March Mood

I’m currently on day six of the global, pandemic-certified, Covid-19 quarantine. I live in NYC where, currently, social-distancing is not only encouraged, it is largely enforced through the closure of almost all non-essential commerce.

I’m only human (and a Taurus at that), so naturally, I spent the first few days sleeping in, binge-watching Netflix, scrolling social media, not changing out of my pajamas for 48 hours straight, and eating snacks in bed – so my usual weekend routine. However, I couldn’t quite shake this incessant urge to use this rare free time to be creative for myself, rather than for my various jobs. Ugh, it’s pretty crazy that there is so much pressure being put on us to use this time to be productive. Don’t we deserve some rest and relaxation; a break from our rat-race lives? Shouldn’t this unprecedented screeching halt our lives have come to show us that the world can indeed go on without the usual levels of productivity? And yet, lying around “relaxing” does not bring me joy. It’s comfortable, it’s easy, but at the end of the day I feel a pretty awful mix of guilt and uselessness. Maybe that’s due to the fact that my NYC apartment is a space for work, not a space for vacation, and my brain can’t quite calibrate the two. I’m sure if I were in a seaside cabin I would feel differently. Or maybe not. Maybe I just have an inner need to create something; anything.

So, without putting any pressure on myself to make anything great, or perfect, I just started making whatever came to mind, and I rather like this idea: I’m going to be doing a monthly mood board here on the blog. This will be a collection of current obsessions: dream destinations, philosophical thoughts, artists that inspire me, doodles, fashion and beauty products, all around some theme for the month. Then, throughout the month, I’ll expand on some of these ideas in separate posts. Sharing the things I’ve been in touch with feels darn therapeutic, and maybe it can entertain, inform or inspire you.

For the month of March, there’s obviously only one thing on our minds. I saw a meme that read: “I can’t even remember what we used to talk about before the coronavirus” and I have to say that resonated. Nonetheless, I refuse to use that as our month’s theme. Doesn’t really go with my aesthetic, you feel me? So, I decided to go with WOMEN as my inspiration – since March was meant to be women’s month.

Here’s the roundup for the month:

1. Dreaming of / Paris

I lived in Paris for a year before moving to New York, and I miss it all the time. Being there felt like I was living in a dreamworld rather than reality. Of course, they are currently on pretty severe lockdown and thing are NOT very dreamy right now. But I’m inspired by the fantasy of Paris, the imaginary cues we are fed about the idea of being “Parisian”. Looking out the window at quiet streets, painting nudes in the nude, reading philosophy, drinking wine and coffee, eating cheese… these are all things we can still do while dreaming of better days. Sounds a bit escapist and reductive, but it’s been helping me power on. I did a little poetic write-up about my time as a liberal arts student in Paris – coming at you this month.

Image via Pinterest

2. Doodling / The divine feminine

Inspired by the plethora of French artists that looked to the mystical female form as a muse, I did some scribbles. Kind of meta if you want to think of the female artist inspired by the female form… I’m into that.

Image by me

3. Contemplating / Commodity Feminism

This is a post I’ve been avoiding writing since I handed in my master’s thesis, titled: “Brand Me Feminist: Fashioning Activism for a #woke generation” almost a year ago now. This body of work was basically my process of coming to terms with the image of “feminism” being used as a sales tactic by fashion brands – using the socially positive idea of female empowerment without following through with any real political change, such as paying female garment workers a fair living wage, or donating to female issue-based charities, or giving women some sort of political freedom from societal oppression through the garments themselves. What does it mean to be a feminist in a world of social media and capitalism? This is the month that I revise my thesis to be consumable in a short (ish) post.

Image by me

4. Lusting after / Old Céline

Oh how we all miss that little “é”! Few designers are more fitting for this month than the beloved Pheobe Philo. I’ve also been absolutely obsessed with The Row and Bottega Veneta… The Olsen sisters are kind of stepping into Philo’s shoes in terms of their androgynous, business-comfortable designs and impeccable details. Bottega’s current creative director, Daniel Lee, worked at Céline as director-of-ready-to-wear during the Philo years, which explains why his reign at Bottega has been so lustrous.

Image via Pinterest

5. Obsessed with / Squish Beauty clear lipgloss

A friend of mine who works in PR introduced me to Charli Howard’s amazing beauty brand. As a model who’s spoken out against the industry’s restrictive beauty ideals, Howard’s brand feels fun, rebellious, and overwhelmingly positive – celebrating the female body rather than condemning it. Squish beauty has the cutest flower shaped acne patches that makes you want to take selfies of your zit treatment, but my favorite product has to be the clear lipgloss. Packaged in a 90s squeezy tube and containing no scent, the product is so simple, and that’s what I love about it. I’ve been on a fragrance-free, good ingredient kick, and this is literally the only lipgloss that suits my increasing criteria: it’s fragrance-free and made with jojoba and sweet almond seed oils. While I don’t believe in “clean” beauty (this term is NOT regulated and encourages fear-mongering about some ingredients that dermatologists actually recommend over their natural alternatives), I do believe that we should be more informed on what we put on our skin. I  looooove the Glossier and Fenty lipglosses, but both contain fragrance, which is why Squish has taken my top spot.

Image via Pinterest

6. Inspired by / Yves Klein

I have a love affair with the cohort of modern artists that worked in France: Picasso, Cézanne, Gauguin, my first love, Matisse… I could go on. This month’s spotlight is on Yves Klein, the artist that made that shade of royal blue famous. If you’re not familiar with Klein, he did performance art. He had nude models dip themselves in his iconic blue paint, and stamp their bodies on to huge canvases, leaving behind an almost abstract imprint. The woman as object, or the woman as art? Something to contemplate.

 

Image via Pinterest