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Wednesday, 13 May 2009

ideal_woman22.jpg'Wie een wijf trouwt om 't schoon lijf, verliest het lijf en houdt het wijf'. ('The one who marries a bitch for her beautiful body, looses the body and keeps the bitch')

The ideal woman, does she exist? This was the name of an exhibition I visited in my hometown when in Holland during the semester break. The multi-media installation was built around the six female qualities that have been stressed most in classical mythology and history: loyalty, motherhood, homeliness, piety, thoroughness and beauty. While reading the stories of role models from The Bible to modern media, I thought about the 'Book of Etiquettes' that my mum had thrown away decades ago. Her generation decided that it was time to create their own ideal image of a woman as opposed to the one dictated by men. idw3.jpg

In 'Tassenmuseum Hendrikje' in Amsterdam, I further explored this notion. As a bag fetishist it was amazing to see this object as an expression of developments in society and in particular of women. From little embroidered bags just to keep money in, to thigh backs women wore under their layered skirts, the bag has undergone many metamorphoses. Studying the chain with sewing tools carried as a jewel around the neck, inspired me to rejuvenate this tool for all those indie chicks out there. The bone & leather bag gave me a déjà-vu of Edwin's eco accessories collection while the classic crocodile bag made me finally restore the one I inherited from my grandmother. But my favorite bag was the evening bag women carried to theatres and galas. It has a small binoculars, a fan and a cute little notebook with a pen. Not to write an article on the opera you're watching, but to write down the names of the admirers whom had asked you for a dance. I just wish I would have had that bag while still single.

ideal_woman33.jpgTimes have changed and nowadays bags are equipped with space for notebooks, iPhones and other 'masculine' gadgets. Instead of chastity and piety, people demand a whole range of other qualities of the modern working girl. If this helps her to become more of an ideal woman remains a mystery. Sure enough she won't be able to figure it out by herself.

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