Category Archives: Philosophy

Onion Layers of Fashion: A Third Space

What is my style? This question has been holding me captive for the last couple of weeks. What is my style? I can honestly say that as a stylist and a young 20 something woman, I have no fucking clue what my style is. I like pink, sequins and, pink sequins I guess? Lena Dunham, the voice of my generation (at least for me), knows exactly how I’m feeling. It is the era of the Third Space. Nothing has a definite meaning but it shifts and changes with every minute.

Since modern time (and maybe even before that) people have had the urge to categorize everything: from different kinds of human species 200 years ago to ‘’my style’’ today. This way of understanding the world is almost impossible to escape; we are raised and imprinted with this method. Fashion has always been a way to express our own identity and in a way, a desperate attempt not to fit in. Especially now, with all the different subcultures coming together and all the fashion that comes with it melted along, it’s difficult to really understand and find a vision on fashion.

The same thing I’m experiencing in my styling. No specific style is appealing to me, nothing that’s cut out and clearly categorized is good enough. We live in a time where categories are the inside layers of an onion and we have to mix and find our way through the layers. Right now we are in a denim layer, as you can see in the newest edition of the Dutch Vogue (and many other magazines). These layers can be peeled of but also glued back on when we want to (got the soothing picture of gluing onion rings together right?). The meaning of style, and therefore my style, is never done and clean cut. Like my own life, it is a wandering process and never completed. When I’m done with one project, I already think it’s ridiculous so I run towards the next project. Never satisfied, always in a search for style.

Could it be the age thing? Are we at an age where we just don’t need to know yet? Are the twenties a third space for style and everything else in life? These are confusing times, and sometimes it can be quite intimidating not knowing what’s coming your way and how you feel about it (like Uggs). But maybe we can get used to not have an immediate definition on style, people and trends and just remain in the third space. Everything in the open and accessible, like the internet. You can add layers, avoid layers (like Uggs) and remove layers: construct your own meaning. I think that’s the perfect way to style your life. 

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Nature in art: The Sublime

I just came back from a very long seminar about the sublime. It’s a course I’m doing the next 6 months and already I have been enlightened. Sometimes different art forms, but also happenings in real life, can have a strange impact on you. You are amazed, but also maybe a little thrown, scared and intrigued. In this blog, I want to find out what things or events cause this complex emotional feeling. How sublime strikes us..

The example we talked about during the seminar was an art piece by the painter Caspar David Friedrich. I was always amazed by the work of this brilliant man, but today I understood (a little bit more) why. The particular piece I want to talk about is Mönch am Meer. The piece mainly shows nature. Nature with the capital N. The sublime is often shown (doesn’t always have to be) in nature and the way it cannot be tamed by humanity. We feel small and fragile when facing this type of aggressiveness that can be shown by nature. The monk is so small he almost fades in the black and rough sea.

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Now, place yourself in his position. Feel the wind blowing and see the sky grow darker and darker, closing in on you. Hear the rough see almost roar, so close you feel spatters of water on your head. What do you feel? Scared, intimidated? Of course! But the sublime is more then that. You also feel kind of strong. It gives you power, it inspires you! I think that the sublime shows itself in the combination of these emotions. It’s like when you see a thunderstorm. You’re actually kind of afraid, but it also puts a spell on you, it fascinates you. We are all in some way drawn to the huge and destructive character of nature.

In some kind of way I think a sublime experience happened to Lieutenant Dan in the movie Forrest Gump. Religious connotations are often made with events in nature; it would be a reflection of the power of God. Lieutenant Dan challenges God when the boat Forrest and the lieutenant use for catching shrimp finds itself in a big storm at sea. He calls it a duel between the almighty and himself as a tiny human being. Ultimately he finds peace in the storm, it changes him completely. Lieutenant Dan got rid of his anger (and in some way his fear) by surviving the storm and becomes a humble man. He finds some inner peace that maybe we all feel when facing this type of nature violence. A feeling of zen, like you absorbed the power and made it your own.

LT Dan

I’m very curious if any of you who read my articles ever had a sublime feeling. Maybe through a painting, maybe you survived a tornado of some sort?! I’m very intrigued by the subject of the sublime and how it really affects someone’s life.

– Gracia Visscher

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Role of Nature in Pop Music

Look and think about it! Will write an article about it soon!

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New Age Feminism

Lady Gaga; an inspiration for many. I’ve been following her for years now, and not only because her songs are like an addiction! The woman actually has some interesting cultural opinions and is very innovative in presenting a new age in culture to a lot of young people. Recently she was interviewed by a magazine called Stylist UK about her new fragrance The Fame. Little did they now they actually asked a very important question. And Gaga answered even more brilliantly.

Style UK: Can make-up and feminism ever truly be friends?

