Hildegard von bingen and I
Marlies: Is that you, Hildegard? You are such a radiant vision, the light is almost blinding!
Hildegard: I'm sorry my child; I glow up when I get excited. I'll dim it a little. (Sits down on the bed) There, is that better?
Marlies: Ah, welcome, Hildegard! As my muse, you and I have been working closely together these past few months. Now that we finally meet 'in person', let's celebrate! There's so much to be grateful for: not just my latest collection - inspired by you - but also the 30-year anniversary of my brand.
Hildegard: Dearest, what a splendid idea. Let me loosen my veil.
Marlies: (Gasps as Hildegard's long wavy hair cascades down to her waist). Well, look at you, Hildegard!
Hildegard: (Smiles) My visions showed me that the divine is feminine. Consequently, hiding our feminine beauty would be a sin, wouldn't it? That's why I always encouraged my nuns to grow their hair and wear crowns, fine gowns and opulent jewelry during celebrations. Your resplendent undergarments would have been a very welcome addition, Marlies. Definitely more comfortable than our scratchy under tunics and tight breast bands.
Marlies: Fabric technology sure has come a long way; I read that you didn't even use buttons yet in the 12th century. I'm so happy that for three decades now, I've been able to offer women both comfort and confidence with my designs. But when it comes to owning our feminine powers and using them to fulfill our potential, we could still learn a thing or two from you, Hildegard. Besides running two abbeys and composing and writing work that is still influential after 900 years, you held scathing sermons against church corruption when women weren't even allowed to preach!
Hildegard:I remember it like yesterday: standing on the steps of Cologne Cathedral at 72-years old, the air filled with smoke from nine heretics that had just been burned at the stake. Raising my voice to condemn the Church's corruption and sexual abuse, I knew every moment could be my last. But as soon as my inner sight opened up, I forgot myself and my fear. I was infused with love and light.
Marlies: I can picture it so vividly! I believe many brave women, throughout the centuries, have found incredible inner strength by daring to speak from the heart, manifesting their visions. Whether they were religious or not.
Hildegard: Are you visited by visions too, Marlies? Do tell me about them!
Marlies: I'm having one now, right? (Winks). But seriously, my visions may not be as colorful and vivid as yours perhaps, with vulva-shaped universes and diamond-eyed goddesses, but our ultimate dream is quite similar: a world where both men and women are free to fulfill their potential. Where they can love and be loved. My idea of heaven on earth. The desire to manifest this dream has been fueling everything I've done for the past 30 years, from my collections to my magazine to my 'Unlock your potential' workshops, using 'Dare to dream, dare to grow, dare to be' as my motto.
Hildegard:Beautiful. And, I daresay, rather more poetic than my order's motto: 'Ora et labora'. ('Pray and work', ed.)
Marlies: I'm actually a great believer in your combination of contemplation and action. My friends like to tease me that I live like a nun: disciplined and structured, always in my herbal garden. Do you know that your idea of self-healing through periodic fasting is very popular at the moment? We call it 'intermittent fasting' and modern science has proven it to be very effective, just like your idea of the interconnectedness of all things is now widely spread by a theory called quantum physics. You were so much ahead of your time; did you ever feel lonely?
Hildegard: Besides prayers, the love of my sisters always gave me much strength and support. Especially when we were singing together. How about you, Marlies?
Marlies: I feel the same way! One of the most beautiful things that has grown out of three decades of marlies|dekkers is the global sisterhood of like-minded women who support me, wear my designs and spread my message of empowerment. I may not have a romantic partner, but I feel fulfilled. I'm in love with life; I am engaged to my creativity.
Hildegard: How wonderful, my dearest. I call that: being infused with 'the living light'. I feel blessed to see it's still alive after 900 years.
Marlies: Thanks to you, for a great part! Remember when you wrote that one day, your music would "spread itself out through a vault in the sky, among different peoples, in distant lands and places"? Well, thanks to something called the internet, you are reaching millions of people all over the world with your music and words. And every day you continue to show us how to create magic in our own lives: by letting the ordinary touch the divine.
Hildegard: Bless you and congratulations, sister Marlies. To another 30 years!
Marlies: And at least another millennium for you! Thank you, Hildegard.
fall|winter 20 preview
In January, I presented my newest FW20 collection during a show full of dance and entertainment in Rotterdam. All my work as a feminist designer is inspired by muses, powerful female icons from past and present. And for FW20, my muse will be crime writer Agatha Christie. A few months from now, you will get to discover the collections, and see how they tell stories like Agatha’s thrilling books do..
Running for your life
Dr. Bram Bakker is a psychiatrist, a writer, a runner and a provocateur. With his many bestselling books and columns – and yes, even his own theatre show – he urges us to think outside the box when it comes to our mental health. Not crazy about popping pills? Bram shared some interesting alternatives with me, from throwing out our phones to running ‘till we puke’.
Peas & peppers instead of pills
General practitioner Tamara de Weijer believes that we would feel a lot better if we hit the produce stand before we visited the pharmacy. “On a massive scale, we have been putting the wrong kind of fuel in our bodies.”
Singles Day – You’ve Got this!
All the single ladies, listen up! With single women rapidly becoming the majority, it is high time to stop feeling singled out. This Singles Day, let’s celebrate our freedom and independence by sharing all those solo milestones that make us go: ‘You’ve got this!’.