Fashion / Style

Donna Tartt is a master of Dark Academia style

donna tartt

Authors are aesthetes by nature. Carving images out of words, casting their precision eye over a sentence, removing and refining. It was true of Joan Didion and remains so for Fran Lebowitz. Along with these two, I like to imagine Donna Tartt as a sartorial north star at RUSSH. 

Her novels, The Little Friend, The Goldfinch, but perhaps most importantly, The Secret Historyhelped usher in a style of dressing often referred to as Dark Academia. Whether that was through the haughty Classics students of Hampden College who wear silk neckties, pince-nez and dark English suits, or Theo Decker, the orphaned protagonist of The Goldfinch who sports suits from Savile Row tailors Turnbull and Asser.

For someone who pays close attention to details such as these, it should come as no surprise that in her own life, Donna Tartt possesses a distinct personal style. The Mississippi-born author has a tight grip over her image; she rarely gives interviews, let alone wanders into the public eye, but on the occasion that she does she's dressed immaculately favouring sharp suits that zip in at the waist, strong ties and a severe black bob. The overall effect is scholarly, masculine and arresting.

Given how little we know about Tartt's private life, this and the feeling evoked in her novels contributes to her own mystique. Although, Tartt doesn't see it like this. She's often cited Harold from Harold and Maude as her style fixation, which is exactly the kind of esoteric reference we'd expect. Either way, in 2014 Tartt won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and was also named on Vanity Fair's International Best-Dressed List – a level of dexterity we admire. The following year, Tartt served as a muse for the FW 2015 collection from New Zealand designer Kate Sylvester, where models like Rachel Rutt sauntered out in preppy tailoring and skinny scarves that circled the hair and created an illusion of a bob, proving we're not alone in our appreciation.

Below, RUSSH pays tribute to Donna Tartt and her academic style. Find a roundup of her best looks, below.
















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