8 Women Celebrate Love - Par Femme

by Maddy Woon

Valentine’s Day has a long and polarising history. Is it an evil capitalist ploy to make us spend money on things we don’t need? A day to make all the single people of the world feel more alone? A fun excuse to get dressed up and go out for dinner with our sweethearts? A reminder to be grateful for our nearest and dearest? A mix of the above?

We asked a handful of our favourite women to weigh in with their take on the Day of Love. Their answers confirmed that there are so many different types of love in the world and a kaleidoscope of ways to express it. 

As the New York Times “Modern Love” column put it, love is “less about definitions than examples.” Whether you’re celebrating Valentine’s Day or not, let their experiences of love serve as a reminder to love yourself, love your friends, love your family, and love your lovers, each and every day. 

İlkin Kurt, Fashion Consultant

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Hi☘️

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What does Valentine's Day mean to you?

It doesn’t mean much to be honest—it’s a massive commercial celebration. It came to be celebrated as a day of romance from the 14th century, but where it has been placed for the last century is nowhere near romance or love, sadly. It could be considered as a day to honour your tribe of friends and family, though. I text my mum every V Day…

How will you spend Valentine's Day this year?
I won’t be doing anything special, but I can tell you what I used to do… I spent every V Day in NYC for the last five years, as the date falls into the NYFW calendar, and each year, funnily enough, my hotel room had an Empire State Building view. The top section of the building lights up with this perfect red and the heart symbol can be seen to be lit on the top of it. It lights up like a heartbeat. Cute. After a busy day I would come to the room, pour a glass of red and raise my glass to the Empire State Building and think of the movieSleepless in Seattle.

Tell us about your most memorable Valentine's Day of past years?
I met Mark Hallis from the band Talk Talk on V Day in 2012. He was a great musician and a lovely man, who sadly passed away last year.  

Who/what is the love of your life?
This is a very broad question to answer. I guess anything that makes me fall in love with life again. Music, galleries, books, art, friends, family, travel… 

What is your favourite love story?
I have a good one of my own but prefer not to share :). 

What would you most like to receive as a gift from your lover on Valentine's Day?
It probably wouldn’t be a physical gift, I would much prefer a decision or an idea. “Let’s move to the countryside for some time”, or “Let’s grow our own tomatoes”, or “Let’s check out some record stores to explore new artists and buy records…”. Simple, achievable and any smile-maker-of-an-idea is welcome. Simplicity is the way for me.

Chloe Hill, Stylist

What does Valentine's Day mean to you?
I can be such a cynic. It really makes me reflect on the consumerist culture we live in. How things as simple as giving a gift to celebrate love, like the tradition of weddings and gift registries, stems from corporations who want to make money off us. But, despite this, it does remind me how important love is—it’s what makes life so special.

How will you spend Valentine's Day this year?
Not giving gifts, obviously, and not eating out. Just reminding myself to love and appreciate my partner every day of the year.

Tell us about your most memorable Valentine's Day of past years?
Because it usually falls during New York Fashion Week, I remember going to the TOME NYC show a few years ago in -15°C weather and receiving a rose on arrival. It was my first time in New York, my first time in sub zero temperatures and my first time at one of their New York shows. Afterwards, Ben (my husband) braved the cold to come to vintage stores with me. It’s a day I’ll remember forever.

Who/what is the love of your life?
My partner/husband, he’s my best friend. 

What is your favourite love story?
I like stories about relationships that gradually build into something special. I think our generation is so caught up in instant connection, but we often lose out when we discount someone so quickly. So, when I hear of friends who knew each other for months or years before a romance bloomed, I think that’s so special.

What would you most like to receive as a gift from your lover on Valentine's Day?
I would rather receive something another time of year, maybe a week later, hehe. An experience we could both enjoy would mean the most to me—a dinner, a cooking class, or a drive to the country.

Christelle Scifo, Founder @fleurette__

What does Valentine's Day mean to you?
Love day should be everyday. Under my practice at Fleurette, I no longer partake in the commercialised floral holiday but instead focus on giving back in some way.

How will you spend Valentine's Day this year?
Flowering for a friend's gallery and exhibition followed by dinner and drinks with friends.

