On pregnancy, motherhood, and the Divine Feminine

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Photo by Lena Abujbara

I was living in New York City when I found out I was pregnant. It was the happiest day of my life. My beloved, Solomon, and I had been trying, so it wasn’t a surprise, but I was still in a state of shock as I walked down 2nd street on that crisp, March morning. All throughout the day, I felt the presence of this new being inside me, and I was blissful knowing that I was placed in charge of carrying this life from one dimension to another. The 8.5 months following that moment were something like a dream, a bit of a nightmare, and wholly surreal. Up until that point, I had been a fairly stable, independent soul with a flair for adventure, and I was in love. In love with life, in love with New York, in love with being female, and in love with a man. At the time we were long distance, so I still felt like I had my independence, and I enjoyed every second with the utmost gratitude and the sense of wonder that comes with being a woman living on her own in the 21st century.

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We decided to move to California after we found out about the pregnancy to be with my paternal grandmother. Pregnancy is one of those things that you never see coming. Even if you knew it was coming, or wanted it to come, when it actually happens, the reality of it is a combination of enchantment and mourning. I was mesmerized by the process–the miraculous symphony that was taking place inside without me even trying. At the same time, I mourned the loss of my autonomy. I now had to think about another person, and I couldn’t escape, because the person was inside my body. This, for all intents and purposes, was a revolutionary act. To agree to be a mother is a revolutionary act for a woman, because it is the ultimate sacrifice. I didn’t know the real meaning of being “single” until I got pregnant.  For me, pregnancy was a constant ebb and flow of sheer terror and pure joy at what could be. Every move was considered, everything I ate was questioned, and every thought was scrutinized. “Will this hurt the baby? Did I just traumatize my child? What can it hear? Does it feel me when I cry? Laugh? Sing?

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Photo by Lena Abujbara

Early on, I was very ill and could not tolerate most foods. Light bothered me. I couldn’t listen to music. Even certain people’s voices made me sick. Apart from the physical strains, I was also an emotional train wreck. I wasn’t prepared for the utter loneliness that comes with the territory of this journey, especially before you start to show. I suddenly became an outsider, silently suffering and unable to express exactly why. I felt like a barrier had been placed between me and the world, and no one could see or feel it but me. This was very isolating, and I found myself battling depression and anxiety, and although it was transient, it was very powerful. I couldn’t even ask Solomon for help, because I didn’t know what I needed help with. I no longer felt like the confident, secure, strong woman I thought I once was. My body was changing. My thoughts were erratic. I was being broken down, prepared, softened for the arrival of our baby, and in hindsight it all seems so obvious, but while in the throws of it I felt as if my whole world was crashing down faster than I could pick up the pieces.

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Photo by Lena Abujbara

Day by day, life became more tolerable. By the 4th month I was able to eat again, although my capacity to deal with everyday stresses had dropped drastically. We decided to go with a group of midwives to deliver the baby. We wanted the least invasive approach, so all throughout the pregnancy, we had no ultrasounds. We didn’t know the sex, and we wanted a drug free delivery. Everything about prenatal care was overwhelming for me. I hated going to the clinic. I hated that I had no idea what to expect during the delivery. I was perpetually irritated by all the questions people asked, all the horror stories other women were so eager to share. If it was up to me, I would have had my baby in the forest against a tree, with the squirrels and mice as my audience and God as my guide. I just wanted a healthy baby and an easy delivery. All I could do was wait and see, and pray.

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40 weeks

At 42 weeks and after a plethora of attempted “natural” inductions, I went into premature labor. I say it was premature because I knew the baby needed more time. Solomon and I knew the date of conception, and it was a week after the proposed due date, but for arbitrary reasons the midwives refused to push it back, and unfortunately the law does not allow midwives to deliver babies after 42 weeks gestation. After 12 hours of labor, we were transferred to the hospital because I wasn’t dilating past 3 cm. I knew in my heart it was because baby wasn’t ready to come out yet, but fear and ignorance took over and we found ourselves at the last place we wanted to be: the medical corporate nightmare of the hospital.

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Phares and I, after almost two days of labor. It took me a while to like this picture.

