Red and Blue Velvet: Berlin

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Last summer my partner Lee and I spent six weeks in Europe: one week in Prague and five weeks in Berlin. Lee was on an official artist residency through a gallery called TACT and I was on an unofficial artist residency, beginning an impromptu performance series in photoautomat booths around the city. We stayed at a lovely AirBnB apartment in Friedrichshain, an area of former East Berlin that has rapidly gentrified.

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I spent a lot of time walking up and down Warschauer Straße, a long street that intersects with Karl Marx Allee, and includes Warschauer Brucke (Warschauer bridge). I would often go for early morning or late afternoon runs up Warschauer Straße, over Warschauer Brucke, and along the Berlin Wall. One evening, Lee and I stumbled upon a pop-up vintage shop on Warschauer Str., where everything in the store was 1€, 2€, or, at most, 5€. This store — not ostentatious, pretentious, or over-priced — was a residual reminder of ‘the golden age’ of post-1989 Berlin: when artists, writers, intellectuals, anarchists, and radicals flocked to Berlin in the early 1990s to realize their respective utopias.

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I purchased this long vintage dress for the shocking price of 2. I love the length of this dress — how it reaches down to the floor — and how it drapes over my shoulders. I’ve noticed a trend this summer towards off the shoulder tops, particularly the 1970s bohemian-style off the shoulder shirts. I am wearing a nude colored bandeau bra under this dress. My lipstick shade is the somewhat unfortunately named ‘Flat Out Fabulous’ by MAC. What I love about this lipstick and this dress is the eccentric mixing of shades of red and blue. Residing in the purple-pink spectrum, the lipstick is quite 80s/90s: a refreshing matte re-imagining of the lipstick shades that my mother wore when she was my age. The dress appears to be navy blue velvet (or black) in some lights, and purple red velvet in others: it soon becomes clear that there are two shades of velvet intermixed into a single dress.

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This necklace is a treasure I came upon at a thrift store in Vancouver. I keep it on a dress form in my apartment, as a piece of wearable decorative craft. I have no idea when or where this item originated: it appears to combine elements of Egyptian jewelry with 1960s flower power.

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Thanks for tuning in!  Until next time — Lauren ☾

Lauren Fournier is an artist and writer currently based in Toronto.
She is working on her PhD in feminist theory and performance art at York University.
http://www.laurenfournier.net

Photography credits: Lee Henderson (www.noattainment.com)

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