This week's style hero: Shala Monroque

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Shala Monroque is one of the most elegant women in fashion today. The editor, art consultant and street style favourite always looks chic, relaxed and like she actually has a great sense of humour as well as style. A case in point: here she is at couture week in Paris looking cool in a white cocktail dress and green snakeskin sandals, while one of Delfina Delettrez's giant insect brooches scuttles up her front.

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Looking cool at couture week

The rise of the street style photographers has made the pavements outside fashion shows just as inspiring – if not more so – than the catwalks and Monroque is one of the undisputed stars of this scene. There’s something about the way she puts clothes together that’s essentially joyful – she might be lucky enough to wear off-the-catwalk looks thanks to her friendship with Miuccia Prada – but you get the sense that she doesn’t mindlessly follow trends, preferring to put things together in her own way.

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Shala's amazing bug brooch by Delfina Delettrez

The world the women of the front row inhabit might be a remote one, but I find it fascinating and, yes, inspiring. It’s exciting to see beautiful clothes on grown up women who’ve put together their own outfits, rather than the teenage models who are dressed top-to-toe in a designer’s ‘vision’ and troop dutifully down the catwalk. I might never be able to afford a Prada ensemble (working on it!) but I can admire the way a creative dresser like Shala puts together different colours, shapes and textures – and accessorizes with wit and flair.

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Picture credit: Rex Features