Despite our fears and hesitations to give birth at a hospital, we were pleasantly surprised to find that the staff was extremely accommodating and sensitive to our needs. After a total of 38 hours, a few bad decisions and some good ones, we finally met the One who was inside me all those months. Solomon was there the entire time, helping me push, and gently walking me down the final stretch of this road. Phares Joseph came to Earth on a Thursday at 11:48 pm. The feeling of pushing him out and holding him in my arms was indescribable. In an instant, I was transformed into a mother. I was staring into the eyes of a human being who came from the other side, who seemed to know so much already, and who stared back at me with dark, piercing eyes. We were utterly in love.

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Although I did end up having to take drugs, most of my expectations from pregnancy to delivery were fulfilled. Phares was born and he was healthy, although he was put on antibiotics out of fear of infection due to my waters being broken for so long. After 7 days of fluorescent lights and medical jargon, Solomon, Phares, and I stepped out into the world as a family for the first time.

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Thinking that pregnancy would prepare me for motherhood, I quickly realized that, just as with pregnancy, nothing can prepare you for the job of Mother. The old me was gone. It died at the hospital, and I was reborn into something completely foreign. My body was in shambles. I could barely walk or sit down. I had no control over my bladder. My once-filled belly was now a vacant sack of what felt like loose air. To describe the way I felt would be futile. I was experiencing life in the most outrageous way, and I felt completely lost.

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Photo by Lena Abujbara

I also never felt more like a woman.

When I think about myself as a woman, some things come to mind. I think about our powers. I also think about our beauty. And I think about the qualities of the Divine feminine, which encompass the former. Women reign in the spiritual domain. We are not meant to dominate in the material plane. Why would we want to? It goes against the very nature of the feminine spirit. We are first emotional, second logical. Logic is masculine. The material world is masculine. It is left-brained, it is anti-nature, it is output. Feminine is receptive, intuitive, kind, life-bearing, creative. When Alexander the Great decided to conquer the world, it was because a woman told him he would. Women are the seers into the unseen dimensions, and for that reason man cannot help but be amazed, even–dare I say–slightly afraid.

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Photo by Lena Abujbara

What I am realizing now, two months after giving birth, is that femininity, in its essence, is trusting the unknown. It is allowing the currents of life to take you where they may, under your subtle control. For me, femininity is not about taking power, because femininity is power. It is nurturing yourself, your young, your partner, the world. It is gentleness and kindness, it is what guides the masculine force, it is inspiration.

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Photo by Lena Abujbara

Being a mother has filled me with a sense of love that goes beyond time and language. It’s the kind of love God must feel for His creation, otherwise why would we be given such a gift to behold? Being a mother has also been the most difficult experience of my life. My identity is scattered. I’m moving towards a future self I cannot see or fathom, and I am wary to say the least. I am slowly re-introducing myself to myself, finding any fragments of who I was and trying to fit them into this new skin. I feel alone, yet I am attached to a tiny human who depends on me to survive. The world that was once so familiar to me is now a scary, unpredictable place that I feel alienated from. And despite having the most loving, supporting partner and father there is to have, my struggle feels uniquely feminine and other-worldly, and so it’s an internal process that I must grow with in the solitude of my inner reality. The irony of it all continues to astound me.

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P and I hanging loose

Each day brings its struggles and challenges, but I am incredibly grateful to be alive during this time. I want to continue, to move forth in finding my own way as a woman and now as a mother and wife. I want to raise Phares to be a man of discernment, a man who knows the respect a woman commands, a man who is aware of his own feminine aspects. I want him to help heal this planet, and to know his purpose as a protector and gatekeeper of Love.

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May we all find our peace in the chaos.

With that, I will depart. Eternal gardens of spectacular Light,

Nedda

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Color Watch: Pink

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Good Day Gentiles!

We know it’s been a while since our last post, but we assure you–progress is being made on the forefront of this Earthly existence.

