ultra violent

Photography by Maria Ziegelboeck, Courtesy of Vivienne Westwood

Ultra Violent

When I first mentioned Ultra Violet, the Pantone “color of the year,” I said I preferred the Cabernet, plum, and Merlot colors of seasons past. Is this dress from Vivienne Westwood Ultra Violet? I think so, and although I might not wear it, I like it.

I also like the bed here. Why stand on a bed? Who knows, it’s fashion. 

And lastly I love the harness! 

When I hear the words “Ultra Violet,” I can’t help thinking it would be a great name for a stripper, and I can’t help thinking that “Ultra Violent” would have been a good name for a 70’s Punk Rock band. This is how my mind works… 

Photo: Courtesy of Nina Ricci

While perusing pictures of collections to come, I discovered these true Merlot and Cabernet from Nina Ricci’s and Cinq à Sept, pre-Fall collections. So heads-up these are the colors of Fall!

Photo: Courtesy of Cinq à Sept

This picture, I swear, was taken in my neighborhood, right off Riverside Drive.

Photo: Courtesy of Cinq à Sept

This red is, well, really red. The color of the ensemble on the right is gorgeous, no? When colors become this deep and rich, I’ll consider wearing them. I’m thinking the ensemble would look very fine on me, while I stroll in Riverside Park.

Photograph by Edward Berthelot / Getty

Madame Deneuve

Madame Deneuve, always loved her, haven’t we all? The epitome of French chic: sexy, intellectual, and “aging well.” And then this article by Lauren Collins, the author of, “When in French: Love in a Second Language.” 

“Why Did Catherine Deneuve and Other Prominent Frenchwomen Denounce #MeToo?”

The gist of the article, as stated by the author, is that “Despite the impulse to view the statement by the actress Catherine Deneuve and others as some innately French point of view, this isn’t a straightforward case of cultural difference.”

While the article is well-written and well-informed, (Collins lives in France) I’m going to beg to differ.

I too have lived “overseas,” I am by birth a European, and I’ve lived amongst and rubbed shoulders with people from many different cultures, and I’ve loved in a different language.

What I’ve learned after all this time, in and of the world, is that “culture” is profoundly deep and extends beyond mere “difference.”

Modern human beings, especially Americans, I think, believe that “free will” is undeniably true.

We just want free will to trump those imbedded cultural differences. We want Deneuve’s intellect and sophistication to mean she will execute free will and just know that #metoo is right, and shut up! But really, what if she just can’t?

You can see how deeply imbedded culture is, and test its strength in yourself. 

The next time you’re traveling, or even just walking around a neighborhood in which you are a minority, take a look around and notice something about the culture of that neighborhood and its people who you just can’t understand. Be honest.

Then try to use your free will to simply overcome the deep, and possibly prejudicial feelings that come up for you. It’s very hard, and you might find yourself reacting from a place like the one Deneuve and some 100 other French women spoke from.

I have to say that this picture of Deneuve is pretty scary, her mouth just looks very mean.


“You’ve got to invest in the world, you’ve got to read, you’ve got to go to art galleries, you’ve got to find out the names of plants. You’ve got to start to love the world and know about the whole genius of the human race. We’re amazing people.”

-Vivienne Westwood




  • I love those dresses by Vivienne Westwood – and that harness! I adore the cut of her clothes but a few years ago she stopped lining her jackets and skirts, which is really disappointing. It seemed like a cheap move to me. Esther xx PS I’m a bit late, but I’m going to say it anyway; Happy New Year!

  • Melanie says:

    Well put how definitions of “free will” as defined by majority players are so easily applied to everyone else who are then labeled less progressive, despite their cultural context. So is free will essentially a censure of cultures that don’t take a power player’s view? Too deep to contemplate further this morning. I’m warming up to violet.

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