Streisand Style Files

Curated by Fashion Historian Renée Nicole Gray

UCLA Streisand Center lecture appearance

Barbra Streisand looked radiant as she stepped out on Sept. 12th, 2023 in an elegant and chic black outfit to speak at the inaugural UCLA Barbra Streisand Center lecture. The UCLA Streisand Center was created in 2021 to support research and programming in four focus areas: Truth in the Public Sphere, Impact of Climate Change, Dynamics of Intimacy & Power Between Women and Men, and Impact of Art on the Culture.  This year’s lecture was on the theme of Truth in the Public Sphere and speakers discussed the impact that disinformation is having on social structures as well as its ongoing threat to democracy. In her speech (which is posted in full at BarbraStreisand.com), Streisand stated “we must be willing to robustly confront disinformation if our democracy is going to survive. The media has to do a much better job at this despite the backlash from those who believe in alternate realities. Disinformation has spread in our society like black mold. And what grows in the dark is incompatible with the light of truth.” 

The first thing that I noticed when looking at Streisand’s outfit for this event was that she was wearing a necklace with a pendant that is historically symbolic of truth. Hanging from a rosary-style beaded chain was a stunning jeweled Maltese cross. This distinct symbol features eight points with two point pairs that form on the equilateral arms of the cross. Maltese crosses were adopted by the Order of the Knights of the Hospital of Saint. John (Knights Hospitaller) in 1126. The eight points each denote an obligation or aspiration of the knights, which included “to live in truth, have faith, repent one’s sins, give proof of humility, love justice, be merciful, be sincere and wholehearted and endure persecution.” the Knights Hospitallers were recognized in 1888 by Queen Victoria for devotion to charity. 

Everything about the design of Streisand’s Maltese cross leads me to think it is an antique mid-19th-century piece. Being jeweled indicates that it would have belonged to a woman. These are very rare since they were primarily handed down through families and have mostly stayed within them. Alongside this necklace was a simple black choker and a gold Art Nouveau pendant that is one of Streisand’s favorites to wear. I get asked a lot about this necklace and have no ID as of yet. It does look extremely similar to many antique René Lalique necklaces so that is my best guess right now. Streisand’s video leaving her house also showed her carrying a vintage classic nylon Prada bag which she was previously photographed with in April, 2021.