The 500 Ladies are presented as NFT's, yet none of the 500 ladies would be out of place on a fashion show catwalk in London, Paris or New York. They exude confidence and style. Some wear trendy knitted boleros, statement jewellery and clutch tiny handbags lined with silk. Each NFT trait is searchable and sortable to find your favourites. Some wear sharp, tailored jackets and dresses or futuristic structured skirts cinched in with belts with minute silver buckles. All of them wear coordinating outfits combining colours in an assured way.
Enjoying The NFT Collection
The way the ladies are presented is important both as NFT's and IRL. The five hundred ladies exhibited together make a powerful collective statement, which is why First Lady wanted to create so many in the first place. Each lady is free standing and equally spaced apart within the OpenSea collection.
"They are part of a community, they are also able to stand on their own an be themselves. When there were 20 of them there wasn't such an impact, but now that there are 500, it is different. It's not just a small family group, but a whole society." says First Lady.
The NFT collector can engage with them as a group or apprecaite them individually at length, and their different quirks, strengths and personalities jump off the OpenSea screen. "In this NFT collection, you can eyeball them." she says. "They are your frens." Each one has an automonous story and each one invites us to bond with them, so much so that it is easy to imagine their individual narratives and how they related to our own past.
"I spent a year hunting for parts for the ladies in charity shops, garage sales and picking up discarded items that provided me with more inspiration. I once found a whole jar of different buckles in an op shop, which gave me lots more ideas." says First Lady.
Each Lady Has A Story
One lady is a bride, complete with a long train. Another has a pencil sharpener head in the shape of a globe of the world, with a map of New Zealand printed on her dress. One lady with a key hole head, is wrapped in a soft blanked. "Babies are wrapped in blankets when they are born, but children also have cuddly blankets," she explains "For me, blankets represent nurturing."
However, she points out that although they have very distinct chacters, there is nothing cute or cuddly about the ladies in general. In fact, at the beginning of the creative process, she would refer to the figures as dolls, but then realized that they defied this sort of rigid categorization and started thinking of them as ladies instead.
Some of them are also funny, a testimony to First Lady's own sense of humour. When she made four ladies with printer heads, she decided to make them all ballerina, bust sporting different colouted tutus of blu, black, yellow and pink.
One lady has a pickted fence for a head. Another, with a strange metallic silver beak-like head, is clad in an elegant long dress with pearls. "I was walking round the park one day and found this part of a kid's bike. She's quite an odd looking girl, but I've dressed her in silk to flash her up a bit," she laughs.
This is the first time that the 500 Ladies have been shown in the Metaverse, so visitors are able to tap into their collective past in perpetuity. "After all, it is through these memories that we are all interconnected," she says. Her main wish is that those that encounter her work will not just be encouraged to revisit their own pasts but 'to look to the future and share my excitement for the opportunities that the next generation can share."