At Paulette we like atypical profiles. These women who stop at nothing to fulfill their dreams and make prejudice lie. Today, we present to you Reem Al Aboud, a Saudi pilot. First and youngest girl in Saudi Arabia, she would like to become a Dakar driver next year.

Reem Al Aboud, during Dakar 2020’s
©A.S.O./Horacio Cabilla

When did you want to become a pilot ? How your passion came ? 

My father always inspired me not only as a person but as a racer as well, he used to be a drag racer for a period of time and out of 6 kids surprisingly, I used to be the only one interested in joining him and observing to learn more about motorsports! So i always knew i wanted to initiate,participate and hopefully excel in this specific field, since i was a little girl ..

What is your state of mind when you’re behind a wheel ? What are your feelings ? 

The only place that takes me away from reality and is my sweet escape is when i’m behind the wheel, the fact that i have to be confident and a 100% focused from the minute i get behind the wheel until i cross the finish line really amazes me itself because at that specific time is when you begin to understand yourself more and try to overcome and terminate your limitations not only on track but off track as well! I have also realized that motorsports in general, does not only aim to make you a good driver but an inspiring human being! 

Reem Al Aboud
©A.S.O./Horacio Cabilla

Saudi allowed women to drive only 2 years ago. How did you picture your futur before that, as a woman and a pilot in your country ? 

Yes, women were not allowed to drive, but that never stopped me from watching local & international races in order to learn more and enhance my knowledge in motorsports, i always knew that eventually women in Saudi will drive one day so i never gave up hoping to become a racer.

How did you lived this prohibition ? Was it a brake on your passion or your dream to become a pilot ? 

No it was not a break on my passion, it actually encouraged me to push myself and go karting to improve my skills until i get the chance to officially participate in professional race tracks with sport cars! 

Do you think the society need more profil like yours to make a difference ? 

Yes i do actually, especially here in Saudi there are many passionate drivers that wish to initiate in motorsports but never get the chance to. Instead of driving their hearts out in the streets and putting themselves and others at risk and danger, they should be able to do it the safe way on tracks that are certified, So yes.. I believe that this will make a difference in saving lives !

Automobile Circle is largely male-dominated. Whats your feeling about it ? Have you already suffer of discriminatory behaviour ? 

Many women around the world proved that motorsports is not only made for males to excel in and to be completely honest, in our generation, there’s no such thing as a male dominant sport ! Women are remarkably proving themselves and excelling in various fields ! And I’m hopefully joining this path. 


Reem Al Aboud au milieu, accompagnée de l’équipe 100% féminine du Dakar 2020 Annett Fischer (à gauche) et Camélia Liparoti (à droite).
© A.S.O./Horacio Cabilla

What does it mean for you to perhaps participate to the Dakar Race ? 

Being able to initiate in Dakar 2020 in my lovely country was such an incredible experience! I have lived in Saudi for 20 years now and i have never seen such a beautiful landscape! There is obviously a huge difference when it comes to race tracks, thanks to the A.S.O and Isabelle Patissier who has 11 years of experience in Dakar alongside her companion, i have learned a lot and enjoyed the experience as well! Looking forward to greater opportunities together.

Are you aware that you can become a model for girls and women in your country ?

Yes i am and this would be an honor for me to represent myself as a Saudi racer to let all other females in Saudi and from around the world to know that women are capable of achieving! It all goes back to wether they are willing to put all their effort into accomplishing their dreams and passion or not. Other than that all opportunities are open for the Saudi women in our kingdom.

Interview by Charline Bouzon

As a creative, the notion of inspiration is extremely important. How do you stimulate yourself creatively to find new ideas and concepts for drawings, videos, articles, stories? Is there even a way to encourage or trigger inspiration? For a long time, I was unable to draw or write anything even though I felt the strong yearning to do so. I felt uninspired, until I changed my routine and discovered simple, effective ways to get my creative juices flowing. Below are some tips for you to do the same.

