Dots make you happy, so of course they’re predestined to be part of greyer days. Madeleine selected the best pieces in the pattern
In the 19th century, polka was a dance with a lively two-four time that made Europeans and Americans alike celebrate. And because no one could get enough of it, even polka clubs were founded. The joy around this dance seemed to have no limits, and with this pleasure came the polka dot. The design, inspired by the circular sequence of dance steps, became a must-have among the dancing set.
Much like stripes, polka dots belong to that list of patterns the regularly celebrates a fashion comeback. They still make us happy – even if the merry polka itself is a less frequent activity. After so many years, all of that positive energy can’t be shaken off. But despite all the cheerfulness, it’s still a strong pattern with a geometric order to it. Perhaps it is precisely this consistency that we trust so much. Polka dots are like a welcome guest – you know them and they remain the same, whatever may come.
Last but not least, the polka dot is associated with beautiful – if not iconic – women: Princess Diana (legendary), Marilyn Monroe, and even Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman. Mini Mouse is my secret winner, though. And even men like George Clooney look great in it, as you can see on the January 2013 cover of W Magazine. Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama, who is known for her extensive polka dot installations, was hired to compose the cover. Starting in her childhood, Kusama became obsessed with the pattern and let herself be guided by this fascination. “Earth is a polka dot. The moon, the sky, everything is made of dots,” she said in an interview with the BBC. Her Infinity Mirrors are currently on display at the Broad Museum in Los Angeles until January 1st, 2018. They are already among the most photographed works of art in the world. And that’s despite the fact that every visitor only has 30 seconds per day and work of art – 45 seconds on a good day. Such a little dot can trigger so much.
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And so we learn that polka dots can be found everywhere, whether in history, in art, in the universe, or on the catwalk. Because that’s how it was – again – for the Fall/Winter 2017 season. Large and small fashion houses alike showed their version of the pattern. Dries van Noten let poppy dots fly over his pieces. Balenciaga used a dramatic white gown as the backdrop and combined it with a sporty bag in the same pattern. For Loewe, J.W. Anderson also left behind some dots on clothing as well as accessories. But Simon Porte Jacquemus conjured up the most popular dotted blouse. He also recently proved at a Vogue Paris party that he’s an excellent dancer – long live social media! Perhaps he secretly runs a polka club?
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