I recently visited the exhibition 'Princesses of the Mediterranean in the Dawn of History' in the Museum of Cycladic art. According to the notes for editors the term 'princesses' in the title comes from the Latin princeps, and is used « ...in a broader sense to describe someone eminent in their community for reasons such as lineage (family), prestige, or wealth». So imagine my surprise, when right at the very beginning of the exhibition, I see identical the ''Balenciaga rings''.
The wealthy Athenian Lady from Aeropagus', 850 B.C, Η16:6, Ancient Agora Museum. Photo: Stavros Petropoulos Σταύρος, © Cycladic Art Museum
Gold encrusted rings and gold ring, 850 B.C. Remains from the burial of the wealthy Athenian Lady H16:6, Ancient Agora Museum
Left: Balenciaga rings for S/S 2013. Right: Detail from the display of 'The wealthy Athenian Lady' remains.
So, who was this Greek woman? I remember the archaeologist saying that based on the findings and the remains, she was a 19 year old woman, who died while being nine months pregnant because of complications in her pregnancy. She belonged to the upper class-based on the decorations on top of the ceramic jewellery box pictured in the photo above- and her family had definitely bonds with the East, as the necklace she was wearing is a very rare and precious stone originating from the depths of Asia.
Now, if we compare the Athenean Lady with the women in our times respectively, we can describe her as a woman of 'old money' as we say it, well-travelled and with international bonds (see the Asian stone), refined and eclectic (the Athenian Lady wasn't wearing too much jewellery and the ones she did wear were all precious and rare), and maybe even eccentric by the way she was wearing her rings (two rings in three fingers). But isn't this the description of the Balenciaga clientele? Isn't the 'Balenciaga woman' a sophisticated, well bread and opinionated woman with a cultivated eye and taste? They say 'History repeats itself' and so does fashion. Only that in the fashion industry, repetition of past styles and trends is always relevant and with a modern twist. Nicolas Ghesquière for Balenciaga was indeed a very talented and innovative designer, who nonetheless seems to have based for inspiration in history for S/S 2013, in order to make beautiful and very desirable accessories for the modern and powerful women or 'Princesses' of our times. Unfortunately his creations are only for the few, but I guess some things in history do not change. Right? For the rest of us, there are numerous cheaper immitations available in stores and online.
Doesn't a Princess wear a tiara? Balenciaga's modern 'Princesses' for S/S 2013.
''Princesses of the Mediterranean in the Dawn of History'' - Until April 10, 2013 at the Museum of Cycladic Art.
Special thanks to Mrs Tsagkaraki Stella for sending me all the material necessary from the exhibition, as it was not allowed to take any pictures.