Love Story: Lost and Found

Marlene Birger dress, worn by Sienna Somers photograph by Paul Pickard

At last Fashion Revolution Week (18th-24th April) has dawned upon us once again, trying to mend the broken links in the supply chain and helping us to fall in love with our clothes once again. In an era dominated by fast-paced, emotionless fashion, we need to take a step back, slow down and learn to appreciate the garments.

This year, Fashion Revolution is asking us to write a Love Story on a favourite item, the journeys you’ve shared with it and why you love it. My love story is based around my year 11 prom dress.

I had already looked everywhere: vintage fairs, ebay, high street but this dress was elusive and my search was endless. It had to be special.  I bought a reserve prom dress at a vintage fair for £20, which I have worn several times since, but I knew it wasn’t the one.

During a trip to London Fashion Weekend, in September 2011, I found what I thought was the dress. I tried it on. It was long, it was silk, it was gorgeous colours of the sunset, it was perfect. It was ripped. This wasn’t just an easy-to-mend rip due to the delicate nature of the material and the voluminosity of the skirt. The whole waistband would have to be removed and remade.  Then to my dismay, the price was significantly higher than I initially thought due to my misreading of the product code as the price! So I decided, with considerable reluctance, to walk away.

But this dress didn’t walk away from me. I obsessively googled the Marygold dress. I tried to find one so many times online. I phoned Malene Birger. I visited the shop. I came to the conclusion that the dress was very limited edition. I sadly moved on.

My mother always used to visit Clerkenwell Vintage Fair when she was showing at London Fashion Week as the two always coincided. In the middle of February 2012 my mother found the dress. It was the very same dress, bought by Miniola Vintage at London Fashion Weekend, mended by her, and for sale on her stand at Clerkenwell Vintage Fair.

After school one day, my mum surprised me with the dress.

The dress was greatly admired at the prom.

I treasure the dress and long for another opportunity to show it off…

Wearing one of the prom dresses I bought at Clerkenwell in 2012. Photograph by Paul Pickard

Wearing the dress. Photograph by Paul Pickard