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Beautiful Woman? collection

But in my mind I'm still an ugly duckling

Please click on any each image to enlarge it.

Peacock - Showing off the Self
Beneath my work clothes I'm gold and gorgeous
I Loved you before I knew You
Holding a white breath
Beautiful but edgy
The butterflies evil plan
Karmic kaftan & knickers
I'm a city girl at heart
Know Thyself

the Beautiful Woman? collection was produced whilst Stephanie was artist-in-residence at The Muse Gallery, Portobello, London. There she was able to first began to develop the idea of producing paper clothes. She had been inspired by a paper kaftan, made for a Sultan, on display in Turkey. The kaftan was displayed flat in a glass cabinet in a museum in Istanbul. It was covered with spiritual text and geometry and was very beautiful. Most of the pieces in the Beautiful Woman? collection (Stephanie's first) were designed therefore to be exhibited laid flat or semi-flat, some behind glass, reminiscent of that kaftan and other items displayed in cabinets in a museum. 

The collection hopes to reflect some of the vicissitudes of the experience of being female and of being embodied. It examines the idea of being beautiful and emotional, the notion that one is coloured by ones moods and feelings. It was inspired by imagining what it would feel like if all inner (self)expression appeared as visible imagery on the surface of ones clothes.

The question mark in the title refers to the idea that one can be perceived as lovely and as less than lovely consecutively, alternately and variously over time. It responds to the idea that loveliness is therefore layered, complex, and sometimes an illusion.

The appearance of that which is beautiful has often been supposed to relate to that which is replete, in and of itself. Yet many visual examples of beauty, once unwrapped, are found to be layered. In his Biblical paintings Raphael, for example, is known never to have employed any specific model. Instead he produced faces as a conduit; combining aspects of all the most beautiful faces he had seen around him to the ends of reproducing the type of perfection he imagined was heavenly. By placing individual semi-transparent layers of oil paint (glaze) one upon another Leonardo would have built up the Mona Lisa’s enigmatic smile by stages, adjusting her expression with each coloured plain of paint; layering perhaps a subtle smile at first, beneath one that was a little more defined, below another that was again a little less definite.

Women walk through the world with the projected, socially endorsed, images of what their own era deems beautiful restricting their sense of self. Beautiful women are coveted and the word love is often loosely applied to a surface appreciation of that which is fundamentally unknown, thereby disallowing the inner, complex, beautiful reality of a living woman.

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