The first thing I did was create an Instagram account and be mindful of the accounts I followed. Instagram can offer the opportunity to get a daily dose of inspiring content, as long as you choose to use it in this way. When I was trying to get back into drawing, I followed and discovered gifted illustrators whose work made me want to create. The same goes if you are trying to build your photography skills for example: following talented photographers will make you want to try new things and work hard to perfect your craft. Stop following accounts that do not resonate with you, for instance, get rid of influencers who do not bring you anything on a personal level, and instead choose what you want to focus on: seeing artwork, photography, or books every day. Be intentional of who you follow: consider what these accounts bring you, if they do not spark joy then they should not be on your feed.

YouTube can be another fun way to find inspiration. Watching brilliant creatives talk about their process, their work in progress, how they built their company or started their channel can get you excited to do the same. Seeing how these individuals manage to put together beautifully animated and edited videos can be very uplifting. Find the people whose aesthetic you embrace and appreciate their work. 

Go to exhibitions, to the movies, screenings, galleries, or conferences on topics that make you vibrate. Discovering new things or learning more on subjects you are passionate about can be extremely stimulating. On a less public level, reading books, watching movies or listening to podcasts has the same positive effect.

At home, in your room or office, create a space that feels energizing and beautiful, put up artwork by artists you enjoy, and your own work that you are proud of. Decorate your environment so that it feels welcoming when you want to start getting down to business.

Pretty much surrounding yourself with anything related to the field you are interested in can have a positive impact on your creativity and get you motivated to make things. Talking with likeminded people and friends about your projects and aspirations is also a great way to bounce ideas around and come up with concepts together.

In the end though, it is also about taking the plunge and creating. Even if at first you do not feel inspired or you do not like what you are making, like a sport it is about perseverance and dedication as well. The sense of fulfillment you get from actually creating things that matter to you is one of the best feelings.

Article by Inès Huet

Nowadays, it is very common for universities to offer study abroad programs. Whether it be for a year or a semester, moving to another country is a nerve-wracking experience that can change you in unexpected ways. It is a rewarding personal challenge, that will stay with you. Here’s why everyone should study abroad at least once.

New culture

The most obvious element that makes us want a change of scenery is the possibility of discovering a new country. Depending on how far you go, you may encounter a new language, architecture, climate, or way of thinking that might radically change from what you are used to. This can be very stimulating and awaken your curiosity and eagerness to learn everything about your new environment. Moving somewhere unknown also makes you more versatile as you become familiar with your new home. When I studied abroad in Italy for instance, I had to get accustomed to the casual rhythm of life: students and teachers were allowed a 15 minute delay to class. Italian students would often lounge around in the sun sipping coffee. There was an overall idleness to things.  

Ability to reinvent yourself

Studying abroad, and moving away by yourself specifically, is an opportunity to have a fresh new start. A blank page where you are free to be who you want to be. This doesn’t mean faking a whole new personality, but simply being able to be yourself, free from the baggage you may be carrying when living in one place for a long time. No one in this new environment knows anything about you, which can be extremely liberating.

See what you can accomplish

It is also the opportunity to test your limits and see all the things you can accomplish by yourself: from meeting new people and making friends, to the administrative stuff that a move to another country implies (getting a visa, renting an apartment, getting medical insurance…). Seeing what you are capable of doing on your own as an individual leads to a lot of personal growth.

Making friends

Meeting new people and developing friendships are very rewarding. It’s always nice to see that no matter your age you can make friends, and as you grow older, they might even be more likely to appreciate the same things as you do. My semester abroad for my Master’s in Cultural Management allowed me to meet people who were just as excited as I was about reading, drawing, or going to museums, which made our bond that much stronger.

Taste of freedom

The taste of freedom you get from living alone in a new country feels like an unexpected high. It’s unlike any other feeling to be far from home, to reminisce about all your loved ones far away, and to feel proud of everything that you have managed to accomplish in a completely foreign land.

Living abroad is a unique personal experience. Chances are you’ll want to do it more than once.

Article by Inès Huet

Sometimes when we are getting dressed, inspiration comes to us right away. Other times we stand in front of our closet with no idea what to wear. Those times, it would be nice for someone to pick out an outfit for us that would feel interesting and like we haven’t worn it a thousand times already. To find new ideas and creative ways to pair your clothes, why not follow women whose style speaks to you?

