Friday, 22 April 2011
Nana in Wonderland called her own scoliosis surgery scar on her back an "emblem of strength". This statement has stayed with me strongly and I think it's a very hopeful way to describe something that is now so integral to my body. Although my own scar hasn't faded as much as I would have liked by now, that purplish, slightly uneven line running down from neck to waist is a constant reminder of all the experiences I've had. I feel as though it is a seam, or zip that - now it has been 'sewn up' - holds everything in place. Although I still want to design and make a dress specifically inspired by the scar, I thought that this incredible dress with the cutaway section made more than enough of a statement. I love the way it works as a 'frame'. In my original 'scoliodress' post I wrote about concealing and revealing. I often used my hair to camouflage my back, as it was so long it completely covered my protruding shoulder and twisted ribcage. However, here I chose to brush away my hair and 'reveal' the scar...
There are great advantages to letting everyone know how much you love vintage clothes - especially if your cousin several times removed tells her neighbour, who just happens to have some vintage pieces she doesn't wear, and would like to give away. Thus, when my mum returned from a family visit a few days ago, she was carrying an intriguing looking plastic bag. She handed it to me, and I opened it to see a jumble of different coloured crepes, silks and wools folded on top of each other. Pulling out each vintage item in turn was a little like discovering the contents of a goody bag of exotic sweets - every piece of clothing was examined and savoured individually, before my eyes greedily turned back to find the next. The first thing I grabbed was this incredibly beautiful (I assume thirties or sixties?) bias cut evening gown. It was followed by another thirties style dress, two artfully structured jackets and a Vivienne Westwood-esque tartan skirt. Taking a well needed break from Trigonometry, I rushed upstairs to try them on.
My brother and I have been 'renovating' the tree house in our garden (by that I mean we have attached a tarpaulin roof and a pulley system), and I half-sashayed outside in the silver dress to show my parents what it looked like, as they sawed away at planks of wood. I know it's cliched, but dresses like this do make me feel like a movie star - or at least that I've become an extra in 'Gosford Park'. Also, not only does it fit like a particularly memorable dream; it's also long enough to cover my feet in flats.
For the styling, I wanted to create a juxtaposition between the elegance of the dress and the slightly messy hair combined with the location. There's something rather entertaining about making yourself up and wandering languidly up the road, just so that you can pose in a sheep-filled field - in heels! To the dress I also added a bright pink vintage envelope clutch (I want to put a letter inside and post it!) that my grandma has just given me, and a silver necklace of my mum's. The brooch is also vintage.