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Today we honor the color pink. The color of unconditional love, passion, romance, femininity, and purity. With Venus in full retrograde, it’s a sensitive time for all of us, and so we study the color pink to gain its virtues and understand its role in our lives. Pink is unique because unlike primary, secondary, and tertiary colors, pink is not found on the light spectrum. In other words, it is not a reflective color. Pink is only visible to the human eye when it is combined with red and white, making it a transmissive color. Nevertheless, it is still a very important color found not just in your underwear drawer, but all across nature, especially in the flower, insect, reptile and mineral kingdoms.

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The etymology of the word ‘pink’ is thought to be of German origin, named after “pinks,” a type of flower with frilled edges representing the endearing hue. Historically, pink has symbolized many feelings and attributes relating to the human condition, including seduction, youth, innocence, and tenderness. Pink also was a symbol of the Body of Christ in many art works during the Middle Ages.

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Metaphysically, pink is associated with the heart chakra, which is also represented by the color green. This chakra deals with the subject of universal love and compassion. Planets associated with this energy center are Venus (as mentioned above), and the Moon, our heavenly guide for the functions of the body. Interestingly enough, Venus is the planet that rules our sensual experiences pertaining to pleasure. This doesn’t limit the term to  simply physical pleasure, but pleasure in the total sense of the word. The pleasure we derive from delicious food, good company, lovers, and friends. The spaces we inhabit and the things and people we like all fall under this energy.

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Psychologically, pink can be used to aid in calming the mind of anxious and irrational thoughts, as well as facilitate compassion and love for fellow man. Pink is also known to help dispel aggression and violence when used in color therapy. Let’s not forget that pink also represents femininity, which indirectly fosters the nurturing, receptive, and intuitive natures of the feminine role.

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We urge both men and women to invite pink into their lives despite the overwhelmingly redundant cultural references to its status in society. We see how, like many scared colors, pink has been made profane by the mass media and marketing entities, and we ask you to set your judgements aside and try pink from another perspective. Perhaps a different tone of pink will help alleviate some of the pressure that pink implies, as there are many alternative hues to pink including magentas, salmons, rose, carnation, and champagne for a more subtle exposition of this fascinating color.

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Pink can flatter any skin tone, but be sure to wear the right hue for you. Those with red undertones should stick to warm pinks (salmon, coral, peach) and those with yellow undertones look best in cool pinks (rose, violet-pink, lavender-pink).

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Suggestions on how to wear pink:

-Pink makes a great accessory or accent piece. Jewelry, scarves, or cardigans are great candidates for pink

-The right pink shoes can take any outfit to the next level

-Pink socks

-Pink blush or lipstick (tastefully, of course)

-Pink nail polish

-Pink pants match virtually any color, as well as a pink top–so treat pink like you would white or black. Don’t be afraid to experiment!

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That’s all for pink. It has been our supreme pleasure to bring you one of our favorite colors on The Dawn’s Color Watch. Stay tuned for more to come!

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Dripping in Love for You,

The Dawn

Decade Dreaming: The 40’s

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The 1940’s in America was the perfect blend of excitement and uncertainty. Massive political and economic changes due to the Great Depression and second World War went hand in hand with the fashion trends of this elusive yet principal decade. Women were entering the workforce at unprecedented rates, creating an upheaval of the status quo in just about every aspect of the culture, particularly in the mode of dress. Fabric shortages and the effects of the depression forced a kind of creative renaissance in the fashion world, making way for the introduction of man made fabrics such as rayon and nylon, as well as new emphasis on line and form. It is our pleasure to share with you our favorite looks that remain pertinent to our current Modus Operandi. Be at ease, Dear Ones, as we delve into this possessing era of feminine beauty.


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High Waists and Full Skirts

Gone were the days of dropped waistlines and short hemlines of the 1920’s. The natural waist and long, flowing hemlines came flooding back in by the mid 1930’s and persisted throughout the 1940’s. This resurgence of female modesty was evident in all aspects of the female silhouette. Value was placed on highlighting the female form, and the waist was the center point. We here at The Dawn still believe in the power of a grand silhouette, and the waist plays a prominent role in perfecting this principle.


