Ties. Everything that keeps us together, everything that keeps us in this world. We begin our lives from the start connected to people, to places, to material goods we don’t even know the significance of. And yet, as we grow and become the individuals we decide to be, so many of these things take on a different meaning. Do we still feel linked to our past? To the things once assigned to us? In many cases we feel the urge to shake these off, to shed the old skin of a former identity.

And yet there are certain aspects we cling to for dear life, the things we believe most define us and our story. These we hold tightly as we step into our future. Again, drawn by something, pulled by a string towards certain decisions and simultaneously away from others. And whilst sometimes we feel a deep aloneness in this life, for the most part we are awestruck by the infinite number of lines that connect us to all things.

bali tropics 2018

ADORN is a story with many chapters – a story where the beginning isn’t necessarily where we thought it to be, and where unexpected twists have met us at every corner. Every new detail, every new character is a brightly coloured thread that intertwines itself into the foundations of our growing narrative. With this month bringing with it both a trip back to Bali and a celebration of our first year around the sun, we take a moment to reflect. What does it all mean? The significance of Bali? The importance of the people that support us? Of the values we hold dear? Or the certainty we have in our gut that the direction we’re going is the right one? Together all these ties make ADORN real – the simple fact of their existence is proof that we exist too. And we are so curious as to what the future brings.

We open ourselves to new opportunities, new friends and new places. We want to lear
n of other cultures and traditions, to be inspired by everything that lies outside of our comfort zone, and to grow with the knowledge that no matter how fast or in whatever direction, there’ll always be a steadfast web of support holding us up along the way. We test these ties, pulling away at the edges to see just how far we can go. We dare to step one step further, we challenge with the belief that this discourse will lead to something better, something stronger. With it we arise. To a new level of understanding, with more ambition than we had before. Our ties are our everything. We salute you.


ADORN evening


A selection of things we've stumbled upon in the last month that have made us think. Follow the links to see where our head's at.

Nick Cave and communicating in dreams.

Been feeling angry? Here’s a song to make up to.

Ideas on love.

The Claddagh Ring and how to wear it.




Dutch. 31. Fashion Anthropologist. Part-time Philosopher.

In this business we have the pleasure of meeting people from all across the grid, out there doing incredible things. However, there is one person in particular where the melding of real life and work life is undeniably prominent. Charlotte Corstanje is a fashion anthropologist whose form of communication and self-expression is all she adorns her body with on a daily basis. Spurred on by her passion for clothing, its history and the significance it has in today’s world, she’s building an impressive portfolio towards the ultimate goal of becoming a full-fledged clothing consultant – essentially, someone who’ll teach you how to feel comfortable in the clothes you actually want to wear, but aren’t quite sure how. The best part? Charlotte is as much bark as she is bite, inspiring and educating others one eccentric outfit at a time.

  • On what occasion do you lie?

  • When I am feeling vulnerable. Sometimes I’ll be at work or other times with friends, and I’ll catch myself telling a twisted version of the truth because I don’t want to be confronted with something at that particular moment. In the end though, I know that this is just a manner of postponing what will eventually come out. The truth always prevails, and so it’s best to be honest and listen to your feelings, no matter how hard this might be

  • What is your current state of mind?

  • Confusion. Who am I? Who would I like to be? I am educated as a fashion anthropologist (one degree in fashion and another in social and cultural anthropology), and have always embraced the combination. The deeper I dive into the subject, the more I realise how much I want to be a part of the larger discussion. How do we choose the clothing we wear? And what do we communicate with that choice? How does this affect our identity? Individually, culturally, locally, globally? I have always followed my curiosity. But lately, due to questions of inclusiveness, I have come to question my own (privileged) position in this world. Who am I? Who would I like to be? What am I willing to give up? Identity, identity, identity.

  • When and where were you happiest? What is your idea of perfect happiness?

  • The best place in the world no matter when or where is the beach, especially when it’s drizzling so lightly that you feel refreshed without truly getting wet. In this moment, when it’s quiet and there are so few people around, you suddenly become aware of your surroundings in a way that you might not have if it was a sunny day when you’re so relaxed you forget where you are. It’s everything: the water, the breeze, the sand. The patterns and endless repetition of the rolling waves makes me happy. Like being hypnotized by watching a flame, except at the beach it’s total immersion.

    Finding herself in a period of discovery, Charlotte’s research is taking her to new levels of awareness. The big question: identity, with a capital “i”. To what extent can her role in the fashion world tackle subjects such as diversity, and what exactly do these choices mean for her as a woman, especially one in this industry? This renewed energy and shift in perspective is the kind that stirs big change in a person and we can’t wait to see how this will manifest in her closet too. In the meantime, we’ll be waiting for the next almost-not-quite rainy day to experience an immersive session at the beach, à la Charlotte Corstanje.


    Dive into Charlotte's world here.


    Header image © Justine Leenarts, for Elle magazine
    Body images © Charlotte Corstanje


    Dutch. 36. Entrepreneur. Boundless explorer.

    Tall, lean, with a sense of style that effortlessly merges femininity with a playful boyishness, Jeannette Huisman is a vibrant energy, always on the move and always seeking out the next adventure. It’s a love for surprises and allowing things to come on your path that drive her to see her travels as true moments of exploration, opting for discovering by doing rather than researching everything online. Part of the game is jumping in the deep end not knowing whether you’ll be able to swim, and it is exactly in this way that Jeannette’s begun some of the biggest projects of her life. Whether it was making the change from law to photography, setting up the two photo studios she has in Amsterdam or starting a family of her very own, Jeannette’s desire for adventure and new experiences breathes life into all that she touches.