Tell us about your most memorable Valentine's Day of past years?
Not for all the right reasons, but a break up on Valentine's Day after returning home from working on the flowers since the very early hours of the morning. 

Who/what is the love of your life?
Paris, music, my family and my man. 

What is your favourite love story?
For the tragedy, romance, the ballet and the film:Romeo And Juliet. 

What would you most like to receive as a gift from your lover on Valentine's Day?
Quality time away anywhere, together.

Tabitha Laffernis, Writer 

What does Valentine's Day mean to you?
Honestly, not a lot. I’ve always subscribed to the ‘It’s-just-a-Hallmark-holiday’ school of thought, and I’m a huge believer in celebrating your lovers and loved ones all the time. That said, when I put the question to the group chat (the millennial Greek chorus?) I received all kinds of answers. The most potent ones came from people who had really beautiful, indelible childhood memories, or people who just unabashedly love love. And maybe it’s the therapy talking, but it does feel like there’s something to that. 

How will you spend Valentine's Day this year?
I’m nothing if not a single woman of my time, so: self-care. I’ll be getting a haircut (my ends just happen to be frazzled, okay), switching onNetflixand chilling with my arsenal of vibrators

Tell us about your most memorable Valentine's Day of past years?
I once went to an enormous group dinner where someone had booked the top floor of a Newtown student haunt. BYO, cheap eats, entirely obnoxious. There were drinking games, anti-couple jokes, drinking games specifically for the lovely couples who were game enough to turn up. I barely know what half of those people are doing now, but it was one of the most fun nights I’ve ever had, and really helped crystallise what the role of the urban family means to me. 

Who is the love of your life?
The other half of that group at dinner, a.k.a the group chat. Obviously my family-family gets a shout out (I am truly lucky to have a very tight-knit clan), but my chosen family is so special. We kind of treat each other like one big relationship: we put the work and the time in, and, honestly, it shows. 

What is your favourite love story?
I’ve always been drawn to the ones that never were, real or not: Hepburn and Tracy, Emmylou Harris and Gram Parsons, Penelope Lively’s novelMoon Tiger, anything sung in Patsy Cline’s contralto. I also loveThe Princess Bride, though, so it’s not all doom and gloom. 

But my number 1 most influential love story?My Best Friend’s Wedding. You’re never alone when you’re dancing with your hot friends.  

What would you most like to receive as a gift from your lover on Valentine's Day?
A thoughtfully chosen book. It’s like receiving a whole world. 

Lotte Wierenga, Stylist


What does Valentine's Day mean to you?
If you Google ‘LOVE’ you will find a picture of me. Jokes, but I do love love. I love the word ‘love’ and everything about love. But Valentine’s Day? Not my thing! I don’t hate it, but I also don’t love it. It’s just another day on the calendar.

How will you spend Valentine's Day this year?
I will be in New York this Valentine’s Day, where I will be going to the New York City Ballet at the David H. Koch theatre. I will be watching The Swanlake, preferably surrounded by old people in love, because what’s even better than young people in love? Old people in love! At! The! Ballet! On! Valentine’s! Day!

Tell us about your most memorable Valentine's Day of past years?
Three years ago my friends and I were struggling to pin a date to go out for dinner. We were all free on Valentine’s Day and so we went out for dinner with the four of us. Since then, it has been a tradition to go to the same place and always end the night with lots of desserts.

Who is the love of your life?
The love of my life is my younger brother Bartje. (And his dog George). 

What is your favourite love story?
Any story about love will do. I’m a sucker for a good love story, but my guilty pleasures are also the more painful, pour-my-heart-and-soul-into-you, heartbreak kind of love stories. Not because I like hearing about other people’s heartbreak, but more the fact that when we love someone, there’s always a tiny part inside of us that is scared of losing them. Loving makes us vulnerable but I think it’s beautiful that besides that, people still decided to take that risk and love, and reading and hearing about this makes mefeel. If this makes sense? [Laughs]. 

What would you most like to receive as a gift from your lover on Valentine's Day?
My love makes sure there’s always a chocomel in his fridge, just because he knows I like them. He suggested that instead of doing one nice thing for each other on a certain date, we should make sure to do nice things for each other all year round. (I look forward to all the chocomel I will be drinking this year). 