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Plunging Back and Necklines

1940’s Hollywood had a major influence on the fashion choices of the masses, and the elegant lines and fabrics worn on the silver screen had a direct effect on the style of the decade. Special occasions now called for form fitting, long silhouettes and dramatic back and neck lines. Halter tops, open backs, and sultry fabrics were all the rage, as women were getting re-acquainted with their bodies in new and profound ways. Some of our most revered looks encompass the body in its totality, as an object to be adored as well as a living, functioning entity in sacred embodiment.

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Accessories as Necessities

Which brings us to our next subject: the art of accessorizing. There is no better decade than the 1940’s when it comes to this treasured skill. Specifically, the hat and glove were ubiquitous during this time. Women everywhere rejoiced in the glove craze. Gloves were a heavy staple and were worn to any and all events. Hats were also in top demand, although they have been high on the fashion front for centuries before. We cannot think of a better addition to any outfit than a fabulous hat paired with a distinct pair of gloves. What sheer genius–a manner to be adored and imitated whenever possible.


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Ultra Femininity

Overall, the 40’s were a moment in history that paid great homage to the authority of true femininity. What we love about this time is its unabashed love for all things woman, for the recognition that to be feminine didn’t mean to be weak, but a state to behold in the highest honor. Women were deep into the workforce by the middle of the decade, and although this was masculinizing the concept of the role of woman in society, the nature of woman was in fact magnified in a unique and fervent way. The working woman didn’t have to become a man. She had simply morphed into her newfound identity, and, in our opinion, did so with the utmost level of grace and dignity.


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“Separates”

The emergence of separates was a direct result of this newly discovered identity. Women began to experiment with alternative ways of dressing their bodies, paying attention to the concept of function in addition to aesthetic. Thus, the birth of the suit jacket ensued. Boleros, empire and peplum cuts, flared cuffs, and a myriad of styles dominated the industry for years to come. This paved the way for endless creativity and awareness of cut, line, and coverage when it came to the style needs of Woman. We especially love the detailed tailoring and wild regard to color and design, two elements that are still in effect today, and for good reason.


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Swimwear as it Should Be

Traveling and beach going began to fully permeate the culture by the 1940’s. Tanning became an enduring trend and all over the country men and women were relishing in this exciting way of experiencing leisure. With that, swimwear was just another avenue for designers to build on their creativity. What we most admire about the swimwear of this decade is the balancing of form and function. Designers paid close mind to discretion and were careful about exposing too much. We believe the swimwear of the 40’s was the only happy medium in the history of swimwear fashion, for it exquisitely maintained the balance of taste, comfort, and sex appeal through practical means. Quite a fantastic feat, in our opinion, and one that deserves much praise.

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Demure Hair

Lastly, the hairstyles of the 1940’s marked a turning point in human history as far as womanhood was concerned. Women were in the process of growing their hair out after the fad of the bob began to decline. Emphasis on sleek, simple sophistication was the new standard, and the advent of the neo up-do began to take firm hold. This was a stark contrast to the elaborate up-do’s of the early 20th century and a response to the needs of the working woman. Soft, subdued curls were favored over past romantic styles, creating a more reserved look for the modern woman in all her working glory. Of course, she never fell short of inspiring beauty, for 1940’s hair meant a combination of virtue, purpose and poise. We only hope to aspire to that kind of relevance in today’s ocean of fleeting trends in the world of hair.

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Lovely readers, that’s it for our 1940’s Decade Dreaming. We hope you enjoyed our journey through this heartwarming phase of American fashion, as we attempt to keep these remarkable feats of human accomplishment alive and in spirit. May you rejoice in Truth and Integrity, and never fall short of transmitting your light for all to see.

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Roses Upon Roses,

The Dawn

Reem Acra RTW FW 2015

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Known for her intricate designs and rich fabrics, Reem Acra is simply a master of her craft. Her most recent ready to wear Fall/Winter collection is one to be revered. Her vision of beauty is so finely executed in her pieces. We cannot help but feel taken by the flowing hemlines and glistening beadwork. She is one who understands the needs of women when it comes to femininity and elegance. What we adore about her collections is that they never fall short of high taste. She has a knack for sensuality that doesn’t compromise the integrity of the female body–a skill that is inherently crucial in today’s world.

