DR JÜRGEN DOPPELSTEIN - A Place of Transition

The newly opened Bikini Island Hotel, located in Port de Sóller, Mallorca, is a place that presents itself on its website as a house that welcomes its visitors with a "mixture of relaxation and hedonism" packed in "gypsetter style", a place created to "let go and celebrate life". That sounds exciting and challenging, so following the colorful opening party on the 7th of July, 2018, I let myself be led to some considerations, starting with a characterization of the typical "gypsetter style".

Today's gypsetters are people who want to live and act according to a different, unconventional set of social rules and practices. With their colorful and nomadic lifestyle, they try to translate every movement into a diverse travel experience.

Bikini Hotel exterior. Photo: Lars Kreye

Gypsetters believe only in the moral of truth, beauty, freedom, and love. They are the modern and global bohemians, driven by the longing to fully enjoy each and every drop of life with pleasure and joy and experience it with all their senses.

Motion on the beach, gypsetter 2018. Photo: casa love sayulita

They follow their hearts rather than their heads, and believe they can bring life closer to where they really want to be. For gypsetters, technology and conservation of nature are not mutually exclusive. They live with and through the internet and can earn a living from anywhere.

Gypsetters are communicative, always happy to meet new people and fall in love easily. But they are also wise enough to know that all encounters and attachments happen to be coincidental, and all love must be free of possession, as they often live without possessions themselves. They have a small and clear collection of things they need. All fitting in a few bags. With the rest probably already nicely stored somewhere or given away a long time ago. Full of curiosity about the wonders of the world, they live only in those magical places that keep beckoning them. As soon as the beckoning stops, the journey continues.

The creators of the Bikini Island Hotel in Port de Sóller have not only created a new destination for vacationers, but also established a place of transition. Where every day a new adventure awaits, where residents and guests can let their love for fashion, music, art, literature, dance and movement run wild. Here you will not just find friends, but family as well. Because here you meet people who, like yourself, are looking for soul connections.

This is why the Bikini Island Hotel - Port de Sóller, seems to me a "Place of Transition" as well. A place which is as adaptable as a gypsetter who wants to constantly change and improve. So as to grow in a time of rapid and constant change with its residents and guests and to establish new connections all the time.

Wedding Dress, Pachamama Sayulita Boutique, Mexico

It was Nathalie Mignot who, with her design of colorful, unconventional hippie decor, beach life and modern gypsy life, has given the gypsetter a special outward appearance. The motto of the hotel "Casa Love" in Sayulita, Mexico is: "LIFE IS BETTER IN A BIKINI". Hence, she lives with her extended family and her hotel guests in a hippie-style, boisterous community. Experiencing the tropical beach life. But Nathalie Mignot has also reflected on indigenous cultures, nature, fertility and life on earth. She says: When we start to re-examine our hands, we will see that they are full of magical power and can change the world. They can help bring about a good, harmonious life for many people and actively stand up for peace, prosperity, identity and resistance against injustice and war, in connection with the hope for renewal.

Hippies in Golden Gate Park, 1967. Photo: Robert Altman

It is quite obvious that Nathalie Mignot’s clothing style relies on role models that have their origins in the hippie movement of the 60s and 70s. It was they who opposed the industrially manufactured mass fashion with a consistent anti-fashion. By producing their own clothes, and sewing, dyeing, embroidering and knitting them, they set themselves apart from the dress code of consumer society and thus withdrew from the commercial exploitation interests associated with it.

The wearing of these clothes thus demonstrated not only individuality and creativity, but also a rejection of the existing economic order. Hippies never wanted to be part of the mainstream, the social ills of which they vigorously rebelled against. Their fashion was the testimony of a generation that demonstrated against war and discrimination. So the roots of the gypsetter style can be found in the hippie movement of the 60s set in San Francisco, as even today's gypsetters consistently separate themselves from mainstream and mass society. They want to decide for themselves which rules they live by. Individualistic, non-dogmatic and free, they are looking for the luxury of true life, a life that cannot be bought with money.

Peace, brother, peace

Hippies decorated themselves with flowers as a sign of peace and love. They wore brightly colored dresses, striking jewelry and had long hair. The peace sign was one of their symbols. It came about as part of the British "Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND)" in 1958. As a loose alliance of initiatives and individuals, a huge protest march went from London's Trafalgar Square to the British nuclear research center in Aldermaston, with the peace sign taking center stage.

Summer of Love, San Francisco 1967. Photo: Robert Altman

From this first protest march, the worldwide movement of the "Easter marches" for peace and disarmament against the threat of nuclear weapons and nuclear power plants emerged. Later, the protest against the Vietnam War under the peace sign also became the symbol of protest against the establishment and its inhumane, post-colonial politics.

The peace sign became the international symbol of the like-minded and the universal "Make Love, Not War" slogan became the guiding theme that linked the ideals of the hippies to the political demands of the radical protesters: It was about love and protest, and the term "peace" became a general greeting that was often extended to a long stretched version of “peace, brother, peace!".

Summer of Love, San Francisco 1967. Photo: Robert Altman

Today, the peace sign can be found on T-shirts, jackets, shoulder bags, and other merchandise (and whatever else you can print, paint, or attach this catchy symbol to). The Bikini Island Hotel uses the peace sign as a design element in almost all rooms and on the swimming pool floor. The hotel has rightly recognized the identity-creating effect of the peace sign, clearly positioning itself socio-politically in the process. The peace sign was brought back from its meaningless exile and put up as an ornament.