Boyish

Halemur has an impeccable (at times) androgynous style, always wearing neutral colors, and interesting shaped clothes. Her preference for straight-legged pants with a slight ankle crop, clean shirts and beanies, does not stop her from wearing dresses from time to time, all the while remaining true to her overall aesthetic.

Colorful

A good dose of color can put anyone in a good mood. That’s why we love pyperbleu’s style, and color palette. She always manages to find interesting shades to combine, all the while playing with texture and size. What’s more, the YouTuber has had long colorful hair, dyed many colors like blue and pink, so if you have colored hair as well and have started wearing all black or white because you don’t know what to pair it with, let her pyperbleu be your guide!

Vintage

Elufée is a French jewelry maker who wears almost exclusively vintage clothing. This makes for truly original outfits, with one-of-a-kind pieces, that the creator manages to combine in fun and elegant ways. She also has her own vintage online shops where she sells some of her best secondhand finds!  

Feminine ease

Arden Rose has that rare ability to throw anything on and look both effortless and chic. Whether it be a plain white t-shirt or a little skirt, her easy feminine style makes her a great source of fashion inspiration, that is surprisingly easy to recreate at home.

Folk

Florence, the singer from the band Florence and the Machine, always looks like something out of a 70s dream. She prefers long, flowy fabrics, including dresses, jackets and kimonos, that gracefully drape her long figure. She also likes pairing different prints together and adding a unique pair of boots to top off her whole outfit. Her boho folk style seems very approachable in her ootd pictures, so do not be afraid to get inspired by this talented lady.

Article by Inès Huet

Invisible to the naked eye, yet capable of bringing back the most vivid memories, smells have a subtle magic about them. Associated to past lovers, our beloved grandmother, a certain place or a specific holiday, they act as olfactive landmarks. No wonder we search for the perfect perfume, that one smell that we will want to wear for years, as if it were created specifically for us. A subtle fragrance that will become a part of our identity. But how exactly does one find the right perfume?

Let’s start by discussing the different types of perfumes available. You will probably have noticed the tendency to organize perfumes according to gender: certain smells have been labeled as masculine (wood, musc, pepper) and will be placed in the men’s section, whereas others are considered feminine (rose, vanilla, candy) and will be found in the women’s aisle. Needless to say, you do not have to abide by these gender prescriptions. Certain brands also offer unisex options, like Calvin Klein’s CK One or Hermès’ fruit perfumes. Scents can also be categorized by the predominant smell they are composed of: a floral, fruity or woody element. You can try narrowing down your search according to a specific flower or fruit you like, such as jasmine, orange blossom, or lemon zest.  

To find a fragrance that speaks to you, start out by trying lots of perfumes at random and identifying the elements you like. Or, think of smells that evoke positive things for you, and that you would feel comfortable wearing.

Try it out on your skin. Once you find a perfume you really like on the paper tester, spritz it on yourself to see if it also suits your skin. Indeed, perfumes change in interaction with our skin, altering the scent in a positive or negative way. Also allow the smell to develop, throughout the hours a perfume reveals different notes, the top notes are those perceptible at the beginning, heart at the middle, and base notes at the end. A perfume that smells good at the beginning, might develop into something less pleasant within an hour.

Think about the intensity of the smell you want to wear: parfum, eau de parfum, eau de toilette, or cologne are all different in their concentration level, and also in how long they will last. Eau de parfum is very concentrated, whereas eau de toilette is lighter, and eau de cologne even more so. Cologne tends to be more appropriate for the summer, for its lightness.

Do not be afraid to explore perfumer shops. Sephora offers a wide variety of perfumes, but there are also lots of specialized perfumers and brands that create original scents that less people will be likely to wear. For instance, Jo Malone is famous for its colognes, Diptyque for its eaux de parfums. There are also perfume classics, such as J’adore de Dior, Chloé by Chloé, or La Petite Robe Noire by Guerlain, if you are looking for something timeless.

