INTERVIEW WITH BARBARA DE VRIES:
WT: Would you agree that the book is a love letter to your daughters, to the girl you were, and to women in general?
BDV: It is a celebration of being yourself as a woman, and finding the voice that best expresses this. As an older woman I can write about Bee/myself in an objective way. We are so self-unaware at that age, it is hard to remember what you didn’t even know yourself, so knowing my daughters better than I knew myself at seventeen really helped. I think carefree is good word right now. Everything is so intense and we are all so afraid to do and say the wrong thing. We judge each other heavily, but how about accepting that we are great as we are, individually rather than uniformly?
One of my favorite drawings in the book is of the clothes de Vries made for the Australian International Model show, the Waterland Collection. The clothes are playful, but never silly, they are tailored, showing off a woman’s form, yet they are comfortable. Carefree does come to mind. I think de Vries always had this wish for women. The clothes she designed, and the drawings in the book show it.
WT: Does what you create celebrate the strength and beauty of being female?
BDV: I think women who feel like themselves in the clothes they wear are sexy. I don’t know why this happened, but suddenly so many women are dressing like what they think is sexy – short tight dresses, dangerously high heels, too much cleavage etc. To me they look uncomfortable and stressed. My clothes always celebrated femininity rather than sex, although it would be hard to argue that the collections I did for CK at Calvin Klein were not also sexy.