Power Dressing with Marlies Dekkers
From Hatshepsut’s false beard to my ‘bare butt’ dress – the many faces of power dressing.
Did you know that one of ancient Egypt’s most successful pharaohs was actually a woman? Her name was Hatshepsut, and some consider her the first ever female power dresser. While later queens Nefertiti and Cleopatra dressed as Egyptian noblewomen, the formidable Hatshepsut went bare– chested and preferred to wear men’s kilts and false beards: a pioneering female politician’s way of asserting her power in a culture that had no words or images to portray a woman with this status. Fast–forward to the 16th century, to Queen Elizabeth of England’s awe–inspiring cartwheel ruffs and voluminous skirts stiffened with whalebone. In Tudor times, magnificence was regarded as being synonymous with power and greatness, and Elizabeth reigned supreme. Her wardrobe was rumored to contain more than 3000 breathtaking gowns, and she loved to dazzle with her legendary collection of pearls, shiny symbols of her maiden status.
Many years later, we would see the same ‘power pearls’ on Margaret Thatcher, first female prime minister of Britain. The ‘Iron Lady’ combined them with the 20th century costume of female rulers: the skirt suit. Invented by Coco Chanel and coinciding with the first women’s rights movement, the skirt suit consisted of a tight skirt and collarless button–up jacket, featuring masculine elements to give women an ‘authoritative’ appearance. “Women have always been the strong ones,” Chanel used to say, and with her comfortable, yet elegant uniform, she gave women the freedom to explore their ambitions. In 1966, Yves Saint Laurent extended and glamourized this concept by infusing different archetypes –for example, the safari jacket, the utilitarian jumpsuit and the pinstripe gangster suit– with a powerful, hyper–feminine sensuality. His ‘Le Smoking’ tuxedo became an archetype itself; the ultimate statement of Amazonian chique.
The official term ‘power dressing’ was actually first officially used in a New York paper in 1979. It heralded the beginning of ‘the shoulder pad era’ during which white–collar women started to dress for the power they wanted, not the power they had. Queen Elizabeth I herself would have appreciated the look: big shoulders, big hair, bright colors –vivid red being a favorite– and again, pearls. In the movie Working Girl (1988), Sigourney Weaver’s character embodies this 1980s style of power dressing perfectly, but there is also a critical note, expressed by Harrison Ford’s character when he comments on the more feminine look of Sigourney’s ambitious secretary: “You’re the first woman I’ve seen at one of these things that dresses like a woman, not like a woman thinks a man would dress if he was a woman.” Women were getting fed up with having to hide their sexuality to break through the glass ceiling. They were ready for Madonna’s fashion coup.
In 1990, on the first stop of her Blonde Ambition Tour, Madonna performed in a spectacular pink cone bra, created by French designer Jean Paul Gaultier. It instantly became the symbol of the third feminist wave. The bra, once a symbol of suppression, something to be burned, had become a symbol of power. Feminine power! Without Madonna’s bra moment, I doubt my own lingerie –which offers women the tools to explore their sexuality in a very similar way– would have had a chance. Around this time, I created my ‘Bare Butt Dress’; a design that dramatically reveals the wearer’s behind. Wearing it myself, walking down the streets, I felt surprisingly strong, sexy and powerful. This was a new, very personal form of power dressing, one that focused on creating confidence, rather than merely trying to impress. And I remember thinking: “Yes, let’s start this revolution!”. Looking back at my career in lingerie –now spanning over 25 years– it is very clear that it has been fueled mainly by one thing: my ambition to frame women’s beauty, with all its perfect imperfections. Early on, I developed a signature look with exactly that goal in mind, using straps and a sensual play of graphic lines. From the seductive Spider to the divine– inspired Dame de Paris; these design classics accentuate the parts women are already proud of, and show them new ways to feel confident about their bodies. With my Awaken Your Senses collection, I explored new sensual blueprints, and combined them with my usual superb fi t and a bold new strap. Think of the powerfully seductive pin– striped Gloria or the erotically charged leather Femme Fatale. And to stimulate women to confidently turn the beach into their catwalk, I created classic, yet seriously sexy swimwear like the hugely popular Holi Vintage collection with its cleverly laid out pattern that accentuates feminine curves in all the right places. Each one of these designs dares you to look in the mirror and fall utterly and completely in love with yourself. In the end, isn’t that the most daring power move of all?
