Friday, 22 April 2011

Silver sighs





Dylana of 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.

50 comments:

Tien said...

Roz, you are so breathtaking. I love the photo of the back, showing the soft, feminine dress and the hardness of the scar. Dylana is right, it's a sign of strength. Just beautiful.

Shannon Distel Scanlan said...

You look lovely. A sign of strength indeed.

Lydia said...

This dress is so freaking gorgeous on you! You look amazing. I love your scar showing through the back like that. My cousin has had back surgery a couple of times in recent years due to scoliosis and I can't imagine the pain and discomfort. Your post is beautiful.

Mei-li said...

wouaah you have to be courageous to support such a surgery it's not so bad that this scar is in your back, as you cannot see it , I have a scar from a jellyfish on my chin, when people talk about it or ask me about it, I always said that I don't care because I never saw it ( expect on the mirror but i'm on my own), so I can forget about it, but actually it's a bit disapeared now
anyway every body have a special relationship with their body and scars
we are unique !!!

Lala said...

That dress is amazing! And this might sound wierd but I think your scar looks almost beautiful framed by it - the light purple colour matches. :)

Closet Fashionista said...

Wow that dress is GORGEOUS! And yes, embrace your scar, just like Dylana said it shows how strong you are! :D
http://www.closet-fashionista.com

Caitlin Rose said...

you look absolutely stunning, and I was just gonna say that you looks like an old hollywood movie star, so don't worry, it's a good cliche.

Also I wanted to tell you that I have a scar on my all across the side of my neck that I got when I had a tumor removed from my face at the age of 14. I always liked my scar however, it made me feel like I had done something, I had been through something, and I had survived.

I love your scar, it shows how much strength such a delicate and beautiful person can have!

Sigrid said...

this is an amazing post. I love the framing of your scar. You are like a gorgeous harry potter! :) with a much better scar! hihi

and I love the dress. SO elegant! makes me want to go dress up right now for no reason! I love dressing up for no reason!

Elizabeth @rosalilium said...

beautiful and brave.

Lauren said...

I love this post! So inspiring. I'm proud of my scoliosis scar too - it's my war wound and I love it. You can see mine here: http://www.laurenlovesblog.com/2010/07/personal-post-my-scoliosis-operation.html

Xxx

Raez said...

Oh wow! There is a lot more beauty to this post than you rocking that 40s/50s screen siren dress. The beauty is in your confidence, maturity and your choice to embrace your post-surgery scar and everything it means to you! Flaunt it, girl, you make us proud! :)

Hope you have a great Easter!
Raez

AvaPilar said...

Oh, how beautiful! Definitely pre-golden age, straight out of hollywood (or Gosford Park!) I love the bias cut, I'm jealous!

I wanted to add how much i admire your courage throughout all of this, it's inspiring.

The Fancy Teacup said...

You look like a goddess in that dress! I commend you for showing us what makes you beautiful and the body marks that represent your triumphs through hardships.

www.TheFancyTeacup.com
much love.

Litla said...

beautiful, courageous, and strong. you have so much to be proud of.
xo Litla
http://litlarotta.blogspot.com/

Aditi Bhalotra said...

:O

This dress is really gorgeous!!


http://mysartorialsecrets.blogspot.com/

Steffys Pros and Cons said...

so brave of you to embrace your scar, i love the cut of the dress and love your clutch!

<3 steffy
Steffys Pros and Cons

Stephanie Hoff Clayton said...

oh no, don't post that lovely envelope clutch! ;) the color is the PERFECT lush pink hue that i'm after lately...in something. nail color? i just bought some towels in that shade. anyway, this particular pink with your silver gown (silver-screen- movie-star-gown!) is simply divine. you have never looked more beautiful, scar and all. (and the scar WILL continue to fade.)
happy easter, roz! xo
-Style Odyssey

le sorelle said...

you look stunning! i could only imagine what you experienced going through surgery and all, as i have scoliosis myself. your scar is a true symbol of courage and encouragement to us all - a sign that someone can go through such pain and come out glamourous and beautiful!

wonderful photos!

-j
sorelle in style

Joyce said...

Love, love, love the dress on you. It seems to have been made specially for you, scar frame and all.

Will you show us your closet sometime? I am so curious about how you store all these beautiful clothes.