Bikini Island Hotel Pool with Flower-Power-Peace-Icon, 2018. Photo: Lars Kreye

Hair Peace, Bed Peace

On the 20th of March 1969, John Lennon and Yoko Ono went to bed in front of the whole world, to protest with a conceptual work of art against war and for world peace. The most famous lovers of the time moved into the Presidential Suite at the Hilton Hotel in Amsterdam and did not come out for a whole week. They stayed in bed and announced: "Make Love - Not War!" The world press queued up in the bedroom, with handwritten posters adorning the walls: "Bed Peace" and "Hair Peace" were the slogans.

The motto: "Make Love, Not War!" can also be found on merchandise objects such as buttons and T-shirts today. And in art, paintings, photography, interior design, poetry and body art as well. The Bikini Island Hotel uses the motto: "Make Love, Not War!" confidently on pillows and linen as an interior design element, hence creating a politically confident connection to the historical genesis of this guiding principle of the peace movement.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono on the 20th of March, 1969, at the Hilton Hotel Amsterdam. Photo: listelist.com

Life is better with Music

The Bikini Island Hotel fills the different areas of the house with consistent and technically perfect sounds of pop music. There is an outstanding exception for those with a different music taste: The "Vinyl Forever room".

Today, vinyl records are more than just echo’s of the past. Many new, young artists have understood this and publish their music on vinyl. In addition, trend brands such as "Urban Outfitters" have discovered that vinyl is cool and conveys enormous visual and haptic added value. In the "Vinyl Forever room" of the Bikini Island Hotel, a pleasantly cool relaxation zone has been created with consistently collected records from the '60s and '70s, referring to the glamorous history of pop and rock music on vinyl. In the future, musicians, personalities from the music scene and music producers may hold exciting theme evenings here, explaining the focal points of their own personal record collection.

Vinyl Forever space. Bikini Island Hotel. Photo: Jürgen Doppelstein

Life is better in (a) Bikini

With the term "Bikini" (land of coconuts), the hotel has chosen a name that, 50 years after the "Summer of Love", captivates the hopes and visions of a whole generation and era, and connects the themes of the gypsetters with those of the hippies and peace activists. At the same time, the bikini is the symbol of an era of female emancipation. The term not only arouses vitality and erotic fantasies right up to the present, but is at the same time at the center of the cultural history of fashion in the twentieth century.

The dropping of an atom bomb over the Bikini atoll on July 1, 1946 was, at the time, often associated with terms such as "progressive", "sensational" and "exciting". In the atomic euphoria of the 1950s, the atomic bomb was still regarded as a remedy for various civilizational and military problems, and not associated with "moral indignation".

That's what designer Louis Réard used to launch his revolutionary two-piece swimwear called "bikini" The bikini was exotic, a revolutionary change in dress code, and was designed to provide a positive identification for contemporary female consumers.

Micheline Bernardini, Paris 1946. Photo: craighill.net

On the 5th of July 1946, the first bikini was presented to the public in the Parisian Piscine Molitor by Micheline Bernardini. In the first years, however, the garment was not making its mark.

It was Réard's lucky hour, with the name "bikini" connected to current events of the time, the epitome of a bathing paradise and the idea of a seductive woman showing her tanned skin in southern innocence. This gave the term "bikini" an openly sexual connotation that could be used effectively in advertising communications, to become one of the keywords of the second half of the twentieth century. The name "bikini" still means a very specific attitude of self-projection, since it creates not only an image and a lifestyle, but at the same time mixes the symbolism of death with love in the link between a murderous weapon and an attractive woman in short swimwear.

Réard's choice of name, linked to the nuclear tests of the day, bears witness to those fortunate cases in literature in which a name or title succeeds in making history. Trendy and at the same time scandalous, the bikini opened a communicative space right from the first photo session, lifting it far beyond its initial significance.

Rita Hayworth, 1946. Photo: Getty Images

The bikini fulfills that perennial dream of fashion to be more than just clothing, to tell a story, to create an imaginary space around the object created by it and its wearer who, connecting clothing and wearer and altering them at the same time, like a world within the world.

One of the peculiarities of this garment is its insignificance without the body that fills it. But without the garment, the body is also reduced in its expression. The garment without the body is like an empty, insignificant shell, without core and content, while the body without the flattering and playful garment is nothing more than the naked, often frightening truth.

Brigitte Bardot, Cannes 1952. Photo: SIPA Press; Marilyn Monroe on the beach of Malibu 1962. Photo: George Barris; Ursula Andress, 1962. Photo: newlyswissed.com

When the Bikini Island Hotel advertises today with the slogan: "Life is better in bikini", it is precisely the relationship between garment, body and skin that applies not only to (swim) fashion, but also to architecture and design.

Just a few weeks after opening its doors, the hotel, through its consistent style and charming multicultural staff, succeeds in uniting the individuality of its guests and their affiliation with particular cultural patterns of life. It thus not only tends to the needs of the guests that use and inhabit it, but also to the orientation of others who look at the house from the outside.

The ability to furnish the common character of a hotel with the subtle signs of distinction shines through convincingly well at the Bikini Island Hotel. Because the great difficulty in the mobile, multicultural society of gypsetters, is to even just develop an own language, form and symbolism that is readable, thus representing an offer of identification to its users. You can accept or reject this or you can oppose your own identification models. I, for one, did the latter and still felt very comfortable.

  • Mallorca
  • Bikini
About Dr. Jürgen Doppelstein

Jürgen Doppelstein, museum director and exhibition curator, studied literary and cultural studies in Siegen and Berlin, numerous interdisciplinary museum projects, exhibitions and publications on literature, art and culture. PhD on the concept of strangeness at the FU-Berlin. JD likes to follow in his work a parable of the philosopher Bernard of Chartres, who in 1120 already said: "We are, as it were, dwarfs sitting on the shoulders of giants to see more and more distant things than these."

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