When Passion Meets Patience and Experience
“Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”
— Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, author (The Little Prince)
“It’s the simple things!” is a statement that we hear increasingly often in our world of sensory overload—almost as often as “Is that vegan?” Suddenly keywords such as minimalism or deceleration and slogans such as “back to nature” are among the top search terms on Google; numerous books are published aiming to teach us to confine ourselves to the essential and to review the priorities we’ve set for ourselves. And it’s about time! For not only are we starting to lose our ability for stillness—according to recent studies, our attention span is approaching that of a goldfish—but we are barely able to recognize and appreciate quality any more. We carry home kilos of shopping haul instead of faithful fashion companions. Sure, for a while the “next big thing,” this frantic hunt for hype and counter-hype, manages to distract and entertain us. But at some point our wise inner voice pipes up, which has not forgotten what it’s really all about. A deep desire for things that last is as essential a part of us as the upright gait and our curiosity.
The alternative is outlined quickly: Simple things make us happy. Period. A sunbeam that breaks into the colours of the rainbow in a dewdrop on a leaf. The laughter of a child—carefree and infectious. A steaming loaf of sourdough bread straight from the stone oven and the first spoon of olive oil, hand-pressed by friends from Greece. A short poem that miraculously speaks to our hearts. A favourite sweater, in which we’ve experienced beautiful and lasting moments, and which keeps us warm and snuggly, no matter what.
This all sounds simple, commonplace and almost banal. But if we look more closely, then nothing on this list of blissful moments is coincidental. Or without finesse, for that matter.
The sun is the gleaming engine of our entire life: of flora and fauna, our metabolism and good humour. The leaf is dependent on a healthy plant—a tree—enough nutrients and light. The dewdrop requires the same morning fog that so mysteriously softens a landscape. The sunbeam has to meet it at the perfect angle to turn it into a glittering crystal. Even the smallest element of our environment, as the great Ralph Waldo Emerson once suggested, plays an important role in the perfection of the whole. Not to mention the bread dough, which would not rise without the craftsmanship of a master baker, best ingredients and a lot of patience.
As for the poem, even if it consists of only three lines, the poet has searched for hours or days for a spark of inspiration, has defied self-doubt and hoped for the famous “flow,” this mystical stage of oblivious immersion in the words and rhythm of language, until line after line worked together in perfect harmony, like the wheels of a clock.
And yet perfection, derived from the Latin word perfectio, meaning perfection and infallibility, doesn’t have a great reputation. “Perfection has one grave defect: it is apt to be dull,” said the writer W. Somerset Maugham. And the psychologist Eugene Kennedy added: “There would be no need for love if perfection were possible.” For love lets us overlook imperfection. Nevertheless, we have striven for perfection since time immemorial; it is a powerful drive in everything we do and challenges us to excel. Just like basketball star Kobe Bryant, who confessed even at the peak of his success: “I’m chasing perfection.”
At least in our work then and in everything we create, perfection does not seem to be a shortcoming. As designer Tom Ford confirms: “Striving for perfection has served me well.” We add the necessary human charm, consisting of obsessions, quirks, gaffes and unpredictability, in our interactions with each other—as a kind of salt in our soup. Our clothing may well be flawless then, to the right extent. Without having to waste a thought about whether we are dressed in style or whether our new favourite pieces will last at least one season in terms of quality. For in fashion, too, we take a conscious decision to separate the important from the trivial and to invest wisely and joyously in things that will endure.
The cashmere sweater that long-term customers and fans of Allude know under the memorable model number 11100 is one such reliable companion. Even more: a Perfect Piece. It combines the best of fit, quality and colour with the finest material in the world. And in the era of the computer, its name consisting of zeros and ones sounds wonderfully modern. Modern too is the responsible use of all resources—material, energy, human—during the entire production process. Fun is another important factor. Even Aristotle wrote: “Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work.”
It is with this classic V-neck sweater, the legendary No. 11100, that Andrea Karg’s creative and entrepreneurial journey began more than 20 years ago. Without superfluous design flourishes but available in 100 colours and having a unique tactile feel, it has become a symbol of the Allude brand—for that rare successful blend of passion, patience and experience. Along the same lines aphorist Sigrun Hopfensperger sums up: “From a positive view, the pursuit of perfection is the sage’s bow before the true value of a task.”
Since Allude hence continues to take care of perfection in fashion, we are free to cultivate all the rough edges that make us into authentic, approachable people and genuine personalities. Simply perfect.
Photos: Stefan Kraul