    What is your idea of perfect happiness?

    Being healthy and having a relaxed mind open to new ideas, much of which is nurtured by my being able to explore and opening myself up to random encounters. With the studios, photography, friends and family, it can sometimes be difficult to get into the mindset. I sometimes struggle to set boundaries for myself and then when I do, I’m the first one to cross them. This is why my travels are so important to me. When I’m away for work, temporarily removed from my life in Amsterdam and all the roles I play here (mother, daughter, lover, photographer and studio owner) then I have more freedom for myself, to explore and live on my time.  

    Where would you most like to live?

    I love where I live now, in the middle of the city in an old house with big windows, high ceilings and all the weird cracks and sounds that go with it. But I have this recurring dream of walking around in a wooden house with floor-to-ceiling glass, overlooking a lake with nothing else other than water and pine trees in the horizon. I think this back-and-forth attitude between the chaos of a city and the calm of the country will always be something I seek out – both inspire me in different ways.

    When and where were you happiest?

    Travelling around the world for more than two years with my greatest love, Yves. Exploring new places, feeling free, getting to know each other, finding out more about life, how we would like to live it, making memories together and starting a family. Essentially, that was the reason for our return to the Netherlands after exploring so much of Australia, New Zealand and Asia; I found out I was pregnant with our son. We now have two children, and with each pregnancy came a photo studio with it. If I look back now, maybe I would have done things differently, but that’s the whole point of not overthinking things and being open to new ideas: you just go out and do it, and it doesn’t even matter if things don’t work out because in the end all of it is a learning experience. With all the support from Yves and my family, I know that no matter what I set out to do, it will all be worth it.

    Like her attitude towards photography and travelling, when it comes to fashion Jeannette exudes a palpable self-confidence. From some of the more eccentric outfits she remembers wearing in her youth (read: bright orange velvet leggings, and a fabulous purple crop-top and flared jeans set), to the sophisticated combination of silhouettes in her closet as a grown woman, there is a clear deliberateness to her choices. As is the case with jewelry: when she finds a piece, it is forever.

    To discover more about Jeannette's photography and the studios, click on the following links:

    Jeannette Huisman
    Studio Sarphaat
    Studio Spijkerkade


    All images © Jeannette Huisman


    A visual diary of our January travels: San Francisco, Los Angeles, Ibiza, Paris and Frankfurt.


    Italian. 34. Museum Fundraiser. World citizen.

    There are few people who can say they’ve lived in five countries (Italy, Germany, France, the UK and the Netherlands), and mastered five languages (at least!), so when Valentina says she’s a citizen of the world, we definitely won’t be the ones to argue otherwise. Getting to know her, you wonder to what extent her experiences living amongst other cultures have affected her personality, her customs, her style, yet she is quick to point out that whilst her surroundings have, of course, influenced her in many ways, beneath it all is a sturdy foundation of Italian Classicism she learnt from her parents. When Valentina’s style veers off into the territory of edgy or risqué, her mother makes sure to bring her back on track with the subtle, yet effective: “You’ve been living abroad for too long”.

    Which living person do you most admire? 

    Pina Bausch*, without a doubt. A professional dancer and later founder of the Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch, she used her art to see right through people's souls and could find beauty in every person. According to her, everyone is special. One only needs to be allowed to own one's own uniqueness, cherish it and allow for it to blossom. I grew up watching her performances and I've always admired her love for mankind.

    What is your most treasured possession?

    My old ballet shoes and training clothes from when I used to be a dancer. I started dancing when I was three, and continued throughout my youth until I broke my knee at seventeen, which ended up being the life-altering event that put me on the path that lead me here. It was then that I had to look at the person I was outside being a dancer. There is no regret or remorse when I look back at that period or the choices that were made as a result, but I treasure these mementos as reminders of that time, in particular of the discipline I had with myself and for others.

    Who are your favourite writers?

    First off: I don’t do contemporary literature. Not that I have anything against it, but I feel there are just so many masterpieces in classical literature, that that’s where I need to start. I just love being transported to another place, especially when it’s done with descriptions so vivid you can just see the scene taking place before you. Next to the use of language itself, I also just really love having an insight into other people’s psyche. A few of my favourite writers include:
    • Thomas Mann for his complete mastering of the language and the deep human struggles he describes. Every book he ever wrote is a masterpiece, but my absolute favourite is Doctor Faustus.
    • Alexandre Dumas  immediately transports me to another world full of adventure and drama. I fly through his books. The best one is without a doubt The Count of Monte Cristo.
    • Cesare Pavese’s description of women’s dreams and fears in Tra Donne Sole (Among Women Only) in a melancholic Turin at the turn of the century always stuck with me.
    • My grandmother started writing as a young woman using a male pseudonym, and only much later owned up to her own writing. Her books, such as Venetian Triptych are extremely melancholic, as is she, but also have a lot of humour. She could always find something to laugh about, even in the darkest hours.


    Despite having lived in the Netherlands for the last few years where the sheer unpredictability of the weather almost demands you dress for practicality, Valentina holds tightly to her Italian roots, believing that no matter whether it’s interior design or fashion we’re talking about, beauty always comes first. Currently mulling over: how to be less critical about oneself and those around you.


    *Pina Bausch is technically no longer alive, having passed away in 2009, but was very much a living person throughout Valentina’s life.

    Header image © Valentina Salmeri-Bijzet
    Pina Bausch performance © Valentina Salmeri-Bijzet