The dress is made entirely of pieced vintage silk scarves of fine quality. Constructed with harmony of scale and colour, it hangs as if one piece, swishy and supple.
The saleswoman told me that Anne Byrne, the ballerina then married to Dustin Hoffman, had bought the same dress. True or good sales pitch? I wore it to parties, weddings, and soirées for at least a decade.
If that dress could talk, it would say "Champagne on the terrace, darling."
By the early '90s, I'd gained weight in the bust, and, unable to part with its magic, stored my divine dress and occasionally loaned it to friends. ("No hanky panky in the dress", I warned, though there was probably some out of it!) Through decades of closet clean-outs, the dress stayed.
Our son Etienne's beautiful partner Tash inherited her mother's eye for textiles, and is an avid seamstress; I offered it to her. The dress fits perfectly. She's using its matching wide sash as a belt, I wore it around my neck à la Isadora Duncan.
A closeup of the florals and geometrics:
I'm delighted that the "English garden" has passed into hands that design (she even drafts her own patterns), and she's a lover of florals. Here's Tash in one of her own designs, in which she's mixed floral and stripe:
And she dyes; here, she's preparing shibori, a joint project with her artist uncle Nick:
You can see more of Tash's work at TashenkaSews.
And so, my adored English flowers have found a new home almost 40 years later!
A dress that transports you with joy is worth springing for. At the time, it was by far the most expensive item I'd ever bought (and probably still is, adjusting for inflation), but what a life that dress has had, and will now have, on Tash!