Under the Petticoat of our quest for embellishment

by | Oct 12, 2021

The visual, the appearance is an ancestral preoccupation. Is it a quest for cultural belonging? Is it a quest for self-approval? Is it a quest for youth? Is it a quest driven by our ego?

I think this is a whole that mixes history, culture, nature and emotion.

We first have to make a huge jump into the past in order to dive into a wonderful historical dimension that takes the veil off of an intrinsic aspect of humanity’s evolution. 

The first Paleolithic ornaments go back to 82 000 years BC; from the era of homo sapiens and neandertals. It was mostly shells, teeth, assemblage necklaces, bracelets or other ornaments. These first discoveries were even coated in ocher. Was this an aesthetic matter?

Numerous hypotheses can be raised regarding their goal: a need for distinction between individuals or clans? Uses for funeral rites?

Anyway, finding these at this geological time is the sign of the beginning of the symbolic thinking, considered to be unique to Man.

Think about it, way back in the history of humanity, embellishment ornaments seemed to already have a fundamental role. And until today, the human being doesn’t live in a solely material world, but in a symbolic world, as defined by E. Cassirer in his book Essay on Man.

If Humanity is defined by the symbolic aspect, then the symbolic itself is as variable as there are people and human beings.  

Let’s face it, we all need to exist as human beings, individuals. After all, our appearance defines our being, our past, and claims our individuality. We literally send a message through our appearance.

These are numerous reasons that make us take care of our image, to cast a judgmental look on others’ appearance, and by extension, on ourselves.

It is said that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”, therefore, be shamelessly yourself. Claim your style with confidence and mostly, see yourself the way you would like to be seen.

Frédéric Belnet, Les premières parures, parution octobre 2013
E. Cassirer, Essai sur l’homme, Minuit, 1975, pp. 43 et 44



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