Once you find a scent you love, spritz it on your wrists, on you neck and behind your knees, all points of warmth that will easily keep the smell. You can also put it on your clothes, whose fabric will also make the fragrance last longer.

You know you’ve found the right perfume when not only do you love it, but people immediately think of you when they smell it!

Article by Inès Huet

Granted we sometimes like to watch YouTubers talk about their outfits of the week, or their new thrift finds. However, we sometimes long to connect with the person talking on the screen on a more intimate level, and that is why we greatly appreciate people who are able to share the less glamorous aspects of their life. Whether it be adulting, anxiety, depression, loneliness, relationships, we all struggle with similar things on our walk of life. There is something special, and particularly brave about someone uploading a video online on one of these topics and being vulnerable. Who are the YouTubers who talk about more than fashion?

Amy Lee

Amy Lee is a YouTuber whose channel is explicitly dedicated to talking about more than just fashion and beauty. For instance, she dedicates her “A.M with Amy” videos to discussing a topic in depth, such as how to pursue your passions/dreams, rejection, feeling grateful… She always has an earnest and personal approach to the subject at hand. Her honest view on things is often uplifting, since there is something reassuring about seeing we are not alone in our doubts and fears.

Arden Rose

Arden Rose has been on the internet for a long time, and seeing her evolution is quite interesting. From fashion hauls, she has become a defender of sustainable clothes and habits to help the environment. She has also started talking about more varied subjects, such as positive and safe sex, how to start working out and liking it, or questions related to birth control. Her sharp sense of humor and slight awkwardness make her a touching individual whose videos we can’t wait to watch: no matter the theme we know we’ll have a good time.

Hitomi Mochizuki

Finally, Hitomi is one of the most inspiring YouTubers. Hitomi has always done videos about the struggles and joys of life, and her videos lately are about the beauty of our existence, how to embrace it and manage to slowly overcome trauma, depression and anxiety. She addresses all of these things, and many more: talking about why she loves being sober, what is conscious love, or her take on spirituality. If you crave more content from Hitomi, she also has an application where she talks about similar topics in depth, along with yoga and meditation videos. We recommend checking it out here: hitominow.me/app.

Article by Inès Huet

Halloween is just around the corner. In honor of the season, we explore a figure that has been around for centuries: the witch. The witch has a complex past. In Europe, between the 16th and 17th century, between fifty and a hundred thousand people were executed under the motive of witchcraft, the vast majority being women. Today, this figure has known a resurgence in popular culture, and I largely considered as a symbol of feminism, revolt and creativity. The witch is an exceptional woman, who breaks the norms and is not afraid to position herself against the patriarchal society that oppresses her. What led the witch to this impressive evolution, from a menacing and cruel character to an icon of female empowerment?

A difficult start for the witch

For a long time, the witch was stuck in a binary structure: in fairy tales and legends, women were either “good” or “evil”. This reductive take on women is visible in many children’s works, like Disney films. Between Snow White and her evil stepmother, there is no doubt on which of the two is virtuous. Whether it be in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Sleeping Beauty, The Chronicles of Narnia or Hansel and Gretel the witch is vicious, if not murderous.

Nothing to do with our favorite characters from Harry Potter or Sabrina. Bad witches are not only bad morally, but also physically. They have a scary appearance, are old and repulsive: their physique mirrors their nature. On the other hand, the kind young women or fairies are beautiful and obedient, reflecting a masculine ideal of femininity. This is how the parameters of what is acceptable in terms of gender are established: a good woman is necessarily pretty, nice, and obliging, whereas a bad woman is ugly, selfish, and power hungry. Ursula in The Little Mermaid wants to reign over Atlantica in King Triton’s place, the Wicked Witch of the West resists the Wizard of Oz’s order and wants to avenge her sister’s death, for example. The woman who put into question the male authority in place, need to be eliminated, which is why the grand majority of these witch characters dies at the end of the story, making space for a happy ending.

