Rescue the dresses in Dallas!

Sitting at the colourists, getting re-reded, I picked up the May Vogue (US edition), and read an item titled "Closet Case: Erin Mathews."

Ms Mathews is a Dallas real estate executive with a big-D dazzling wardrobe (Lanvin, Ralph Lauren Purple Label, Louboutin); a photo shows her resembling Diane Keaton in dark shirt and white pants by YSL.

The quote I had to read three times:

"Dresses I'll do for special occasions, but if I ever wear one twice, it's a miracle. Once a dress makes a statement, I find there's not much to do with i
t after that. The charming little dress that you wear time after time never really intrigues me."

I pulled this photo from her real estate company's home page; the Vogue shot shows a lithe, smiling woman- maybe size 2 or 4? So I thought, "If I were petite, I'd ask if her worn-once frocks would be interested in a new home."

Maybe she does donate them to charity, but I will now announce the founding of my new benevolent venture, named for the patron saint of seamstresses: Saint Anne's Home for Unintriguing Dresses.

Stay tuned as we develop SAHUD. Board positions are available. I think some Texan input would be essential, Belette.

And speaking of wearing once, what's your take on
wedding dresses? I have never understood the urge to spend thousands of dollars on a dress you wear for one day. (OK, maybe two if you take photos another day.)

I've been married three times. (And I know some of you are saying, "I figured.")

The first time, for my hippie wedding at a chapel in the woods, I sewed my own cream-coloured prairie dress, which I wore with lace-up knee-high fine suede boots. After the wedding, I dyed it plum and wore it into the ground
- the dress lasted longer than the union.

For the second, at a country club, I chose a vintage amethyst silk crepe gown trimmed with ecru lace, with an orchid in my hair: languid deco glamour. I wore that dress on black tie occasions, and felt like Ava Gardner every time.

The third time, I found an oyster-white Emmanuelle Khanh cocktail dress to wear when married at home- nearly 23 happy years ago. I wore it as a wedding dress twice, for our civil and religious weddings. Come to think of it, the marriages lasted in inverse proportion to the wearing of the dresses.

But if I'd had the urge to wear a bride costume any of those times, I would have borrowed or bought second hand.


greying pixie said…
Ms Matthews says that a dress that can be worn time after time doesn't intrigue her - well, I must say that she and her attitude do not intrigue me in the slightest. She is obviously out to do no more than tell us how wealthy she is.

I am reminded of the great Nan Kempner, one of the chicest American women who ever lived. Now there was a wealthy woman who could wear clothes. Surely it's the wearer who needs to make the statement, not the dresses!
I am putting on my white silk wedding dress with mutton sleeves and hand beaded pearls and my tool cape and flying down to Dallas to rescue the dresses!

Think my wedding dress was in the three thousand dollar range. At the time it made sense. Now, in retrospect, it seems excessive. I don't even know where the silly dress is anymore.
greying pixie said…
There is a huge assumption that you would like her dresses. I don't think I would.

I designed my wedding dress myself but had it made by a dressmaker as it is bad luck to make your own. It cost me £100 for the raw silk and service. I designed it as a day dress (Out of Africa style) in order to be able to wear it again, but I never have. However, I have made another dress with the scraps of silk which I wear when I'm slim enough!

My husband wore a second hand fifties blue suit and tie. He's still got it and occasionally it still fits.

And we left for our honeymoon in a London taxi! Oh the impetuousness of youth!
Deja Pseu said…
I'd much rather have one perfect dress that in its chameleonlike character, with just a swap of pears for a brooch for a bandana for a staw hat is perfect for any occasion.

BTW, I rented my wedding dress when Mr. Deja and I married. It was very similar to Caroline Kennedy's gown, floor length, no train, crystal beaded bodie and tulle overlays on the skirt. I was told it would have retailed in the neighborhood of $4k. My price for rental of the dress, slip, headband and veil? $600. Including some slight alterations.
Deja Pseu said…
"bodie" = "bodice"
Deja Pseu said…
and "pears" = "pearls"

I've been spellchecking performance evaluations all day and now my brain is imploding!
Anonymous said…
It sounds like she lets the dress wear her rather than bringing anything special to the dress, thats why she can only wear them once. As for wedding dresses mine was silver and cost AUS$120, my sister made it for me.
Duchesse said…
Greying Pixie: I had not hear the belief that it's bad luck to make your won wedding dress- that explains why we lasted less than 3 years!

All: Was very tempted (a la "Punked") to post her business e-mail, which is easy to find; I imagined her receiving many requests for her dresses. Don't want to harass her- do hope she hears from some friends about this approach to consumption.
editor said…
i spent a fair amount on the dress - more than i've spent on any item of clothing since. it's a style that will look just as good on an 80yo (and it will definitely fit me forever, because of the shape - though the material is delicate, so who knows if it will technically last) as it did on me at the time, but, in some ways, i'll always wonder if i shouldn't have gone for a style that suited my youth exclusively. i was being practical, thinking that if i was going to get to shop with x amount of dollars, i should pick something i will want to wear again. i have since worn it as a whole, and i've worn parts (it consists of 3 or 4 overlapping layers of sheer black silk). yes, i guess i approached the dress-choosing as 'buy something now, for later' since it was being bank-rolled by my parents.
greying pixie said…
deja pseu, I can go one better than adding a brooch, etc; I have a long sleeved black dress with detachable white cuffs thereby making it a day or evening dress.

duchesse - I don't know if I despise this woman or just feel sorry for her. Imagine going through life never actually experiencing affection or attaching any emotion to your clothes - life would not be worth living!
greying pixie said…
editor - a good friend of mine got married on a tight budget and bought a loose long Indian style white kaftan which she has worn since on very important occasions - her father's funeral, events like that. I think that's a lovely idea, to have a dress that only comes out for rites of passage. I guess she will be buried in it eventually!

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