“I was born a bitch, I was born a painter”

by marlies|dekkers

This season, I celebrate the colorful life and art of Frida Kahlo, Mexican painter, selfie-queen avant la lettre and original bad-ass Feminine Feminist. With her paintings, Frida liberated feminine themes of identity, sexuality and fertility from their stigma. With her insatiable lust for life, she still encourages generations of women to shamelessly express themselves.

It was love at first sight, the first time I saw Frida Kahlo with her stubborn brows and voluptuous flowers. After that, during every phase of my life, Frida was there, pushing me to celebrate my uniqueness, urging me to CREATE, no matter what! For this issue of FEMININE/FEMINIST, I followed Frida’s spirit all the way to Mexico City and immersed myself in her colorful world. To find out what Frida was really like, I had an exclusive interview with the woman who was there when Frida’s bathroom filled with personal treasures was opened after more than 50 years: Hilda Trujillo, director of the Casa Azul in Mexico City.

Closer to home, I talked to a number of fearless feminine feminists who -like Frida- love and create with abandon. To name but a few: German opera superstar Nadja Michael, the embodiment of the highest level of expression and shoe designer Ruthie Davis, who turned out to be just like the amazing shoes she designs for Beyoncé and Lady Gaga: daring, empowering and totally fabulous. I also interviewed Jasmine and Melissa Hemsley, known as the Hemsley Sisters, who started a culinary wellness revolution. After all, isn’t cooking a beautiful and important way to express yourself?

The message is clear: whatever your talents or interests are, whether you’re born a bitch, a painter or a chef, express yourself! Exactly 25 years ago, I started marlies|dekkers with a dream: to make lingerie that empowers women. With my designs, I wanted to give women the confidence to explore my motto: Dare to dream, dare to grow, dare to be. Looking back, together with the people that played a pivotal role in my career, I can proudly say that I’ve come a long way. But I’m not done yet! Like Frida once famously said: ‘I don’t paint dreams, I paint my own reality’. Well, I will never stop dreaming, and I will never stop striving to make those dreams reality. And along the way, Frida will be looking over my shoulder.

‘Viva la vida!’ Dare to celebrate life, now! — Marlies Dekkers

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Between king and QUEEN

MD Friends

Between king and QUEEN

by marlies|dekkers

Who is Tasya van Ree? The mysterious girl in the big black hat has been fascinating art connoisseurs and fashion lovers alike since she burst onto the scene with her stunning black-and-white photographs of celebrities like Michelle Rodriguez and (one-time lover) Amber Heard. I asked the Hawaiian-born visual artist of Dutch-Japanese ancestry (41) about her art and soul. “Between both King and Queen is where I exist.”

BRAVE ballerina

MD Friends

BRAVE ballerina

by marlies|dekkers

Sara Mearns (31) is New York City Ballet’s boldest ballerina. A passionate, intense dancer, she started dancing at 3 and starred in Swan Lake when she was only 19. But instead of resting on her laurels, Sara has kept challenging herself with daring projects, from a collaboration with hip-hop dancers to a leading role in a Broadway show. I talked with the fierce Swan Queen about sacrifices, body confidence, and how to turn pain into gain. “I’m not the typical skinny, tall, long-neck kind of ballerina.”

The art of love!

Marlies Says

The art of love!

by marlies|dekkers

Get your creative juices flowing

This Valentine’s, don’t wait around for that love-note or those fancy chocolates to feel loved and desired. Express yourself to fall in love with yourself, now!