Ravel’s fashion sense

Ravel was always particular about his sense of fashion. 

As Léon-Paul Fargue recalled:

Even when he was wasted by illness, Ravel never appeared unkept even among his closest friends.  All his life he kept the perfect, discriminating taste which led him to match his braces to his blue or pink silk shirts, much to the astonishment of performers whom he would rehearse in his shirtsleeves (for a long time he went on wearing a grey tie with his dinner jacket and a grey waistcoat with his evening dress).  In Chicago a major concert was delayed for nearly an hour because Ravel refused to appear on the podium without his evening shoes, which were still by mistake in the left-luggage office. (1)

On another occasion René Chalupt accounted:

Ravel was conducting in Biarritz when, just before going out on to the platform, he realized that he had lost or forgotten the handkerchief to go in his top pocket.  Robert Casadesus [a French pianist] offered to lend him his but Ravel, meticulous as ever, refused on the grounds that the pianist’s initials were not the same as his own. (2)

(1) Léon-Paul Fargue, Maurice Ravel (Paris, 1949), pp. 28-32.  Cited in: Nichols, Roger (1987) Ravel Remembered.  London: Faber & Faber., p. 28.
(2) René Chalupt, Ravel au miroir de ses lettres (Paris, 1956), p. 241.  Cited in ibid., p. 97.