Virginie Sommet

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Virginie has dedicated her life to art that exposes the rigid and profoundly harmful social boxes or ghettos that permeate society and remain unrealized by most people. Her mixed media sculptures and installations educate the viewer to the truth behind “lobotomized” group thinking in hopes of of creating a bridge to more evolved behavior and initiating “chaos in a prejudiced or racist brain.” Virginie grew up with extreme norms in Normandy, France, where everyone was conservative, bourgeois, Catholic and dressed in “Brooks Brothers.” Colors were dark green, burgundy and pale pink sprinkled with some liberty prints, skirts were below the knee, headbands were velvet and shoes were limited to moccasins. You are not allowed to pierce your ears if you’re part of the French bourgeois (so as not to look like the “Portuguese cleaning lady”) and makeup and jewelry were out of the question. Today, in New York City, Virginie says that her “tribe is her work, in the sense that I am always focusing aesthetically about the outsider… the others.” Virginie’s style is unencumbered by rules, trends or any fashion pretension. She never shops, has worn the same things for twenty years and looks as current and edgy as if it were all bought yesterday. I wanted to take home her 1970s clogs, the best I have seen around with lot more character than the Celine interpretation. Virginie’s signature bindi adds an indigenous beauty (for a WASP) and her own jewelry designs are chunky and bold, made from the insides of mechanical objects, like tape recorders and TVs. Dressing for Virginie is all about a purity of thought and integrity of mind. She gives soul to everything she touches.

If you like Virginie, you might also enjoy Jenny Shimizu, Susi Kenna or Lindsay Jones.