‘You know what’s so funny is, I actually think there’s a new feminism that is completely different and I don’t think either is better or worse. Any kind of feminist has valid views for herself about what it means to be a feminist, but, as a new-age feminist, I would say I quite like the transference of strength I feel by submitting to a man – being under him. I actually wrote a song about it on my album, it’s called G.U.Y. and it stands for Girl Under You. So wearing make-up, smelling delicious and having suckable, kissable, edible things between your limbs is something I find strengthening because I know that when I pick the right guy, I can let him have it. Some women feel oppressed by make-up and clothing, and here’s to them, they have every right to feel that way as well.’

Gaga refers to something as a ‘’new age feminism’’, different apparently then the feminism we had before. The word feminism is a very loaded word with a lot of negative connotations. We tend to think of women without bras who are very angry towards men, all the time. But the Lady is right; there is another kind of feminism emerging from the depths of the new generation. Maybe the women reading this can relate, I for one definitely see the point Gaga is making. It’s not a very clear point and I’m sure it can be very confusing. So I will try to explain it.

The new age feminism is actually a mixture of the pretty housewives from the ‘40s and ‘50’s of the 20th century and the feminism of the ‘70s and ‘80s. Feminists fought for equal rights for women in all kinds of aspects of life. Equal salaries, women represented in the history of the arts and free expression of sexuality. The new generation of women, born after 1985 (or something like that), developed a different position towards men. We feel strong and feminine with heels and sexy dresses: not just for the men but for us. We combine the femininity of the pre feminism era with the strong and independent position from the world of the feminists.

We don’t need a man, we choose to be with a man and let him have it. It’s debatable whether this is really the case, but I really think we choose to look cute and sexy because we want to feel good for us. But we also want to look good for men because it feels empowering to sweep a man of his feet. Because let’s face it: we love the strength and masculinity of the opposite sex. Women are weird creatures (I totally agree, I think I’m weird too) but I think we have a nice balance going on here. The more interesting part of this development is: where does this leave the boys? More on that later, I have to go paint my toenails now!

 

– Gracia Visscher

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Photography: Escape in a romantic world

The ‘’new’’ medium photography comes, like painting and film, in many forms. Advertisements, instagram pictures, newspaper pictures and fashion photos; they’re all made with a certain purpose. The main element of photography when it became popular in the beginning of the 20th century was to capture the truth, that moment in time in the world. But like other forms of art, photography has its trends and feelings too.

Like my title reveals, I would like to place photography as a medium in our time. I can do that with quite a lot of material, but I will give three examples of romantic photography. They all are very different and are used in a different way, but are all important nonetheless. First up: Instagram.

Instagram is ruling the (digital) world at the moment. Profile pictures, feet in the sand, a Starbucks coffee: everything is getting instagramed. Photos look like they were taken in the ‘70s or when there was no color yet. With all the digital technology: why do we want a picture that is less clear and crisp? One word: escapism. Instagram gives us the opportunity to give our world a look we will never see in the real world. It’s a form of making the world more beautiful, more interesting and more romantic. The filters from Instagram are literally filters for our daily life. The real question, I think, is: for whom do we use Instagram? Do we just want to look interesting on Facebook or is it really an escape and an attempt to make your world more beautiful?

Another aspect of the world of photography is of course fashion photography. Every month the shoots in Vogue and other magazines bedazzle us. A lot of pictures are about selling clothes, but I see another quality that really problematizes the line between art and ‘’normal’’ photography. An example is the photographer Tim Walker. Tim Walker makes a lot of independent work but he also works with fashion magazines like Vogue. And what he creates are worlds we all can escape in. It’s not just about the beautiful clothes but also about the story. It sucks us in and it makes the world more beautiful. It is a romantic escape from reality, but also a romantic value you can make your own in daily life.

The last example I want to give has to do with both examples above. In our digital era it’s very easy to buy a camera and make pictures of the world exactly as it is. In that way, the goal of photography hasn’t changed at all! A growing group has turned their back on the technology and is doing it the old school way: Lomography. This phenomenon has become very popular and plays a big role in creating memories in a romantic way. Cameras like the Diana or Fish Eye camera are made to make the world look more beautiful and interesting. I’m the proud owner of both and take them on every holiday and sometimes just in daily life. The roll of film and the lens make a picture that is individual and personal. They romanticize the moment in the photo. With this romantic filter we can always look back at the pictures with a sentimental feeling and think: what a beautiful world I’ve seen.

The real question in this article is: why do we need all these help? Is the world really that ugly on it’s own? Some people might think it is, but the world has never been more beautiful. The problem is the eye of humanity. We can’t see clearly enough trough all the filters of worries, work and wrong. We have become incapable of seeing the world in all its glory. The trick is to stand still, to look out of your window instead of looking at your screen and just see, look, feel the world. Escapism is not necessary; looking through a romantic lens is something we all can learn again.

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– Gracia Visscher

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Caravaggio & Dolce: Drama in Fashion

Since the birth of the modern time people have had the urge to dress themselves with a personal style. Clothes became a form of liberation for mankind, especially for women who could dress without a tight corset or layers of fabric. Fashion has had many forms during the 20th century, but also many functions and trends. Now, as we’re moving further into the 21st century, fashion mirrors the feeling of nostalgia, romance and volume I find necessary to share: Drama.

