The knotting of recycled materials, the thin wovens of loose knits, the ribbons tying modernized boned corsets, and the spritz of perfume, are all producing a fantasy that leads us all back to Violette Hay. The center point to art in its most daring forms. Clothes and the human body have always endured a complicated relationship due to the growing balloons of capitalism and the imposing male gaze.
As seen for centuries, the sensuality of the body has always been appointed around an array of sexualization— as the skin has been mistaken as evidence of lust. This narrowed view has imposed and exposed so much to the point where most people shield their bodies to prevent judgment and perversion. Sometimes, the only rare occasions where the body can be celebrated are focused on accounts of hyper-sexualization.
Violette Hay does the alternative. She uses her body as an inspiration for her creations, regardless of whether it is recycled materials, knitwear, or satin scraps. The inability to see what she looks like from the neck up prioritizes the art, showcasing the body as a framework for all of her designs. And keeps us focused— or more so, in awe, of how she creates and stylizes simple statement pieces into an abode of couture.
Hay began her career selling vintage items on Depop. From a striped halter dress here to a pair of Nine West open-toed pumps there, her shop was just as ordinary as anyone else doing a closet clean-out. Then, one post began a different thread as she posted herself in a delicately pink two-piece set featuring a halter cropped and knitted top with an adorning bolero to go along with it. For $115, it was sold.
After her Depop posts continued with more knitwear, handmade tops, and long sleeve screen printed tops with love-sick poems. The more she posted, the more consumers continued to engage, adding as many pieces as they can to their cart. Hay has proven to be a designer of everything. This designer navigated creating pieces through sight, figuring out how to shape the body in an abundance of variety. To smell, she’s moved onto, as she’s created fragrances to match her corners of Depop.
Violette Hay’s following has grown over the past year, as she moved most of her content to Instagram, and so many have learned to live vicariously through her. Through the sensualities of ruched draping, and synched details, her comments flood with adoration as they imagine themselves through her. Violette Hay’s influence goes without saying, as her most loved posts and pieces come without a caption, a warning, or a statement. They’re for the viewer, the consumer to personify and envision their bodies and their style beyond the extent of normativity.
As Violette Hay’s work expands on more platforms, she’s continuing to reinvent the demands of style, knitwear, and so much more. This designer is a reminder that the body isn’t inherently “sexual”, but art can be of three things: sensual, sensational, and most definitely, intentional.
See more on her website: www.violettehay.com
JoliAmour DuBose-Morris is a multimedia journalist and screenwriter based in New York and California.
JoliAmour is currently in her final year of her B.A. at The University of San Francisco where she’s focusing on film and journalism.