choices I've made. Unless every detail remains the same, I wouldn't be who I am today. You don't have to like me, but I'd like you to at least get to know me... not only for what I do, but also for who I am. I have no regret. I know that sounds a little bit Piaf, but I'm French and a little stubborn, but I'm learning more and more every day. I'll never be done until the day I am no longer alive."

Lloyd Klein fashion show image taken at the Opera De Comique fashion show held in 1997
This image pf Lloyd Klein and his models was taken backstage at the Beverly Hills Hotel in 2011.

 2011 photo gif captured backstage at the Lloyd Klein Fashion Show held at Beverly Hills Hotel in support of the Big Brothers/Sisters Organization of Greater Los Angeles

Gif featuring the Lloyd Klein Fashion Show held in Paris in 1997

(Gif s) Animated images from the Lloyd Klein Surrealist inspired fashion show

staged at the Opera Comique de Paris circa 1997

Among the extraordinary highlights that he'll share: Overcoming childhood neurodiversitySurviving a nightmarish car accident in Paris en-route to stage his New York Fashion Week; Recovering from the theft of an entire season’s collection at the hands of unscrupulous con artists; Managing to remain independent as a designer in the margin thirsty world surrounding the apparel business; Assist the police in the capture of his own mentally unbalanced stalker and his most recent and toughest challenge ever; Surviving Cancer.

 

Lloyd Klein is not a victim. If he could relive his life again, he'd want it to nr reenacted exactly the same way it first was lived. Is it possible, to perceive disaster as a blessing, and embrace catastrophic contrast, as if it were a gift, instead of a curse? From his perspective, it's the process of facing a challenge with a welcoming attitude and a firm desire for a specific result and then relinquishing control of the how and when that desired result will manifest and instead expect that the universe will by the law of attraction do what it must do to its nature. That’s made all the difference for him. It’s the process of learning of how to maintain the asymmetrical balance between living in the present even while creating the "next season", that makes the journey the fun part. The destination is only the direction, and not the prize most of us expect at the conclusion of the journey. The experience of getting there is all that matters!

 

For Lloyd, life is always about choices. He has learned the powerful energy that can be felt by welcoming contrast. He has discovered the healing and nourishing benefits found by releasing resentment, and by forgiving himself and others, freely and without resistance. By consciously stepping away from the role of judge or jury, he has found a freedom that was unknown to him before. He has a two-word mantra that is used as a compass in his decision-making process. It's simply that no matter what the circumstances that surround the challenges that surface in his life, his response is always to...STAY ELEGANT!

HUGE RESPONSIBILTY - IMMENSE REWARD

 

"To be the Artistic Director for any house of Couture is a huge responsibility. In Paris, it holds more weight maybe than anywhere else in the fashion world. It's where Couture was establlished as a practice and held as an art form and there are protocol and traditions that are necessary to respect in the practice of designing in this niche field of fashion. As Creative Director, people's livelihoods and futures were in my hands. I never took it lightly. I loved it and had no fear. I felt like I could conquer the world. Couture in Paris, is all about respect and tradition. Most of my atelier were twice my age. I had a lot to provem in order to be the first successor to the Grand Couturier herself. Those incredible experts in the atelier taught me so much about respect. I will never forget them. I came across a photo of Madame on my first day on the job. I still have it today. Every morning I would wake up early to plan out my day and then make the time to sit in silence placing my hands over that photo and ask for her guidance. I would wonder to myself over and over, 'What would Mme Grès say, if she was here to guide me?"

The realm of couture is somewhat of an exclusive club. To participate one must have the access given by wealth, power or talent. It is the arena of the fashion industry in which budget is never a constraint and its goal is to elevate the work of a fashion designer to that of an artist. Those who create the art are the celebrity and their audience becomes the curators and becomes the patrons of the arts. Couture has been declared dead by some and slowly dying by others. One thing is certain, its membership is most definitely changing but its importance as a global influence on fashion, its pomp and circumstance and rules of engagement are as strong as ever. In the early 90's, Paris fashion was on fire. It was an extraordinary and glamorous time to be a fashion designer. Just recall the Robert Altman film, "Pret-a-Porter". If you observe the background Paris Fashion Week references, which were very real to life, (with a little drama for the good theater of course), and you get a taste of what life was like for a designer from the scene at that time. At 25 years old, Lloyd Klein became the Creative Director for Grès-Paris and stepped into the shoes of one of the greatest couturiers of French high fashion by becoming the first successor to Madame Grès after her retirement. 

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