Until she becomes a feminist icon

A tragic outcome for these feminine characters, whose main flaws are wanting to have their say in politics, and freedom. It comes as no surprise then, that the witch should evolve in keeping with women’s place in our modern society… She later becomes an independent, strong and nuanced heroine, who is met with huge success. This rewritten character inspired women: on Instagram, the hasghtag #witchesofinstagram has been used more than three million times to this day. Many women are interested in tarot, witchcraft classes, crystals and astrology. Spirituality and esotericism inspire curiosity and are a way to reconnect with the self and nature, a subject that is treated more in depth in Paulette’s Spiritualité magazine. If you want to learn more about witchcraft and magic, here are some modern-day witches you can follow on YouTube:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t22bW4C-cDw

We must not forget that our perception of magic tends to be white-washed: many forms of witchcraft exist outside of the West such as voodoo, which tends to be viewed negatively – and wrongly so – compared to wicca, for instance. These practices have also largely influenced some Western rituals: in her music video “Brujas” (witch in Spanish), Princess Nokia sings ‘Tituba ! Voodoo slave girl who graced us // with her black magic // You made her a slave (…) Everything you got, you got from us.’ Witch hunts also affected women coming from minorities: just as feminism is intersectional, the political witch is too.

Article by Inès Huet

Fall is here, and has brought with it orange leaves, burning sunsets, pumpkin lattes, and chilly nights where all we want to do is get warm under our bedcovers with a hot chocolate and a good book. Some might see this season as particularly dreary, as it signs the end of summer and the start of gloomy weather. However, autumn is just begging for us to change our habits and make the best of it, through spooky activities and witchy events… Here are some tips to enjoy this Halloween season to the fullest.

BAKE TASTY RECIPES

It is finally socially appropriate to sip on hot chocolates, lattes, and tea whenever we feel like it. Of course, tea-time wouldn’t be complete without a snack. Cinnamon, pumpkin or ginger are some of the flavors to rediscover through tasty foods to bake at home, like these easy Halloween treats by So Yummy:

FOLLOW NEW ARTISTS

There are plenty of talented illustrators on Instagram who publish Halloween or fall themed artwork during the months of October and November. For instance, check out sarahughesillustration, or marysyring! There is nothing like surrounding oneself with witchy drawings to feel inspired by the season. Perhaps you might even create something yourself, or:

DO AN ART CHALLENGE

During the entire month of October unfolds one of the most popular drawing challenges held by artists on Instagram. We are of course talking about Inktober. The challenge consists in drawing a drawing a day, following a prompt list. There is an official prompt list, but many artists also come up with their own list, so you can choose whichever one fits your expectations or style best. Some artists holding their own challenge include: moonchildillustrations, or furrylittlepeach… It is never too late to join: the point is to have fun and push yourself!

THROW A THEME PARTY

Why not hold a Halloween dinner party at your place? You might not necessarily want to go trick or treating around your neighborhood, or your city might not even celebrate the event. Take matters into your own hands and invite friends over to enjoy a spooky meal and decorate the whole place accordingly. Any excuse to have a costume party!

CURATE YOUR WARDBRODE

Orange, brown, mustard yellow, burgundy or auburn are just some of the colors you can bring out of your wardrobe in the fall time. Just because the temperatures drop does not mean you have to wear exclusively colorless outfits, that might get your overall mood down. Quite the contrary, as demonstrated by Jerianie.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D0rZDJz98XY

GO WALK IN NATURE

This is the ideal season to go for walks in the park or the forest. The weather is chilly but still enjoyable, and the change of colors makes it one of the nicest times of the year to appreciate nature. Bonus points if you go in the late afternoon, during the golden hour to get the full effect of the changing season.

WATCH SPOOKY SHOWS AND MOVIES

This list would obviously be incomplete without a few scary movie and TV show recommendations. Whether you want to discover new TV shows, or re-watch classics, we have got you covered. We recommend watching Sabrina the witch, Over the Garden Wall, Coraline or a good old Tim Burton film.

READ THESE GOTHIC CLASSICS

And finally, since there is nothing quite like getting cozy in bed with a page-turner, how about choosing a gothic novel to read this fall? Frankenstein, Wuthering Heigths, or Jane Eyre… are just some of the perfect stories to pour over these coming months.

