I know we just finished looking at jeans, but I’m not talking about jean dresses!
Maybe somewhere in my convoluted brain that is how I got to this topic, but it’s just as likely that after a week on denim I wanted to frock up!
I live in country Victoria and over the past few years one of our neighbouring cities has been bringing in a number of amazing clothing exhibitions from the V & A in England. This year is Grace Kelly, last year was “White Wedding” and before that was a haute couture exhibit about dresses up to and including Dior and “the Look”. It was at this exhibit that I fell in love and became obsessed. Truly. Worse than any time before. Like stalker obsessed. I can’t get you out of my mind obsessed. Even, I can’t live without you obsessed!
Yes, it was that bad.
You see, I’ve always been tall, and I have never been skinny. Unfortunately, for a fair long time I was far from skinny and once I became an Intensive Care nurse, I could no longer the deny the health risk I was putting myself in. So I finally started losing weight. Diet and exercise, just like everyone tells you…eat less or at least eat better and move more. Over a two-year time frame I had lost about 25 kg (that’s about 55 lbs – don’t ask me stones because I can’t work that one out!). As I became thinner and fitter, fashion became fun again and I became even more interested in haute couture. As I already had a passion for history when the exhibit from the V&A came to the area I had to go.
Just to prove how wonderful the Fashion Mister is, he went with me!
Poor thing. He followed me around and stopped every time I had to sit and admire some amazing dress. He even followed as I doubled back to see some pieces again.
There was one designer that I had never heard of but upon seeing a few of his dresses I became extremely infatuated. He did ruching like I had never seen before. Gorgeous and amazing was all I could think and then this appeared before me.
I stopped dead in my tracks. I’m sure my pupils dilated and I know my heart raced. I thought I had been in love before but right then, I knew, before was all just practice for the massive rush of wanting I had for this gown!
I nearly cried. All I could think was how beautiful a woman would feel wearing that spectacular creation.
Eventually the Fashion Mister was able to pry me away from my new love and I took him to lunch to thank him for being so understanding. I think he may have known that the love affair was not yet over and on the 1 1/2 hour drive home he nodded politely as I rambled on and on about “The Dress”.
A couple of weeks later, we received an invitation to a fund-raising ball and I knew what I had to do. I Googled Jean Desses and eventually found the photo of the red dress I hadn’t gotten out of my mind. But could I be brave enough to wear red?! It was such a “look at me” colour and even though I had lost weight I didn’t know if I was ready for that.
I went to a really amazing seamstress here in our area, showed her the photo of the dress, talked about the colour and I showed her a piece of silk chiffon I had purchased in Hong Kong for my bridesmaids dresses.
Over the next few months, I went for several fittings and a couple of meetings to discuss fabric. Eventually, I had my version of the dress of my dreams. The colour was lavender, which I still love! The skirt was not as full because I honestly couldn’t afford the amount of fabric it would have taken to get that look!
This is me, the night of the ball. As usual, I look unhappy but wasn’t! I jsut don’t smile in photos because my little eyes scrunch up and become invisible! I did feel like Cinderella in the dress. So feminine and girlie but grown up and sophisticated. It fit like a glove. The sashes that cross over the front drape down the back, they do not provide any support but the corsetry had been done so well, no extra support was required.
Two more years have passed, and although I am still wildly in love with this dress, I have lost another 25 kgs (55 lbs) and it no longer fits. (Yes, that is about 50 kgs / 110 lbs – a whole person)
It and my wedding dress are the two items of clothing I have from my “Big” days that I can’t get rid of. I have wondered if I could take the dress back to the seamstress to be adjusted but fear it may be near impossible with all the boning and ruching that the dress has. So it hangs in the wardrobe of the guest bedroom.
Last week, the Fashion Sister From Another Mother (Lee-Anne), was over for dinner and I asked her to try it on because she is going to a VERY formal wedding and I wanted someone to love and wear my dress as much as I do. She loved it, it just didn’t quite fit. So the dress has gone back into the wardrobe.
I think if I were invited to an event that required a gown, I would have to bring her out and find out if she could be further modified.
Just because she is in the closet, doesn’t mean I love her any less.
After all, how can you part with the one you truly love?
BTW: Some of you may remember seeing J-Lo in this Desses gown. Or Renee Zellwegger in this vintage yellow Desses. Or more recently Kristin Davis in this hot-pink vintage Desses stunner.
So my little lovely, was certainly not the only amazing dress to have found love again in a new century.
- Celebrities in Vintage: Anna Friel in vintage Jean Desses (backinstyle.com)
- Old school cool (or how the A-list – and LIZ JONES- can’t resist vintage dresses) (dailymail.co.uk)
- Style with a Smaller Footprint (aalisjournal.wordpress.com)
- Jennifer Lopez (beautymaeven.wordpress.com)