A few weeks ago I was having a little brainstorm session with my friend Julie, making a list of interesting blog post items.
One of the items we called ‘icons’. A selected group of outstanding women that have stood the test of time. Whether it’s because of their style, music, work, appearance or probably a combination of all of the above.
I aim for my designs and bags to be strong enough to survive decades and still stay contemporary and inspiring to wear. Often pictures of these special women are an endless source of inspiration to me. Regularly I browse the Internet and Pinterest to absorb these images and step into their world for a short moment. In my fantasy I put my bag around their shoulders or put it behind the chair they are sitting in. Scanning the pictures of what is really timeless and look at the bag in that imaginative frame.
During my quest for image input, I immediately got lost in a maze of beautiful pictures and my curiosity to get to know more about them brought me in full stress mode! Until I realised it is only me who decides what to write for the blog… so duh…
I decided to introduce a blog theme named: First Ladies. Now and then I will point out one of these beautiful inspiration sources in my blog.
‘I think quotes are very dangerous things.’ – Kate Bush –
This week I honour the wonderful Kate Bush, known for her eclectic experimental music as well as her idiosyncratic performances. She is in fact in many ways a first lady:
– The first lady who performed with a head microphone. (Madonna eat your heart out)
– The first lady (as to say; female artists) to have a self-written no. 1 song in the UK (‘Wuthering Heights’ at the dazzling age of only 19 – can you imagine?!).
– The first lady in Britain as a solo performing female artist to top the UK album charts.
– The first lady ever to enter the album chart at number one.
– The first lady to have top five albums in the UK charts in five successive decades.
– The first lady artist that brought 8 of her albums in the UK top 40, one week after her first show in 35 years (2014 ‘Before the Dawn’ concerts). All 22 shows were sold out within 15 minutes.
And last but definitely not least the first lady who inspired me in my latent artistic aspirations.
Need I say more? Yes I do.
‘Kate (born 30 July 1958) came from an artistic background: her mother was an accomplished traditional Irish dancer, her brother Paddy worked as a musical instrument maker (he and Kate made a lot of music when she was young, he had all kinds of strange music instruments). Her brother John was a poet and a photographer. Both brothers were involved in the local folk music scene. Kate later would join her brothers band as lead singer. She teaches herself the piano at the age of 11. She also played the organ in a barn behind her parent’s house and studied the violin. Soon she began writing her own tunes and eventually added lyrics to them.’
I was totally flabbergasted to find out that by the age of 13 she had written over more than 100 songs by herself, including the legendary ‘The man with the child in his eyes’.
Her family produced a demo tape with over 50 of her compositions, which was turned down by record labels. David Gilmour of Pink Floyd received the demo from Ricky Hopper, a mutual friend of Gilmour and the Bush family. Impressed with what he heard, Gilmour helped the sixteen-year-old Bush get a more professional-sounding demo tape recorded that would be more easy to sell to the record companies. The tape was sent to EMI executive Terry Slater, who was impressed by the tape and signed her.
Singer, writer, composer, dancer, producer, mime player, performer and most of all true artist. But she considers herself a writer above all. A writer who gets into the skin of somebody else and shapes a story around that particular character or theme.
This past weekend I drowned myself in her video clips. Fascinated by her incredible range of talent, beauty and intelligence… Intrigued by her progressive and provocative sensual innocence.
I watched most of her interviews and whether it is with a joke, or bloody serious, in all that she is saying a true artist speaks. Driven by her own pure artistic urge, but being modest about it. The only starting point to create is her inner self, where it will lead upon is not the question…
At the age my son is now (Daan is 9), I remember staying at my grandmother’s. It was my first time that I was there alone. With my brand new blue-green boots (which actually made a tappy sound when walking – yay!), enjoying ‘La vache qui rit’ spread-cheese cubes and a purple bucket with little cheese balls. I was in 7th heaven during probably the worst year of school (let’s shake hands, Kate: I used to be a loner too).
Besides the fact that we all wish to stay a full cycle of the moon either holding Peter Gabriel or Kate Bush, I was sitting there on the couch, watching MTV, truly comforted by the fact that ‘somewhere there was a place where I belonged.’
In the same year (1986) ‘Running Up That Hill’ was released as the single of her new album ‘Hounds Of Love’. Looking in all peace at the video last night, I realised it was actually Kate who had opened my eyes and heart for a form of art where dance and movements were integrated in an autonomous way of expression. Her way of moving was not to be pleasing by its form, but to express herself and her story. Very unusual to use modern dance in a music video at that time. She was really a pioneer.
So at that young age, I was scanning her body and her movements. Comparing it to what I already knew about dance. Her feet were stretched as they were supposed to be. Her hands (especially thumb) were in the right position. The minimal forms and shapes were not like the typical ‘dance’ that I knew at that time, but the emotion as well as the expression and the minimalistic art form touched me.
Looking back at the video made me realise that it reflects the essence of my artistic views and preferences that I developed many years later.
Thank you, Kate
Little funny fact I could not resist to mention ; )
On the occasion of the opening of the Haunted Castle of ‘our’ Efteling, a TV special was brought on television on May 12th 1978. It was Kate’s first TV performance. Have a look at the fake grave stone with Kate Bush on it!
all images through pinterest (Kate Bush and cat: photographer unknown. Kate Bush with wide dress by Gered Mankowitz. Kate Bush with big hair by Anton Corbijn. Kate Bush in squat position by Patrick Lichfield).