Article by Inès Huet

In this article we talked at length about how to dress more sustainably: one of the elements mentioned was reworking or customizing our clothes rather than throwing them away when they no longer satisfy us. There are so many creative ways to transform an old jacket, vintage shirt, or your grandfather’s oversized pants into something unique. Below we review some of the best and easiest ways to give new life to clothes.

Use some paint

With fabric paint you can draw on your clothes: either creating a simple design, like Jess Chen or an elaborate painting, like Jim Reno in this tutorial video. You can use markers or paint, on any type of fabric: jackets, sweatpants, even your Converse! Try sketching your pattern on paper before taking the plunge, to make sure you adjust it before making it permanent.

Add a patch

To do this, you can either buy patches made by artists, or cut out fabrics you like and stitch them unto your clothes. Sonia Illustration’s artistic patches can give a new twist to your denim jacket, if you stitch it on the back of a jean jacket. But patches are not limited to denim jackets, you can add them to the elbows of a sweater, on the trimming of your pant pockets, on the edge of your shirt collar, etc….

Change the buttons

This may seem like a trivial detail, but buttons can really change the appearance of a garment. If you have a simple jacket or cardigan that you never wear because it seems too boring, try switching the buttons to make a statement. Big flat gold buttons, pearl ones, flower-shaped numbers, there is a button out there for whatever style you want to convey.

Dye it

Remember the tie-dye projects you did in middle school? Dyeing your clothes does not mean they have to come out looking like the work of a school arts and crafts class.

Do some embroidery

If you know how to embroider, or want to learn how to, this technique can be a really nice way to make your clothes original. You have control over the design, and you can perfect your skill to make more and more elaborate design with time. Like paint, this is also a satisfying way to express your art style through your clothes, and feel proud of your craft.

Add pins

Pins are an effective way to change your clothes, and they are commitment free. When you tire of them, you need only unpin them to change the look of your garment. You can add them to pockets, your collar, pile them up or only use one to make a statement. Pins also come in different forms: there are “simple” metal ones or more intricate ones made of velvet, as designed by…

Finally, you can always get your clothes professionally tailored, if you don’t feel like you have the skills to re-stitch them to give them the shape you want by yourself.

Article by Inès Huet

Known for her extravagant gowns, sky-high hairdos and royal status, Marie-Antoinette is one of the most famous queens of France. Her fashion sense and personality continue to influence trends and inspire creatives. In Sofia Coppola’s film, for instance, Marie-Antoinette is depicted as a frivolous, naïve young girl, more interested in dresses, pastries and partying than engaging in political intrigue. This is one of the common representations of the queen: a foolish woman obsessed with her appearance and having fun. Yet, there is also another side to the historical figure: a rebellious, independent woman. Hated or admired, Marie-Antoinette has always sparked strong emotions, as did her eccentric way of dressing. Clothing can be a means to communicate and convey a statement; it is seldom as futile as it seems. Was Marie-Antoinette a selfish fashion victim – who told the starving people to eat brioche – or was her clothing a way for her to express her bold and free spirit?

At 14, Marie-Antoinette was thrown into one of the cruelest courts in Europe. Chosen on the basis of her physical beauty and for political reasons, she was meant to give birth to the future king of France. Her every move was scrutinised and discussed. It did not sit well with her that for the first seven years of her marriage with the king, they were never intimate. At the time, with her sole purpose being to produce an heir, her failure to do so was extremely humiliating and the object of public criticism. 

Quickly, the queen made it clear that she was going to live according to her own rules. She did not appreciate the strict code of conduct and etiquette of the court, and soon found her own safe space at the Trianon: a smaller palace close to Versailles, flanked with a functioning farm, where she retreated by herself or with her friends to rest and throw the occasional luxurious party. Except that according to protocol, the queen was meant to sleep with the king – her not doing so was deemed scandalous.

Scandal remained associated with Marie-Antoinette throughout her life. By choosing not to abide by the rules associated to her rank, Marie-Antoinette made many enemies. Gossip and slander became extremely common, even after she finally had her first child. Her choice of dresses, far from being inconspicuous, was another form of rebellion on her part.

