As the countdown to Valentine’s Day whips us all into a rose-scented, chocolate-flavoured date-planning frenzy, we at the Blrt office have become a little bit fascinated by the idea that for some couples, life is one long nine-to-five date. Pairing this new interest with our obsession for the collaborative process led us to do some research (OK you got us – we just Googled the words ‘famous partners’).
We wanted to know whether or not mixing real business with monkey business is actually sustainable without intermittent incarcerations at the local penitentiary or lunatic asylum. After all, love is one thing, but the very idea of spending almost every waking AND sleeping hour in the company of your paramour is something else completely.
What we discovered is that the history of art, music, literature, fashion and armed hold-ups is filled with passionate, irregular, and often tempestuous love affairs between creative souls. Here are our five favourite famous partners in collaboration and love.
Our 5 Favorite Famous Partners
Love and crime
Bonnie Parker & Clyde Barrow
Bonnie and Clyde were gun-toting bank robbers who traveled throughout central USA with their gang during the Great Depression, robbing and killing people. Not really the stuff that Valentine’s Day is made of but, hey – whatever melts your chocolate, right? Their exploits captured the imagination of the American public, but what held its attention was a series of titillating photographs that made it obvious that Bonnie and Clyde were romantically involved, but UN-married (Gasp!) – risqué stuff for 1931.
When they met, both were smitten immediately and most historians believe Parker joined Barrow simply because she was in love with him. Bonnie remained Clyde’s loyal companion as they underwent their crime spree and tempted the violent fates they apparently both viewed as inevitable. The couple was eventually ambushed and killed near the town of Sailes, Louisiana. Their reputation was revived and cemented in American pop folklore by Arthur Penn’s 1967 film starring Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty as the pair.
Love and art
Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera
Another tempestuous (and occasionally gun-toting) duo of the 1930s were Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. She also carried a hip-flask and rumour suggests that wasn’t used for medicinal purposes only. The two painters (both Mexicans) came face to face for the first time in the late 1920s, when Frida was an art student. She (spurred on by her very fierce eyebrows) approached the prominent muralist, who was 20 years older than her, hoping to get some advice on her career as an artist.
Drawn together by their shared belief in the values of communism and mutual admiration for each other’s work and respect for each other’s talent, they fell in love and married in 1929, fairly soon after they met. Their marriage was often turbulent but Diego tolerated Frida’s infidelity and even turned a blind eye to her bisexual tendencies. Unfortunately for Diego, it was a case of ‘do as I say, not as I do’, which basically meant that Frida was hopping mad when she discovered that her husband and her younger sister were having a liaison. In a fit of pique, Frida divorced Diego in 1939, but she got over it pretty quickly and they remarried a year later. Although their second marriage was just as wild a ride as the first, they stuck together until Frida died in 1954.
Love and Music
Joan Baez and Bob Dylan
Joan and Bob, both emerging singer-songwriters, met in 1961 while both of them were building their careers around New York’s Greenwich Village folk music scene. Baez had released an album and her star was rising rapidly. Initially, it was Joan’s younger sister who caught Bob’s eye, but since he and Joan were so often seen together, the media liked to cast them as a couple and their relationship developed under the scrutiny of the world at large. In 1963, Joan asked Bob to play alongside her at the Newport Folk Festival, which set the stage for many more duets in the following years. Sadly, music wasn’t enough to sustain their love and their romance fell apart in the mid-60s, although they continued to collaborate on music and film projects. While drawing connections between Bob’s music and his relationship with Joan is not so straightforward, she was a LOT more transparent. The title of one of her songs, ‘To Bobby’ really does give it away, right? Sadly, the breakup ended up being quite an angry one but lucky for us, the music survived unscathed.
Love and poetry
Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes
Both poets and writers, Sylvia and Ted met in 1956, at a party in Cambridge. Quick as a flash, they were loved up and married, just a hair-raising 4 months from the day that they met. Sylvia truly loved Ted, describing him as “a singer, story-teller, lion and world-wanderer” with “a voice like the thunder of God”. Apparently Ted wasn’t channelling God’s most admirable traits, because a few years into their marriage, he met the very beautiful Assia Wevill and was instantly besotted with her, as was she with him, so they had an affair.
Reinforcing the age old theory that the best creative work bursts from a broken heart, it was after their separation that Sylvia produced most of her best loved and admired poetry. Sadly, Sylvia had battled depression all her life, and in 1963 she succeeded in her third suicide attempt, leaving behind her two children, aged two and nine months. She was just 30 years old. Shortly before he died in 1998, Ted published Birthday Letters, a collection of poetry, which is recognised as his response to Sylvia’s suicide, and a retrospective view into their marriage.
Love and fashion
Domenico Dolce & Stefano Gabbana
Domenico Dolce began his career in fashion after dropping out of his fashion design course at the Marangoni Institute, believing (a little like some 5-year-olds after their first day at kindy) that he already knew everything the school had to teach. Fairly soon after this, Domenico found a job as an assistant to a designer, and fairly soon after that, he met a fine young man named Stefano Gabbana when he was out on the town one night at a club. Dolce was impressed with Gabbana’s good looks and outgoing personality and Gabbana was impressed with Dolce’s promise that he would get him a job at the same fashion house. Dolce taught Gabbana how to sketch and the basics of tailoring, and in the process they became a couple.
Later that same year, Gabbana was conscripted for 18 months of military service which is pretty much what happens to every fine young man in Italy, but they reunited in 1982 and were living together in a one-room loft where they did freelance work. Noticing that they always raised separate invoices, even when we were working for the same client, their accountant one day said “Why not just do one invoice for both of you? Put Dolce and Gabbana at the top”. And so it was that one of the world’s most iconic fashion labels was born: the brainchild of a Milanese bookkeeper.
Collaboration is love
Luckily for this blog post – especially considering it is being written in celebration of love and collaboration – Domenico and Stefano have remained stitched together in the tumultuous world of fashion. This is despite becoming embroiled in many controversies, which proves (to this writer at least) that a little animal print can hold any outfit together.
Sadly for this blog post, it took a hell of a lot of Googly keystrokes to actually find a couple that hadn’t succumbed to divorce or untimely death, which proves that love as a basis for collaboration can get a little bit hairy, even when there’s chocolate and Valentine’s Day.
If collaboration is love, Blrt might just get you hot under the collar. Reach out to a partner you adore (whether romantically or not!) today:
Blrt helps you get your point across quickly by allowing you to talk, point and draw over images, documents and websites. The resulting video-like recording is called a Blrt.
Your Blrts require much less bandwidth than video and can be shared with anyone on mobile or desktop. This makes Blrt ideal for both collaboration and the creation and sharing of dynamic content, as public Blrts can be embedded into any webpage.
Once recorded, Blrts are stored in the cloud and are exchanged with others in a conversation-like fashion. A record is kept of the exchange, and new parties and media can be added at any time.
Blrt shifts time and place, allowing users in a conversation to participate in their own time. In an era where activity-based working and distributed teams are commonplace, Blrt is revolutionising the way people interact to get things done.