A Dress With a History


My Wedding Dress


I am moving house. In the fit of packing, sorting and the general cleansing that inevitably goes along with a move, I find myself standing in a pair of boyfriend jeans and a tank top with the eye of a slightly crazed woman on a mission... and then I come across my beloved wedding dress.


It is a beautiful, cream Giambattista Valli looking at me from inside the spare room closet and it seems to be saying -- "Oh, so now you are finally paying attention to me!"


What does one do with something like that during a giant spring clean, which comes hand in hand with a move and a new life, which collides head on with your old life. As much as I loved this dress I actually was not sentimentally attached, maybe for obvious reasons.


But then there was the nagging question... "What about my daughter, should I save it for her?" Reality kicked in. Surely no self-respecting daughter wears her mother's wedding dress 20-30 years after the thing has been hanging around in a preservation box. The idea is nice, but not terribly realistic.


So off to Decades Two I go -- I am met by the lovely, smiling Christos, and, as he takes my dress in hand, it slowly comes back to him. He tells me he remembers me now: "Ahh, that's right, this dress was for your wedding... so how is everything?" I smile and mouth to him silently the word divorce.


He replies, "Oh, honey, don't worry about it, I will take care of everything," in such a reassuring way. Along with clothes comes life, and I suspect that this man is quite an expert on both. He takes the dress, I sign some paper work and it's on consignment -- I feel liberated, sensible and a little melancholy all at once.


I found out a few days later that the dress was flown straight to NYC. In my imagination she was flown first class, with cocktails, Christos holding her hand all the way. Straight into the arms of the shop window display, where she is the star of the show. Standing in full glory at the Decades Two pop-up shop in NYC in the Kiki de Montparnasse store. The crazy thing is that the opening for this event is actually on the very day that my divorce is legal! I realize that my dress is not finished yet, and has a long, glamorous life ahead of her.


My Irish friend Marina Guinness told me once that her mother kept little cards pinned to each dress. On each of the cards were detailed accounts of the event and the night's activities, who she saw, who she danced with and so on -- like real, live, walking story books. I love this idea; it breaths such life into each piece. I think in a way it's part of the reason so many of us are drawn to vintage attire -- it is the history that is so fascinating, the story that each loved item carries in its seams. So with this dress I send the note, that I myself, had a wonderful, beautiful, spring wedding in this dress -- and I cant wait to read the next installment of her adventures!

© 2017 Amelia Fleetwood.  Ojai, California 

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