All my work as a feminist designer is inspired by muses. Powerful female icons from past and present. Although women have been marginalized for centuries, archetypes of female power have always been there. Through my designs, I bring them to you. To help us shape the world of modern-day feminism.
This season, I sing the ballad of Billie Holiday: musical supernova, freedom fighter, bad-ass Queen of Blues. ‘There’s two kinds of blues, happy blues and sad blues,” Billie used to say. “Everything I sing is part of my life.” And indeed, as the Frida Kahlo of the music world, ‘Lady Day’ used her voluptuous voice to turn female anger, pain and sadness into creations of staggering beauty. As an early feminine feminist, she wore heels and lipstick but could kick any man’s ass (she once single-handedly beat up two racist sailors). More importantly, Billie Holiday always spoke and sang her truth; inspiring generations of women to march to their own beats and roar their convictions.
Growing up in a world that was still spectacularly cruel to young black girls (her great-grandmother had been a slave), Billie Holiday dared to dream, deciding at an early age to burn bright, no matter the price. Daring to grow, she overcame poverty and childhood sexual abuse to become one of the greatest singers of all time. Brilliantly beautiful with fragrant, white flowers in her hair, the self-taught jazz legend hypnotized audiences with songs like the shocking, seminal ‘Strange Fruit‘ and the ballsy ‘Ain’t Nobody’s Business If I Do‘, but still had to enter through the back entrance when performing with her all-white band. Fed up, Billie Holiday would spend the rest of her short, explosive life daring to be; fighting injustice with dazzling glamour, luminous self-destruction, and a refusal to be silenced. Lady Day sang nobody’s blues but her own.
My new Couture Collection is designed for ladies in the mood for (self-) love. Drape your curves in luscious lace and sensual, deep-scarlet velvet. Queen of Blues-inspired details -think corset lacing and ‘feminine feminist’ lettering- invoke Billie Holiday’s smoky glamour and velvet-cloaked voice. Wear my Velvet Voice collection and sway to the rhythm of your own blues!
Governed by NO ONE
Flame-haired, brave-hearted and always dressed to dazzle, Elizabeth the First, also known as England’s ‘Virgin Queen’, is one of the most unforgettable women in history. Her glorious reign is known as The Golden Age ~ a period that saw the birth of Shakespeare, the defeat of the Spanish Armada and the emergence of England as a world power. It lasted almost 45 years; Elizabeth’s legacy as a feminist icon however, has already spanned nearly 5 centuries. “My sex cannot diminish my prestige.”
Only 11 days after he beheaded his second wife (the flamboyant Anne Boleyn), King Henry VIII married a pale, fair-haired maiden called Jane Seymour. Who exactly was this girl, and what had made the king so besotted with her? To this day, historians don’t quite know what to make of her.
Glamour, the magical power of persuasion
“Dare to be the CEO of your own career”
Who run this (digital) world? For Saskia Van Uffelen, the answer to that question is crystal clear: women. And what better role model for these women than the passionate CEO of Ericsson Belux herself? Named ICT Woman of the Year in 2011, Belgian-born Saskia is a great inspiration -not only as a digital visionary but also as a top manager who gracefully combines a hectic job with a family of five children. “In disruptive times, we need women.”