As a Libra, October has always been my biggest month of self-reflection. Once I turned 30, birthdays felt less like a celebration and more like a year-in-review organized by my overachieving subconscious. But now that I've just completed my second pandemic era journey around the sun, my idea of success has been scaled down to the essentials.
Health is at the very top of the list, and maintaining my sanity is a very close second. I now understand why the Roaring Twenties arrived on the heels of the flu pandemic of 1918 - a century later and the guidance from health experts is essentially the same. Social distancing is an ongoing challenge, but a silver lining is that it has become easier to tune out the high volume of unsolicited opinions. For the first time in my 30+ years, I do not feel as though I need to apologize for saying "no," or for prioritizing my well-being. Part of being a Libra is an instinctual need for balance, and in group dynamics, that can manifest in playing the role of diplomatic peacekeeper, even if it comes at some personal cost.
My desire for equilibrium also manifests in my designs. The Gilded Breastplate is a celebration of the female form and does not restrict movement of the neck, the gateway between the mind and body. For the layout, I was inspired by the materials themselves - semi-precious stones, brass filigree, vintage jewelry - and working with these materials often means that there are naturally occurring variances.
Since I believe that art should imitate nature, I do not aim for perfect symmetry, but a cohesive design that strikes a balance between imperfect parts. The foundation is reclaimed leather - which is durable, soft, and lightweight. The hand-stitching that secures the embellishment creates tension, and incorporating space helps to release it. The adornment itself is divided into smaller coordinating motifs, and the layering creates a spatial depth that mirrors the inner/outer realities that all women must navigate.
The space to breathe is also vital to our well-being, to let go of the expectations of others and reclaim the inner strength we were all born with. There is a duality that is innate to femininity, balancing warmth and intuition with a fierce protective instinct. This combination of pliability and strength is epitomized by the matriarch in my life, Sandra Rabin.
In order to create a more wearable style for every day, the Gaia Collar is my sustainable leather interpretation of the the Dissent Collar worn by the late Supreme Court Justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Justice Ginsburg epitomized modern female empowerment by transforming the legal system from within, and utilized her position to implement meaningful change. The same institution that once upheld discriminatory voting rights in Minor v. Happersett, which unilaterally rejected a woman's right to vote in 1875, would later be transformed by her legacy, as well as her dissenting opinions. For twenty seven years, Ginsburg consistently advocated for a more equitable balance of power between the sexes.
“Dissents speak to a future age... the greatest dissents do become court opinions and gradually over time their views become the dominant view. So that’s the dissenter’s hope: that they are writing not for today, but for tomorrow.” - RBG
The Gaia Collection is likewise aspirational, and was designed to promote feelings of empowerment, which develop naturally from following one's intuition. These outfit defining statement pieces are intended to make the wearer feel protected and adorned, but as separate accessories, the styling options are endless. They are meant to be worn by the woman you are now, as well as the woman you will become.
* The Gilded Breastplate is available by special order only.
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