Dare to Bare; the story of my ‘Bare Bottom Dress’
25 years ago, I designed a dress that would completely change my life: the ‘Bare Bottom Dress’. (‘Blotebillenjurk’ in Dutch) The dress does exactly what it says; it shows your bottom. It does so dramatically though, with a startling contrast between the long flowy front and the revealing back. Wearing it, I felt strong and sexy, because the design didn’t aim to please in a traditional way. It was a pure expression of my sexual confidence. But would it come across that way? Would men see it as a celebration of female sexuality, or just another piece of ass? There was only one place to find out: Amsterdam’s Red Light District..
Nobody hissed at me, nobody offered me money. The prowling men would even shrink away when I tried to make eye contact. Here I was, walking alone and half-naked through these sexual hunting grounds, and I was untouchable! Slowly coming down from the adrenaline rush, I walked back to my car. It was a balmy summer night, and crossing the busy Leidseplein, I was unaware of the crowds on the pavement terraces till I heard clapping. When I looked up, I realized people were applauding. Me and my ‘blotebillenjurk’ got a standing ovation!
When Wim Pijbes became the Rijksmuseum’s director in 2008, the first acquisition he made was my ‘Bare Bottom Dress’. A few years later, ‘blotebillenjurk’ became an official word and was included in the Dutch dictionary. My dress had become a symbol of a new expression of female sexuality. But it was years earlier, crossing that busy square, that I realized in order to make changes, you have to take risks and bare your soul. (in my particular case, also my behind!) The rewards are great. In the coming weeks, I invite you to journey with me out of your comfort zones. Dare to be.
Model: Marlies Dekkers in Playboy
Photocredit: Inez van Lamsweerde
NO ONE like me
As liberal and open-minded as Marlies Dekkers is now, during her childhood she was equally conservative. “Every night, I would be on my knees, praying my Hail Marys.” Still, that period is precious to her; it has shaped her into the power woman she is now. This year, Marlies celebrates being in business for 25 years, the perfect opportunity to look back at her milestones.
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