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smoke & mirrors /smōk/ & /ˈmirərs/

The obscuring or embellishing of the truth of a situation with misleading or peripheral information

The world in which we used to live.. without Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram or Pinterest.. allowed us to be seen for who we really were.. as much as that is possible in life.  People took us at face value… artists, photographers and designers were only as ‘good as their last job’… our printed porfolios and client recommendations were what really counted. They kept us in business.

The world in which we now live and work, allows us all create an online ‘persona’. It’s so exhuasting. Just trying to create a real one on a daily basis is hard enough. I try to dress in a way that says, ‘I’ve got this’. I’m a mother, I’m a stylist, I live in Brooklyn.. I allude style and grace and all things calm.  My two year old honestly only wears cute European garments, hand picked by me. I wish.

The reality is.. I feel like I’ve been pregnant forever. In fact, in some ways I have. I ripped my TopShop materinity jeans on the first wear  because I’m clearly too old/fat for them, I haven’t done my hair….at all. My two year old is wearing Gap cords that are too small and covered in paint, and we are having a yelling match behind closed doors about why there aren’t any more Frozen umbrellas in any shops. Anywhere. All. Sold. Out. Honestly. If it wasn’t for our nanny she wouldn’t even know Frozen umbrellas existed. I now have days ahead de – programming a two year old mind. Of course, the last Instagram image I posted of her was perfection.. striped Breton top against a grey gingham tablecloth.. in our beautiful apartment.. slightly desaturated.. ‘flawless’ one follwer had commented. I was bursting with pride. It wasn’t set up.. it really was and mostly is, just a captured moment. I admit, I do painstakingly curate my Instagram. I want to show a good balance of life and work and I generally don’t post too many personal images, I see it as a tool for my brand. If, however, I do capture a moment that I feel to be share worthy, and stylistically or photographically beautiful, I post it, even if EB happens to be wearing pink Target pyjama bottoms at the time. My images are my reality. My edited reality…

Our world is now so digital and full of images and angles we only want people to see. Not just of our work, but also our homes, lives and families. Creating an illusion of success, taste, perfection… especially on Instagram.  It is full of people whose lives are apparently only filled with white and grey. Purely white houses, children dressed from top to toe in muted Scandanvaian attire. The perfectly perfect. I gaze in wonder and awe at these Instagram accounts.. sometimes wishing I’d gone down that path of only black and white.. or tones of grey. Revealing less reality. It has a great impact and is lovely to scroll through. But for me, it’s a little too unrealistic. People don’t live in muted desaturated homes. Do they?  For those who have these monochromatic life stories, I don’t believe for a second that with children, dogs, families in tow; that their lives don’t involve at least some colour and mess.  I imagine that behind the lens.. or just of to the right of the frame.. containing only white floorboards, with black and white art and one or two high end toys…. lies a huge pile of Elsa and Anna paraphernalia.. Mickey Mouse junk.. and some of those awful plastic Fisher Price things we are all given as new parents.  It comforts me to imagine this. I hope they reveal a bit of it one day.

There is one particular designer I follow, and I truly love her posts. She does a lot of twinsies with her daughter, which I have found myself inadverntantly doing with EB since birth, but have never really posted. If I did now, I’d feel like a plagarist.  They always look gorgeous, perfect.. adorable. When I noticed she always tagged her partner I thought.. ooh maybe another highly edited flashy acount to lust after… Wrong. An image of a man, in some old shorts.. clutching the usually monochrome clad child.. in a full Elsa dress and tiara… Relief. These people are real!!! I slept better that night.

My life and work is full of images.. creating an image, making an impression.. for myself, for clients. Sometimes we can over exhaust ourselves with the visual. It’s all too much. This is the first post I’ve ever written where I won’t accompany my words with some kind of visual enhancement. A beautiful message from a dear friend in Hong Kong yesterday has sparked this post.  She said I managed to make living in New York as a mother and a stylist look so effortless. I’m surprised, flattered and feel proud of that ‘persona’ I’ve created.. but today I leave the visual to the imagination. I won’t post idealistic pictures of New York and overly art directed images..

I miss real honesty sometimes. I am living the dream.. but it is tough. On some days I look like shit, I cry, it took forever to get to this place of having another child on the way while still holding down a career in this city and I’m grateful, but exhausted.

So I’ll sign off…. as I sit here at my beautiful dining table in Brooklyn. In our perfectly imperfect, somewhat curated home…  still in pyjamas…. eating pita chips, with philadelphia and vegemite at 10am. Picture that.

One Comment Post a comment
  1. Saskia #

    Lovely, my dearest friend Em, you are perfect just as you are and do an amazing job!!! I loved reading this it made me smile xxxxx

    February 25, 2016

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