Staff Picks for International Women's Day 2020

by SHOWstudio on 6 March 2020

The team pick their favourite archive projects made by or centred around women to celebrate IWD 2020.

The team pick their favourite archive projects made by or centred around women to celebrate IWD 2020.

'Edith' by Rei Nadal

FASHION FILM: EDITH

'A piece that stands out for me especially during this day of female celebration is Rei Nadal's fashion film, Edith. It explores the way the war affected the popularity of the corset and the expectations on women to wear one. The corset is a piece of lingerie that has great history and social meaning, since it used to be a symbol of heightened beauty and femininity, even though it suppressed the human body. The film shows the manipulation women used to face by men, in a fashionable yet realistic and dramatic way. I think it is a great reminder that those times aren't that far away from our modern lives and current, social state.' - Christina Kapourtzoudi, editorial intern.

ALICE'S ADVENTURES

'We know that so much of women's creative work has been under-appreciated or lost to history, whether that be from lack of opportunity or being passed over in favour of work by their male counterparts. I'm fascinated by the ways in which women carve out and dedicate time to their creative processes, in the face of competing demands on their time and lack of encouragement. In this vein, I love this project, featuring the scans of photographer and filmmaker Alice Hawkins' personal creative diaries. I'm glad that Hawkins has given her creative process time to flourish: these scans are testament to how beautiful and interesting that thought process can be.' - Bella Gladman, editorial associate.

'Hello Rory', by Alice Hawkins

FASHION FETISH

'This 2012 project features work entirely by women, and includes some of my favourite films on the site. Each film and essay explores the potentially sexualised subject of ‘fashion fetish’, but because of the women-only angle, each piece of content is remarkably devoid of the male gaze, and quite a bit weirder for it. My personal highlights are the essay Objectum Sexuality, a meditation on human-object love written by ex-wife of The Eiffel Tower, Erika Eiffel, and Alice Hawkins’ autobiographical Hello Rory, a fashion film dedicated to her favourite customer from her time as an Agent Provocateur girl.' - Sarah Kathryn Cleaver, editorial assistant.

MAXIMALISM

'Nick Knight's images for V Magazine's 20th anniversary issue, styled by Anna Trevelyan, best represent feminism to me. The women in front of the lens wear voluminous pieces by Comme des Garçons, Rick Owens and Tomo Koizumi and appear energetic, radiant and elevated. As a woman, this is how I would like to be portrayed.' - Clodie Worboys, design intern.

BEHATI PRINSLOO BY ONE EYE GIRL

'I love this painting (by One Eye Girl) of model Behati Prinsloo from the 100 Women project, which honoured the centenary of women's suffrage. For the project, models chose an image where they felt most empowered, and an artist would render it anew. This particular image struck me because it was inspired by an intimate personal photograph of a pregnant Prinsloo, the model stating, "I felt most empowered when I carried my babies."' - Stephanie Irwin, social media manager.

'Girl' starring Ali Michael.

FASHION FILM: GIRL

'Reminiscent of Hard Candy (2005) and Lolita (1962), the sound, the styling and the set in this film is extremely adorable and girly, yet the model Ali Michael's performance is quirky and provocative. Her gaze into the camera makes me wonder: do the audience own the power and pleasure of gazing at her? Or is it actually the opposite?' - Bingxin Feng, design intern.

'When I first saw Girl, at 16 years old, it encapsulated my teenage dreams perfectly. The hyper-feminine, adolescent aesthetic championed by the film was what I dreamt of day in and day out; the styling, which included a sparkling Meadham Kirchoff snakeskin jacket and an unforgettable pink pair of latex trousers by Atsuko Kudo, fed into my ultra-embellished, pastel vision of girlhood, and the way in which I wanted to dress. Ali Michael also had a tough kind of beauty which was easy to aspire to at the time. Although this brand of femininity may not be the kind I emulate today, I am nonetheless nostalgic for it.' - Violet Conroy, migration assistant.

The House on the Hill by Arthur Elgort for British Vogue

ESSAY: LOST GIRLS

'I love the project Girly, and each of the essays within it really get to grips with all the nuances involved in womanhood, but my personal favourite is Lost Girls by Liberty McAnena. In it, she discusses all those editorials of an anonymous girl languishing in a meadow, which show generic images of women with no story or recognisable identity outside of their aesthetic appearance. "Lost women trapped in an ageless male fantasy" is a trope I had never noticed before. I really mean ageless here: one has only to think about all those rootless women the Pre-Raphaelites painted to see this trope repeated throughout history.' - Maisie Bowker, editorial intern.

INTERVIEW: VALERIE STEELE ON 'UGLY' FASHION

'Revisiting this interview got me thinking about notions of taste: what is considered beautiful or ugly, what these definitions entail, and how this has changed over the centuries. Navigating our personal tastes in the context of the world and those around us is seminal to how we grow and adapt, although we may not always realise it. In the interview, Valerie Steele explores juggling the various definitions attached to ideas of taste, that what many may consider ugly can also be beautiful, and vice versa. These ideas have been seminal to my experiences of girlhood and womanhood, and I was reminded of the privileged position I hold in being able to shape my own narratives of good and bad taste.' - Hetty Mahlich, editorial assistant.

More Beautiful Women

PROJECT: MORE BEAUTIFUL WOMEN

'This project took inspiration from Andy Warhol's 13 of the most beautiful women screen test and saw the likes of Kate Moss, Twiggy, Naomi Campbell and Stephanie Seymour amongst many others stand in front of Nick Knight's camera without any direction for two minutes. I like seeing how the women respond and react to the camera and waiting time: their responses are so varied. Some seem to be smiling uncomfortably, while others are seen a bit impatient or trying to kill time by tilting their head or change standing position. Because they weren't told what to do except for having to stand there until someone said stop, it created a free space for spontaneity, personal control and freedom (which may not be present at photo shoots in general). That feels apt for International Women's Day.' - Astrid Hiort, editorial intern.

Explore

Project

Alice's Adventures

13 April 2017
Take an exclusive look at Photographer Alice Hawkins' sketchbooks.
Project

Four-Tell

07 March 2013
Selfridges celebrates four female role models - Zaha Hadid, Sharmadean Reid, Caryn Franklin and Bella Freud - for International Women’s Day.
Project

Girly

27 August 2014
A project exploring overt, hyper feminine fashion - featuring a series of essays and interviews alongside a provocative fashion film by Nick Knight and Rei Nadal.