Ella Jane, Photographer 

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Your love is heaven @lolavan

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What does Valentine's Day mean to you?
Valentine’s Day takes up very little space in my brain. It doesn’t really hold any significance for me. I like to think I show the people closest to me love in different ways every day.

How will you spend Valentine's Day this year?
I have no plans. I’ll either cook my girlfriend a meal and watch movies on our projector or go dancing.

Tell us about your most memorable Valentine's Day of past years?
Last year I was in NYC with a dear friend and we ordered Thai food and bought each other roses.

Who/what is the love of your life?
My family, my girlfriend Lola (I hope), and every dog I meet on the street.

What is your favourite love story? 
My parents are my biggest role models—the way they treat each other and those around them with love and care is incomparable.

What would you most like to receive as a gift from your lover on Valentine's Day?
A good martini and a good time.

Betsy Greaves, Social Media Editor

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24 :)

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What does Valentine's Day mean to you?
I fully recognise the commercial drive behind Valentine’s Day and I’m trying to resist the indulgence of it. But also… it’s cute, and I love going out for dinner.

How will you spend Valentine's Day this year?
The original plan was to go to a sushi restaurant I haven’t been to yet—I’m always complaining about the sushi in London (where is it, why is it so hard to get right, etc.). Things have now been shuffled on account of my boyfriend being a chef, so we’ll probably hang out and have breakfast at home.

Tell us about your most memorable Valentine's Day of past years?
A good friend of mine arranged for me to meet her in North Bondi on Valentine’s Day evening in 2014. She’d set up a picnic (blanket and all) on one of the cliffs and had bought every type of potato-centric food (potatoes are my favourite food) she could find: fries, mashed potatoes, some kind of dauphinoise? Others that I can’t remember. It was a long time ago now. She’d also bought M&M’s, which we sprinkled off the cliffs like confetti after eating a few handfuls in a bid to cease our mutual addiction, and gave me lingerie. Dream girl.

Who is the love of your life?
Is it lame to say my boyfriend? I’m going to say my boyfriend. I can’t imagine having a chef for a boyfriend and him not being the love of my life.

What is your favourite love story?
I just rewatched the first season ofSex Education and can’t stop thinking about Adam and Eric, so maybe theirs. Am I allowed to say all love stories? Listening to anyone talk about their own love story/ies is pretty special. When you see their faces glowing and their words speed up and you feel their emotions through their body language. <3!

What would you most like to receive as a gift from your lover on Valentine's Day?
I’ve used up all my protein shake tokens at the gym and they’re literally extortionate. But delicious. So maybe one of those. 

Cecilie Mengel, Photographer 

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et sjældent syn

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What does Valentine's Day mean to you?
Valentine’s Day doesn’t have any significant meaning to me, but my roomies are all about V Day, so we are gonna have our girls come over to make our own Valentine’s cards and I’m only gonna make cards for the women in my life. 

How will you spend Valentine's Day this year?
I will most likely stay in and watch movies with two of my best friends. All bars and restaurants on Valentine’s Day are packed with couples or needy men. 

Tell us about your most memorable Valentine's Day of past years? 
I’ve never been on a date on Valentine’s Day. I’ve only spent it with my girlfriends and I’m still going to do that this year. I think even if my boyfriend was here, I wouldn’t want to do anything. It’s kind of like a forced date in my opinion, and I’m not into that. 

Who/what is the love of your life?
A passionate love. It’s a partner whose soul feels like home, who’s unconventional by nature and keen to explore the world with me. Kind of like the sun. Exciting, but warm. I’m a lucky girl because my heart has never felt so full. That scares me sometimes. 

What is your favourite love story?
I’m a major sucker for old fashioned love stories, so I think my favorite ones are simply about people who will do anything to be with the person they love. We live in a world where choosing each other over and over is more rare than finding someone new because it’s so easy to give up, swipe right, and move on to the next. 

What would you most like to receive as a gift from your lover on Valentine's Day?
I wouldn’t like to receive anything on V Day because to me it would feel like an I-know-people-do-this-so-here-is-a-chocolate-bear kinda gift. I would so much rather receive something thoughtful any other day.

🌹🌹🌹



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