For me, fashion always has been a way to escape the (sometimes) boring daily life and not only live in a dreamy and colourful world, but also brightening the world around me. Often I get funny looks about my daring combinations but it’s a way to bring colour to the often-grey urban life we function in. Fashion seems to agree with me on this subject. Vogue, aka heaven, produces the most romantic, glorious and dreamy photos and with that offer us ‘common’ people an escape. Although we love and need this escape to the perfect dressed world, I feel the time has come to bring this romantic world to live!

And it seems that the fashion world has picked up this need of romance. I’ve been following the multiple fashion weeks for some time now, with awws and oohws all over. Although I’m all about looking forward (already thinking about my spring look for 2013), I really like the aim of the fashion designers for the fall/winter feel, which is: Drama with a big letter D. I will give you an example and explain why fashion is such a big mirror to our society and how this relates to the past.

A trend I want to explain is the return to the baroque era. The famous baroque pattern with lots of curls has been spotted on dresses like you see below from Dolce and Gabbana. Also in more accessible stores like H&M is this trend represented. A lot of jewellery reflects the mind-set of drama. You want to and have to be noticed with this trend, it’s all about emotion, drama and beauty. The baroque era was not different from this fall jewellery. Buildings, paintings and even music were dripping in effects, curls and patterns. To explain the resemblance of our fashion today and the baroque era I want to compare the dress from Dolce & Gabbana with the famous painting from baroque painter Caravaggio, The Calling of St. Matthew.

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This may look like a weird comparison but it actually makes a lot of sense! When we take a good look at the dress we see a deep black covered with gold discs, pearls and little gold stones. The important aspect of this dress is the way the gold looks on the black fabric. Caravaggio did the same thing with his paintings in a brilliant way. The dramatic contrast between dark and light make his paintings theatrical and mysterious. Like The Calling of St. Matthew is the Dolce & Gabbana dress dramatic, mysterious and at the same time just enough revealing. This is exactly what our society needs from fashion and other art forms: Drama and mystery. In our hard times where we get overloaded with bills, budget cuts and many worries we need a world to escape to. Fashion has made it possible for us to dress like royalty and just be that prince or princess this winter like we all loved dreaming about in the early years. So people: get dressed and bring that drama!

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– Gracia Visscher

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Tattooing: The Romantic Era

Art history is a beautiful and big subject to talk about. All the different ways of expression, artists and developments the arts go trough; it’s a reflection on the daily life of a particular time. New media like film and photography made their way up the art historical story and are now ‘known members of the club’. One visual and probably most ‘human’ form of art has yet to be acknowledged by the art world. Me first: Tattoos!

Tattoos are, as now many people think, a very personal form of art. It doesn’t hang in a museum, it’s a part of someone’s life. As the owner of 6 tattoos I can say that the pictures on my body are a part of my life and me. It is a microform of art: reflection of the daily life of one person. Like sculptures and paintings, tattoos have been around for while. It goes back about 5000 years, mostly developing in old tribes and Japan. The popularity of tattooing in the west and modern world, I think, with the Sailor Jerry designs. The big pirate ships, naked pin up models in black and grey with accents of red: it doesn’t get more classic then that. From this point the tattooing world has experienced some trends with the ultimate down low: the ‘90s tribal.

Tattoo artists of the new age are not just hiding behind a tattoo machine or a big portfolio. They consider their work ‘art’ and want to show it off like painters have been doing for years. It’s less about the customer’s wish (The Tasmanian devil is kind of old fashion maybe?) and more about the artwork and freedom of the artist. Having the honor to get that work on your body. It’s a very romantic and subjective idea to trust an artist with your body and be a canvas. But another romantic trend in the tattooing world is the concept of the tattoo, which comes with the artist element of tattoo artists. A lot of tattoos from the past are mostly from a very standard design, a stencil that has been printed out many times. Examples are the butterfly, all the Sailor Jerry designs (although these are classic), the tribal form and many others. Maybe they have been done in a slightly different way; the subject is often the same.

An example for this new generation of tattoo artists is Peter Aurisch. Working in Berlin, the Internet fills up with the most amazing unique and fascinating tattoos. One thing that he does, and some other tattoo artists like Xoïl, is using color in a very watercolory way. It’s not about keeping the color between the lines but making it slightly less ‘’perfect’’. This gives the tattoo something romantic in a way it is almost drawn on you, like it’s always been a part of you. Another technique that’s very interesting, but also done by other artists, is the abstract lining in the tattoos. It doesn’t look clean and crisp, but it looks that much more interesting. And: all the lines matter.

The most romantic element of the new generation of tattooing is, I think, the special band between artist and customer. Because of the uniqueness of the tattoo and the work that has put in to it, the artist and canvas create a special band. It is a piece of his art in your body and there is nothing like it on the planet. We all should be a canvas for these great new artists and maybe make an art history for ourselves.

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