Saturday, 5 September 2009

Threading backwards (Balenciaga)





















































This totally extraordinary dress belongs to my lovely grandmother (paternal): Babi  - that's czech for grandma. She said I could try it on when we were visiting.
As you can see she has great taste and style, but also an eye for a bargain! She bought this dress from a thrift store in the U.S. sometime in the 1950's, after she and her parents had fled from their home in Czechoslovakia as refugees in 1948.
She was told that the dress was a Balenciaga (!) that had been donated by someone wealthy. Now, it has no label to prove this but the incredible construction of hand-stitched coils of rolled, matte satin silk are so intricate that it definitely looks couture.
Wearing this dress feels like being zipped into all sorts of coils in history. Imagine the people, parties and places this dress has seen. And I find it amazing to wonder at the original owner, to speculate who that might have been.. Who hand stitched it? Which people did this beautiful garment see and socialise with before it was donated for charity?
This dress is the very essence of why I love vintage. I really love the stories behind each item, knowing that you're almost wearing a character, not just a piece of clothing.
The buckle bracelet is from a vintage market stall and the earrings are clip ons my mum found in a charity shop - they are more like miniature works of art..
Oh, and thank you so much to all the lovely people who commented on my last post. I will try to reply, but haven't found time just yet. I spent a few days in London- seeing the Rankin exhibition, trailing around Selfridges for hours staring at the gorgeous clothes that I can't afford, looking at the V&A fashion graduates' exhibition, Portrait gallery etc. A good few days.
And also huge thanks for the other blog awards I got! Post will be coming soon..

34 comments:

Jazz said...

hihi!
Thanks for dropping by on my blog!
I love your pictures , they're very beautiful!
Anyhow , inbox me : howtheyscream@hotmail.co.uk
I did a quick illustration of you! I'll like to send it to you :D
Jazz xxxx

Tati said...

This dress is gorgeouss
The coils are so intricate and it looks like it would have taken a LONG time to make! I love your grandmothers story on how she got the dress and I admire how much thought you put into vintage clothes and how you think of every individuals story. I'll probably start thinking that too!
I love the pictures! (who takes them by the way?)
XX

Leproust Vintage said...

I absolutely love reading all of the great stories behind your beautiful vintage pieces! My grandmother just sent me a large parcel of scarves that belonged to her and my great grandmother. It is so nice to know the history behind certain pieces!

Natalie said...

That dress is absolutely beautiful and unique. you look stunning it it, fits u perfectly! and lovely pics :)

xoxo

natalieoffduty.blogspot.com

Ash Fox said...

such a stunning dress. i love the way you play with perspective in these photos.

x

www.tittees.blogspot.com

Denise said...

wow that dress is simply gorgeous!

i love the intricate design. Just lovely.

SCISI said...

wow the dress is so beautiful andthe coil detailing is so intresting, like a web:)xx

Stephanie Clayton said...

hi, it's StyleOdyssey here. (i couldn't sign in my usual way, for some reason...) anyhow...

that dress is divine!! and the shoes paired with it...love the classy pointed toe!
you are quite fortunate to not only have access to such vintage pieces, but to also actually like wearing them, and know how to style them. how many girls your age would turn a blind eye to such treasures, favoring run-of-the-mill trendy items from, say, abercrombie & fitch, and the like??

fashiondawn said...

the dress looks amazing on you :)

Vera and Rudy said...

Thanks for making the dress famous Roz! I loved it. Just one correction, the Thrift shop was on New York's 57th street, next to Longshamps restaurant where I worked as a hostess to make ends meet.....It then stayed with me when I in turn became well known - it saw a lot of the then "gliteratti" world - my La Dolce Vita. Your blogs are wonderful, thanks again. Babi

Indie.Tea said...

What an extraordinary dress. It is so stunning and beautiful and so unique. And it fits you so well, and looks fantastic on you.

Amelia said...

What a stunning dress! And a great story, too. I love the indoor pictures where you can see through the coils at the bottom of the dress.

Simpli-c-t said...

dress is stunning..x

Ruxandra said...

the details on the dress are so amazing:)love love it:)

Jowy said...

VERY UNIQUE AND CHIC.

One Love,
Jowy
www.iseejanemary.blogspot.com

Raez said...

amazing, really! how awesomely stylish is your grandma to own a really great dress:) wouldnt doubt its designer, the detail is fantastic!

xx raez

Isabel said...

Oh wow, that dress is simply amazing! Love the detail and shape.

x
thinkbackandrelax.blogspot.com

Eva Internazionale said...

I love pieces of clothing with interesting stories behind them. <3

Alexandra said...

That is an awesome dress and I LOVE YOUR HAIR :)

SkinnyBitch said...

Well, what do you know? I happen to love clothes, cameras, coffee; and incidentally, your blog.

Expensive Junk said...

i gave you a award cause your blog is amazing (:
x

Miss Red said...

so beautiful! i love what you wrote about the previous history of the dress. i wish my grandma had cool vintage clothes like that!

The Queen of Hearts said...

That is an amazing amazing find.

Sher said...

You look gorgeous in that beautiful, delicate dress and I love the story behind it:) In fact, your blog is so lovely, am gonna start following!

xx,
Sher

June Paski said...

I really adore ur dress, i think is really balenciaga the detail is very awesome, and Im agree with you about vintage dress :)

xxx

Vik said...

great dress!! sounds like you had amazing time in London! I havent been in months must go again before the halloween, then it will be save save save for NYC!
magpie-girl.blogspot.com xx

Panda said...

Gorgeous. Gorgeous. end of. :) Wish i had that dress!

xxx

Adela said...

that dress is absolutely STUNNING. you look so great in it, like a beautiful gothic princess (minus the creepy makeup and hair!)

http://pinkchampagnefashion.blogspot.com

ONiC said...

i love how the dress fit you so well. you look so lovely.

polka dot (Jill Carin Adams) said...

Hey Roz,

Thank you re: the email, will reply to you both soon!
Just to quickly try to spread the word:

http://streetstylelondon.blogspot.com/2009/09/top-shop-tonight.html

thanks & speak soon xoxo

Ingrid. said...

what a cute dress!!

Lorien BeautyLove said...

You're gorgeous! Love the dress! Its a new vintage take on a LBD!

MissNeira said...

the detail on that dress is amazing, from afar it looks like lace!

Revolution Vintage said...

GORGEOUS!!!! Great blog too. I am adding you to our blogroll.
Stop by and enter our giveaway!