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This collection celebrates the duality of womanhood, as evident in the mixing of fabrics and textures, playing with the idea of fantasy and reality–classic Reem Acra. The color palette is the stuff of fairy tales, but it’s also exquisitely balanced with heavier fabrics to bring us back down to Earth. Pragmatism mixed with the ethereal–it doesn’t get any better than that.

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What is most impressive about this collection is the feeling of timelessness that it evokes. It rises above centuries of trends, yet is somehow rooted in the luxurious aesthetic of the past. Again, her sense of balance when it comes to garment construction is flawless, both technically and visually.

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We here at The Dawn shiver with excitement when exposed to this kind of glamour and refinement. It’s clear that Reem Acra creates from the heart, and this collection highlights the very core of her divinely inspired work.

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Woman, as an idea, is to be seen as the embodiment of the Sacred. The models on this runway seem to float in these pieces. Weightlessness, feather-like, and fluid are words that come to mind whilst feasting on such allure.

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Note the exemplary use of detail. The beadwork, lace appliques, and sublime tailoring cannot be surpassed. Thank You, Reem Acra, for displaying the awesome potential of human creativity.

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Again, the mixing of the delicate and the robust is something we absolutely cherish.

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When virtue and modesty enlighten her charms, the lustre of a beautiful woman is brighter than the stars of heaven, and the influence of her power it is in vain to resist.

-Akhenaton
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We have no words, only warm feelings of Love.
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It is as if my life were magically run by two electric currents: joyous positive and despairing negative – whichever is running at the moment dominates my life, floods it.

-Sylvia Plath
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Who can’t use a dainty bell sleeve? It adds dimension and flare, resulting in a lovely, enduring silhouette.
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We hope you delighted in this collection as much as we did. May you never run dry of experiencing pure Love.
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Golden Fields of Sunlight,
The Dawn

Shoes, enlightenment, and God

The history of shoes is one to be taken seriously. Ever look at a person and think: “Wow, I love their outfit, but something seems off?” Upon further investigation, it’s most likely that the culprit is a poor choice in shoes. This is a common mistake made by even the savviest of dressers, and quite frankly, mastering the art of wearing shoes is no simple feat (no pun intended).

To understand the advent and rise of the shoe, one must first think about what sits inside the shoe: the foot. The human foot has meaning not just physically, but socially and culturally as well. Biologically speaking, the human foot has more bones than any part of the body. Our feet are the means by which we stand upright, and are a main factor that separate man from beast. It’s no surprise, then, that the foot would become a source for fetishes, social status, and even healing. The ancient Chinese used foot reflexology to heal the body by stimulating pressure points on the foot that correspond with parts of the body. This is still widely practiced today and can be used to cure almost any ailment, including heart disease, stroke, liver disease, tumors, sinus problems, and much more. It’s no wonder why, since man first started walking upright, the foot has been a subject of such intense focus!

Politically, shoes have been on the forefront of social evolution, dating back to 40,000 years or more. The ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Mesopotamians are all believed to have had shoes. The oldest shoes known to modern science date back over 5,000 years old. They are basically a piece of hide wrapped around the foot and laced up the top to encase the foot as if in a bag. Picture below:

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Not bad, right? We will assume that in the beginning, shoes were used solely (really not intended) for the purpose of protection, otherwise we would have to seriously question this designer’s abilities. We will also assume that the people who made these shoes were nomadic, and needed some form of outer layer to shield the sensitive foot from rocks, animals, poisonous plants, and whatever other threats that were around.

Fast forward to the introduction of agriculture and then to the rise of industry and we see a stark change in the quality of life for humans. We began to build cities, form governments, and finally had some leisure time to ponder the bigger questions, including those that have to do with aesthetic beauty, our origins, and our purpose. This is a time where we start to see the major modern philosophers emerge, along with the great artists, poets, and writers of our epoch. Class division also became a standard, and one of the ways in which the gentry would distinguish themselves from the lower classes was through the shoe. Chopines, to be exact. During the Renaissance, chopines were worn in Europe by the noble classes and the very wealthy as a sign of their ‘elevation’ above others. Both men and women donned this early version of the platform, and they soon became a staple feature of the high class. The idea was that by raising their physical height to exceed those around them, they were somehow closer to God and the heavens, thus more worthy of admiration and respect.

