Byline: David DeNicolo
THE YEAR IN Beauty
The juxtaposition of the sublime and the ridiculous was in especially high relief this year: A real royal wedding, fake princess culture. The loss of Betty Ford, the rise of Michele Bachmann. Tina Fey's stiletto-sharp wit, Anthony Weiner's cloddish tweets. But it all just goes to show how beauty penetrates every part of our culture.
People generally harbor a suspicion that class is a by-product of privilege and breeding, unattainable except by the select few. Prince William's marriage to commoner Catherine Middleton puts in stark relief the truth that class has nothing to do with riches or high birth. Up to, during, and after the wedding of the century, Middleton was thoughtful, generous to others, and sensitive to protocol but not enslaved by it. She was an unfaltering picture of composure, achieved through arduous preparation on her part.
A few examples: She did her own makeup. Really. Most likely with Bobbi Brown products she purchased about a week before. She engineered the incredible secrecy around her wedding dress (a Victorian silhouette designed by Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen) not for maximum publicity, but because she wanted William to be surprised. She let her sister wear a slinky ivory gown. She chose the most understated jewels from those offered by the Queen (the Cartier "halo" tiara) and practiced wearing it with a $10 facsimile from Claire's Accessories. She took months of elocution lessons so she wouldn't flub a word of the ceremony. In the middle of her four-minute walk down the aisle of Westminster Abbey, sensing that her father was losing his cool, she begged him not to cry, because then she would, too. Celebrity guests were not given preferred seating; the best seats went to friends and family. And on and on.
But the piA[umlaut]ce de rA[c]sistance was this: Just days after the grand event, the new Duchess of Cambridge could be seen in ballet flats wheeling a shopping cart into a local Waitrose (think Stop & Shop or Publix, not Whole Foods) in Anglesey, Wales, where William is stationed with the Royal Air Force. She insists on doing the shopping and cooking (William is apparently fond of liver) and helping with the housekeeping at the modest farmhouse where the couple has lived since 2010.
Now that's class.
She engineered the …