Happy Women’s Day
Happy Women’s Day! I am extra excited about this edition, because wow, what a year it’s been for feminism! This is the year that we went global; that we showed up with our money, our bodies, our time and our voices to show the world: this is OUR time!
When I think of someone who is the embodiment of the highest level of expression, I have to think of German opera superstar Nadja Michael (47). This fearless feminine feminist is absolutely unforgettable in roles like Medea, Salomé and Lady Macbeth, performing phenomenally not just as a singer, but also a dancer and actress. How does she do it?
She started out as a contestant on the Norwegian version of ‘So You Think You Can Dance’; a few years later her debut single ‘Sunrise’ reached triple platinum status. But what makes Norwegian/Cuban star Alexandra Joner (27) such a feminine feminist icon is the fearless fun with which she expresses herself; in her singing and acting, but also in her fabulously sexy looks (often wearing marlies|dekkers, of course!). “I am fighting to make ‘sexy’ a positive thing!”
LUST for LIGHT
With her stunning staged photographs, Dutch artist Marie Cécile Thijs (1965) connects the past with the present in an intensely poetic, painterly way. Originally a lawyer, she decided more than fifteen years ago to follow her love for the camera. In just a short period of time, Marie Cécile became an internationally acclaimed artist whose works are included in the collections of museums like the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam and the Museum of Photographic Arts San Diego. She has also presented her art at TEFAF (widely regarded as the world’s pre-eminent fair of art and antiques), Art Miami and Photo Shanghai. For her signature series ‘White Collar’, Marie Cécile photographed the only surviving 17th-century pleated ruff in the world, then digitally added it to her models for an almost surreal, mesmerizing result.
Marlies|dekkers heeft een grote variëteit aan lingerie wat gedragen kan worden door iedereen en voldoet aan iedere vrouw haar behoefte. Naast het aanbieden van producten op onze webshop, houden we een blog bij in de categorie ‘Maison Marlies’ waar over verschillende onderwerpen geschreven wordt zoals; Waarom 50 worden fantastisch is, een 5-stappenplan voor het kopen van lingerie voor jouw vriendin, vrouw of partner , hoe je lingerie als deel van je outfit maakt en andere leuke onderwerpen.
In Maison Marlies blog kun je van alles lezen over het leven achter en rondom het bedrijf. Of je nu wilt weten waar ze haar inspiratie vandaan haalt voor het ontwerpen van een nieuwe collectie, of dat je interesse hebt in haar levensstijl, gezonde recepten, of haar smaak in bijzondere kunst, je kunt het vinden in de blog. Deze zakenvrouw krijgt het voor elkaar om met een knipoog te schrijven over haar zakenreizen, shop avonturen, haar collega’s, vrienden en familie en zelfs over haar vakanties waar ze even helemaal tot rust komt. Wanneer je even niet meer weet hoe je jou goede bh maat kunt vinden, biedt Maison Marlies een aantal richtlijnen zodat je je boezem kunt schudden zonder dat je borsten eruit floepen. Comfort voor je buste is een combinatie van de juiste maat en de juiste kwaliteit. Je wilt toch geen onhandig ondergoed, terwijl dit eigenlijk heel makkelijk voorkomen kan worden door het dragen van hoge kwaliteit lingerie?! En wanneer je voorgevel goed op z’n plaats gehouden wordt kun je eindelijk volledig je vrouwelijkheid vieren. De blog geeft advies over het mixen en matchen van lingerie, over het stimuleren en inspireren van je eigen stijlgevoel en houdt je op de hoogte van de laatste trends.
blij met marlies|dekkers lingerie
Haar celebrity vrienden zijn ook erg blij met de perfecte pasvorm van de bh's van marlies|dekkers. Deze vriendinnen laten met trots hun sexy lingerie van marlies|dekkers zien in fotoshoots voor tijdschriften, en tijdens optredens, tv-shows of zelfs in films. Maison Marlies wijdt een speciaal gedeelte van de blog aan gerelateerde nieuwtjes en ontwikkelingen zodat je altijd op de hoogte blijft van de laatste ontwikkelingen rondom de speciale missie die de visie van Marlies’ ademt voor de toekomst.