Kiki Willems in “Stairway to Heaven’ by Annemarieke Van Drimmelen for WJS

In This Desert I Walk Alone Born of Sand Born of Stone. In a Land Where Hope is Grown My Body Aches to Tell this Tome. Hannsjörg Voth’s grand Stadt des Orion (City of Orion) was built in the middle of Marha Plain, deep in the heart of Morroco. The poetic power of Hannsjörg’s “Himmelstreppe” or “Stairway to Heaven” to me speaks to our life’s journey. Much like Camus‘ Sisyphus, the action of rolling the rock up the mountain always seemed a sentence to bear. And, an action misunderstood. I maintain that the answer is found in the process. Here we meet an ascending staircase that leads to nowhere. No beginning and by extension no end. This is a statement on the myth of existence. Time is an abstract notion. It’s not always where The Stairs Leads but the journey that holds the keys. As the camera gets close to the stone structure we see history written over every rock. Strength emanates out of .. And finally we make it to the ‘Stairway to Heaven’.

As a writer I am uneasy about borrowing verbiage stated in any unique format. But here, I am obliged to offer forth from the writings of Irene Ojo-Felix ( “Winds display a billowy look while the flatlands provide haunting shadows that frame each piece flawlessly.” Exquisitely stated. I submit, however, that these are more than pictures providing a piece of the exotic area. I see exquisite shots captured to transform you to another time and place. Following this fearless female as she makes her way across the desert dunes, I am struck by her intellectual connection. Kiki is clearly taken away by some unseen force. The beauty of the baron sand. The nature of the people native to the land. She’s a visitor but it’s clear her connection goes way back. Beyond location, there is a physical connection… a human connection… this is a connection of the soul. It is here in the shadows of the sand dunes that we see natures form take shape. We are not imposing our need on the environment. Rather, we are left to be in awe of the the work already done.

Ojo-Felix ponders, “the Marha Plain and how it mercilessly contrasts against Hannsjörg Voth’s brutalist sculptures.” Her point captures a sense of vivid contrast, however, I might hold back from calling these works brutalist sculptures. Shapes morph as edifices erect time stands still ’til all things connect. Far from a merciless contradiction, here we take a sentimental journey. What at first glace appears to be piles of boxy buildings transitions into something rare. In the center of none there was some. Peering ever deeper we are privy to a poetic unleashing. Spirits rise from the sand paying homage to the land. These structures show nature at it’s atypical best. Mesmerized by the mutating monoliths… the hands of time tick in perfect rhyme as shapes shift through the Sands of She.

Kiki Willems lets the winds carry her away in “Stairway to Heaven‘ by Annemarieke Van Drimmelen for WJS, FW 2019. In the feigned light of desert day she saunters on the sand like a wild animal at play. Art is a function.. art is a toy… art is a concept… art is a ploy. Art is sum of everything and the road to nowhere. Art is moving construct. Art is a mysterious partner. Here on the sands of Morroco we see this concept illustrated. Take in the vastness of this victorious surrounding as we wander through the wasteland of wonder. The fluid nature of fantasy forms coming to take us away.

Here we see forces collide giving fashion a moment to fly. Clare Richardson takes us beyond the borders of a studio or even a typical set-structure. To move outside our comfort zone. To catch the wind in a way that can’t be calculated, and by extension can’t be controlled. That is an extraordinary moment to commit to film. And, because of this rare occurrence, we must view the piece through this lens. Anything less would be an offense. This is High Fashion Art at it’s best. This story celebrates style and the surroundings. When all the provisions are in place and the details are done, that’s when we step aside and watch with pride as nature takes it’s course.

The harmony of sameness connects with contrast, allowing the diversity of variation to take shape. Shapes are celebrated by the shadows they command. Architectural interest is cast over each design style, as fabric shapes play against the erect background. The soul of Haute Couture speaks to the dedication of a creator. Skirts of silk sensuously slide down the skin as shear styles catch the tail of the wind. Sweeping over the body these fluid pieces stay suspended in mid-air, while structural sections give the fabric a sense of stability.

Sally Branka brought the beauty of the surroundings to life. It would have been so easy to call for a naked face. The natural elements would have seemed a good match for the skin to be free. However, here we see how the addition of the deep shades adds to the experience. It’s as if Sally darkened the features to their natural end. The eyes are surrounded by a muted hue, mimicking shadows as they dance across the face. Lips are exquisite saturated with a rich, cherry stain. The end result is makeup masquerading as wind blown skin. It gave the drama detail and matched the stunning surroundings – the looks were apropos.

Teasing us off in the distance, you to have to question the city’s very existence. It’s as if you’ve been taken to a parallel universe. Is it real? Or is it an illusion? Mystical images have the power to put forth a fantasy. I hope this exquisite editorial is a map of the future of modeling. We have been stuck in a vapid vacuum for too long. It’s time to explore. It’s time to want more. It’s time to find within yourself the brave human you were meant to be. If you allow it to… this place will penetrate your soul.

Extraodinary works built by Hannsjörg Voth at Marha Plain in Morocco 


Hannsjörg Voth; Landscape as Canvas