Through her sartorial choices, Marie-Antoinette transgressed the traditional social order. Bored of her husband, and allowed no real political role, the queen decided to play her last card: use fashion as a means of self-expression, in a court where everything was about appearance. A true fashionista, Marie-Antoinette came up with outrageous, fancy dresses and hairdos with her stylists. She refused to wear the traditional corset of the time, deeming it an object of torture. As the queen of France, she was allowed to follow fashion, but without provocation. Marie-Antoinette disregarded the etiquette, and preferred extravagant outfits. For a while, the people followed the queen’s example, adopting gravity-defying hairstyles, and dresses overflowing with material.

That is, until the queen went too far. First, she decided she wanted to wear long white dresses made of cotton, like the peasants did. This frock allowed her to be free in her movements and feel closer to nature. Marie-Antoinette looked less like a queen, and more like a milkmaid, a transgression that was perceived as a betrayal by the people of France. Moreover, the queen was being accused of spending huge sums of money on her clothes, rather than prioritising the well-being of her people. Her defiant fashion-sense led to the kingdom distrusting the foreign queen.

Although Marie-Antoinette is not the only reason that triggered the French revolution — and her extravagant wardrobe not the only reason she was disliked–, her peculiar nature certainly helped nourish distrust in the French monarchy, as she came to symbolize the excesses of royals. Until her very last breath, Marie-Antoinette used clothing as a statement. After the execution of her husband, she asked for a black gown to wear for mourning. When she was taken to the guillotine, she was denied the right to dress as a widow. Instead, Marie-Antoinette chose to wear a white dress. When she was being led in a cart through the streets of Paris to be executed, everyone fell completely silent as they watched the queen go by.

To the end and still today, the iconic Marie-Antoinette continues to fascinate for her ambiguous, controversial and paradoxical character.

Article by Inès Huet

Sources:

Queen of Fashion: What Marie Antoinette Wore to the Revolution by Caroline Weber

The Queen’s Hair: Marie-Antoinette, Politics, and DNA by Desmond Hosford

Mermaids have become a popular trend recently, from companies selling mermaid floats, mermaid-tail swimsuits, or mermaid-themed makeup. Nowadays, they are considered an ideal of femininity, as sensual, beautiful, and strong creatures. But it wasn’t always the case. The figure of the mermaid has undergone many shifts through time, from its origin story to today’s pop culture icon. Our constant fascination with this fictional character seems to mirror our own ideas on gender, specifically what it means to be a “real” woman…

Credit: @mirdirana

Mermaids first appeared as sirens in Homer’s poem The Odyssey. They were half bird half woman, and perceived as a threat to men, and more specifically sailors, because of their powers. Indeed, a siren’s singing voice was greatly feared by men at sea. Legends said that anyone who heard a siren’s melodious voice was sure to meet their end. Overcome with lust and desire, sailors would throw themselves overboard in a vain effort to reach the enchanting sea creatures. Ships would sink to their destruction while the sirens kept on singing mercilessly. Their voice was therefore the source of their power; it was not yet their physical beauty.

Yet, when we talk about mermaids, the most iconic remains Christian Hans Andersen’s Little Mermaid fairytale that inspired Ariel, the Disney animation film. It is very interesting to point out that in both these tales, the mermaid figure becomes an attractive water creature, who chooses to give up her voice. In these stories, the mermaid lives underwater and falls in love with a human prince. Desperately yearning to join him on land, the mermaid chooses to willingly trade her compelling voice for human legs. She gets walk on land but is unable to speak.

We must not underestimate the symbolic weight in this trade. The mermaid, by giving up her voice, renounces to what was previously the source of her powers, what made her superior to men. She renders herself powerless in front of a male figure of authority: her prince. The mermaid myth was rewritten from being a dangerous predator to men to becoming a harmless and beautiful object of contemplation for men. She no longer lures them underwater to their death but is the one lured out of her natural habitat. In literature and in films, the mermaid figure shifts from being a predator to becoming a prey.