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Another way they separated the rich from the poor was their impracticality. These shoes were very difficult to walk in, let alone do any hard labor in. Many were made from heavy materials such as metal and wood, and some were over a foot high, making the five inch heels of today seem like a walk in the breeze!! As we move into the Enlightenment, we begin to see the modern high heel take form as a way to make the experience of being elevated more functional.

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The heels of the Renaissance and Enlightenment were worn by the Kings and Queens as a display of their divinity and dominance over the masses, and soon the element of design began to take a more prominent role. This is the time when we start to see more attention to detail, and shoe designers really stepped up their game to provide the latest fashions to feed their client’s insatiable appetites. Women of the nobility were always looking for ways to make their feet look smaller and daintier, and men were looking for ways to look taller and broader. This brought the politics of shoe wearing to an all time high (we can’t stop with these) and the shoe thus began to be seen as a dynamic signifier of not just wealth, but moral, physical, and spiritual superiority. The high heel took people to new ‘heights,’ implying that they were, again, taller than most and thus illuminated by divine knowledge and closeness to God. It comes as no surprise, then, that as we ponder the shoe in our society today, we can see how divinity has been replaced by sexuality.

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The orgasm can be said to be the closest thing to physically experiencing the Divine. The fetishization of the foot and consequently the shoe has been a major hallmark of 21st century fashion, as the foot has a direct link to the pleasure centers in the brain. The stiletto came onto the scene in the early 40’s, right around the time the pin-up girl became a cultural phenomenon. From that point on, the stiletto became the ultimate symbol of femininity, sexuality, and desire. This sexualization of the foot is nothing new, however, what’s different about today’s version is women and men are subconsciously adhering to a standard without considering the most important thing when it comes to fashion: integrity. No other time in history is this more evident in fashion then now. Today, there are a myriad of high heel styles to put our lovely women on pedestals, but few women can actually appreciate the deep meaning behind walking in this elevated state, and many women fall victim to tasteless trends that demean this sacred act, degrading themselves to mere objects of fantasy at best.

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Just a short walk in any major city will show you the state of shoe-wearing in this country, and how it has come to an all time low. The notorious platform stiletto marks the end of refinement in our opinion. We’re not saying stay away from them–we are saying think about what you are doing when you wear them. What shape does it create with your look? Are they necessary? Most often the answer is no. A simple, classic heel, even with a smaller platform, will almost always do the trick and deliver much more to your audience (the world) than a gaudy platform spike. Conversely, a chunky, retro platform looks great when paired with a wider heel. Balance is key. The right shoe with the right color can make or break your outfit–we all know this. So choose your shoes wisely. Some of our faves:

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Remember, ladies: don’t be afraid to mix colors and patterns. Be conscious of how the shoe was made and under what conditions–quality over quantity. Your feet will thank you. Again, we here at The Dawn believe the most flattering shoe on any woman has a delicate balance of feminine/masculine qualities. We love oxfords for that very reason.

Our top designers who we feel adhere to this standard include Ferragamo, Manolo Blahnik, Prada, Miu Miu, and Jill Sander, just to name a few.

And lastly (this goes for men and women) if you are wearing socks with your shoes, they should be very CAREFULLY considered. Color, fabric, and pattern should all be addressed. There is nothing worse than seeing a great pair of booties or sneakers being adulterated by thick, ghastly socks.

The world of shoes is a world of magic and excitement. Shoes can make us feel sexy, smart, ugly, or sophisticated. They can make a dull outfit suddenly sparkle. They are very much a defining factor in any ensemble, and should be held in high regard when it comes to selection.

We hope you have gained some insight into the politics of shoe-wearing. The Dawn loves and appreciates the deeper meaning behind what we wear, and shoes are no exception. So the next time you reach for a pair of shoes at the store, stop, think, and decide whether or not they are right for the situation, if they feel right on your feet, if they match the vision of your best YOU.

For more information or for a free style consultation, please feel free to reach out to us if you are in the Chicago area at 773.243.9508 or by email at dewthedawn@gmail.com.

Be in love, delicate Ones,

The Dawn