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Yves Saint Laurent, the legendary fashion designer who passed away almost two weeks ago, once said, "Fashions fade. Style is eternal." We couldn’t agree more. According to best dressed lists, the public has a firm understanding of fashion trends; it’s the style part that has them scratching their heads.

The way local stylist Christie Moeller sees it, following trends requires as much creativity as it takes to mimic a mannequin or copy a catalog. "To have style," she said, "you need to have the vision to create something different."

You also need to have guts.

When Mary-Kate Olsen sports a velvet headband, Native-American style, to a black tie affair, the tabloid fashion critics grab their handy thesauruses and flip to the word "horrible" to describe the accessory. Likewise, Tilda Swinton gets a slap down from the same sources for going sans makeup and wearing a shapeless Lanvin gown to the Academy Awards.

But the fashion equivalent of the bible, Vogue magazine, hails both Olsen’s and Swinton’s style as cutting edge. It’s no wonder there’s confusion.

"I think the average Joe both appreciates and fears style but doesn’t understand it," Moeller said.

If you’re with the average Joes or Janes, perhaps the photos will help you distinguish the style makers from the trend followers.

Contact fashion reporter Xazmin Garza at xgarza@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0477.

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