This evolution is very problematic, as it seems to tell readers and audiences that girls can only find love, and be loved when they are beautiful but silent, obedient, and submissive. These fairytales do not showcase strong, independent female characters, but characters whose personality is rendered less important than their looks, and whose sole goal is to be in a relationship. However, the recent film The Shape of Water shows a more modern take on the mermaid myth. Elisa can be interpreted as a mermaid figure, since she is found as a child by a river, unable to speak. Like the traditional mermaid tale, she had given up her voice for a human form. At the end of the movie, when she finally returns to her natural habitat in the water, the scars on her neck open up as gills. Through out the movie, Elisa follows her heart and rebels against authority: she does not let herself be intimidated or controlled by patriarchy.

Credit: James Jean for The Shape Of Water, dir Guillermo Del Toro

Numerous contemporary TV shows have also participated in giving new meaning to the image of the mermaid: making mermaids positive and inspiring mythical female creatures. Without a doubt, mermaids remain fascinating popular icons, whose perception through time reveals our own changing views on femininity, gender, and sexuality.

Article by Inès Huet

Birgitte Raben Olrik est la fondatrice de Rabens Saloner. Une marque qui s’est développée au fur et à mesure des voyages de sa créatrice. Une marque mélangeant des univers et des cultures différentes. Los Angeles, Copenhague mais surtout Bali, l’inspiration de Rabens Saloner traverse les frontières. Une marque qui se reconnecte au savoir-faire traditionnel et qui veut vous faire sentir unique. Bien évidement chez Paulette, le coup de foudre a été immédiat. Rencontre avec la créatrice de la marque.

Birgitte Raben Olrik
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Comment l’aventure Rabens Saloner a commencé ? Quand le magasin est-il arrivé ?

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À l’époque, j’étais passionnée par la mode et j’étais donc Acheteuse Mode pour une marque, mais j’ai toujours su qu’à un moment donné je voudrais être en charge de la création. J’adore créer, et j’adore les univers différents, fonder Rabens Saloner m’a permis de créer ainsi mon propre univers. C’est ainsi que Rabens Saloner est né en 2007. The Flagship Store a, lui, ouvert en 2015 et c’était une étape très importante. Le magasin me permet de mettre l’accent sur tout mon univers : les habits, les meubles, les pièces vintage et les produits de beauté.

Quand est venu la décision de rajouter une section Intérieur à ta marque ?

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Tout a commencé grâce au fait je ramenais pleins de trésors chinés et antiques de Bali pour créer l’ambiance de notre showroom. A chaque saison il y avait des clients qui venaient nous demander si les meubles étaient à vendre. Alors je me suis dit … et pourquoi pas?  Finalement, ça tombait sous le sens et ça venait compléter l’univers Rabens Saloner.

Où vas-tu puiser ton inspiration pour tes collections?

Je lève les yeux et je regarde toutes les choses magnifiques qui nous entourent. Que ce soit lors de mon voyage d’inspiration semestriel à Los Angeles, il y a là-bas les personnes les plus cool que j’ai croisées. Ou encore la lumière magnifique de Bali, qui pour moi est magique. Ou même plus simplement les couleurs uniques que la nature crée. 

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Qu’est ce qui démarque Rabens Saloner des autres marques ?

Je pense que c’est la relation privilégiée et spéciale que l’on a avec les artisans très talentueux de Bali. Ce sont de vrais artistes, leur compréhension et leur sens des couleurs sont vraiment uniques. Je me sens vraiment chanceuse d’avoir l’occasion de travailler avec eux. De plus, lorsque nous fabriquons du tie-dye dans notre maison de teinture, toutes les pièces sont faites à la main et il n’y en a pas deux identiques, chacune est unique. J’aime les choses faites à la main, avec le cœur et par des gens heureux.

Quel message souhaites-tu faire passer grâce à Rabens Saloner ?

Que lorsque vous portez des pièces faites main, ça devient vos pièces – c’est unique et c’est vous qui étincelez en les portant, pas l’inverse.

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Propos recueillis par Charline Bouzon