This Leona Edmiston dress is one of my favourites. The pattern reminds me of the harlequins who performed acrobatics and slapstick comedy from the Italian Commedia dell’arte in the 15th to 16th century. The harlequin inherits his physical agility and his trickster qualities, as well as his name, from a mischievous “devil” character in medieval passion plays. (Source: Wikipedia) In keeping with the theme of old-being-new-again, I’ve matched it with a yellow Zara jacket that I bought second-hand at Di Nuovo in Paddington. I like to think of myself as being reasonably physically agile on the bicycle, failed mountain biking “tricks” notwithstanding.
This dress’ reference to the past made me reflect on how women are represented in society these days. Here in Sydney, David Jones’, a department store, print advertising for the Autumn/Winter 2015 collections are everywhere in the CBD. I have passed the ads daily on a bus shelter on Macquarie Street and on a banner near the College Street Cycleway. I have noticed the lack of interest, action or engagement on the face, pose and clothing of the model. The overall effect of the ad is forgettable. While International Women’s Day was celebrated this past weekend, a major retailer has retained a significant advertising firm to pitch photos of a woman standing around in clothes doing nothing. It is disappointing.
I have a daughter who will be eight in April. I hope that I am presenting a different view to her of what a woman can achieve. I had a successful career in investment banking which I left in early 2014. It was time to do something new. I ride a bicycle every day to drop her off at school and our son at childcare. I cook most of our meals. I was educated in the US, worked in Manhattan, left to work in London and then moved to Sydney for love. It was my choice just as I choose a dress every day. Justin and I share in the parenting of our children to instill a view of how to live, which is different to most. We live close to the city while most of our friends have left for the suburbs. They seem comfortable there and we are happy for them. But why do what everyone else does? Why not do things a different way? Innovate. Try a different rhythm when things are not going as you had hoped. Just standing around seems hopelessly archaic, like the harlequins who used to perform for a crowd that was ill-educated and underfed in a feudal society governed by the nobility. Have we moved on from that kind of existence? I’m not sure. Are we instead trapped by the “modern conveniences” of living?
Try taking your bicycle next time instead of the car to buy some milk. Try commuting to work twice a week on a bicycle. I promise you will feel better for it.
Today’s ensemble: Leona Edmiston dress, Zara jacket, Geox heels, Yakkay helmet, Dior sunglasses, Swarovski earrings, eZee Sprint bicycle, Lovisa ring, Linus Eleanor handbag, Cartier Santos, Kryptonite lock.