Anja said...

You look so marvellous, I'm speachless :)

Jessica said...

Great, looking as vintage as ever I think it's great that you are not afraid to show aff your scar :)

http://chicgeekblogger.blogspot.com/

http://bitsforboffins.bigcartel.com

PinkBow said...

one word. stunning.

Liz said...

Beautiful dress, beautifully styled, beautifully real, thank you x

Dylana Suarez said...

The dress is stunning on you. So happy that you are proud of your scar! From the looks of it, I can tell you are healing very well! You always amaze me dear!

xoxo,

colormenana.blogspot.com

Lucy said...

Wow Ros I'm so amazed, both my the awesomeness of your dress - I will now have to tell EVERYONE that I love second hand clothes haha and by your confidence to show off your scar. That is a heck of a scar and admit I gasped but it was really of amazement as like you said the dress frames it and so it really is presented to be gazed at awe. It's really quite beautiful while of course a sad reminder of the pain you went through. I also adore your clutch, you're luck a lucky girl as those are cropping up everywhere but yours in vintage - snatch! :D xxx

San said...

Amazing. Everthing, You, the dress, the pictures and your strength to show and frame your scar like this. And yes to the last paragraph.

Enjoy your easter.

Marta said...

Amazing. Just amazing. I wanted to thank you for such an inspiration. It's priceless. You show us how to wear clothes from past. You're so classy, stylish & beautiful! And as someone told so : it's good that you aren't afraid of showing your scar!

Xoxo,

audreyisgirlofmydreams.blogspot.com

PS. Following you via bloglovin' :)

Kate said...

You are so brave and such an inspiration!
www.styleisalwaysfashionable.blogspot.com

Hope Adela Pasztor said...

As always, you are stunning! I'm usually a maximalist when it comes to outfits (tons of jewelry and accessoreis) but I love the fluid elegance and simplicity of this ensemble. (4th photo is my favorite!)The bright coral clutch contrasts so cleverly with the gown, which reminds me of something Arwen or Galadriel would wearing in "Lord of the Rings". You are so brave for revealing, nay, showcasing your scar like that! Thank you for your sweet comments on my latest post! =)

http://pinkchampagnefashion.blogspot.com/

Wild Flower said...

Oh wow incredible! So cool to be gifted such treasures!!! You do indeed look like a movie star. The scar is beautiful, I truly find it a strength of character, and that dress frames it perfectly. x

L'age moyen said...

This is just my dream dress. It's Jean Harlow and Carole Lombard and everything that was elegant and seemingly effortless about that Hollywood style. The design and fabric are so sensuous without being revealing. You don't have to worry about anything slipping out of place. The real beauty though is how it frames your scar and how courageous and comfortable you are in sharing it with us. Beautiful images!

alexandratherese said...

Roz, your courage and strength are both admirable and I can't think of any better way to let that shine through than in this beautiful dress. You exude elegance! Looking forward to catching up on all of your posts I missed whilst away - the last one I saw was "Oh you pretty things".

Alexandra Thérèse xx

www.alexandratherese.com

simon said...

I think you may indeed start an interesting myth sooner or later, perhaps featuring a screen siren or maybe even a mermaid in the local fields! Just want to say that reading your post reminded me of the fantastic Katie Puckrik who is someone I used to hear on the radio occasionally and who had a major operation on her back as a teenager; googling her just now I found this:

'During high school, Puckrik was diagnosed with scoliosis, a curvature in the spine. She ended up having 10 vertebrae fused and a metal rod put in her back, spending a total of nine months in a plaster body cast.

"Having that surgery was one of the best things that happened to me in a sense because I got refocused and got back into dancing again. What it also taught me was once I made it through ... that I should just go for the gusto and whatever comes up I should go for."'

The other reasons for being reminded of her is that she too is talented with words and stylish in an individual way ...

"I definitely marched to a different drummer. I was the kind of kid that would raid Pennywise thrift shop in Vienna and get my whole funk, vintage wardrobe for $3."

So I just thought I'd mention her and pass on her positive words, and the fact that she's in several youtube videos discussing and reviewing perfume, which I'm sure are well worth a watch if possible.

Tanya said...

You are absolutely amazing... I love what you do, especially your pure honesty. It makes me so happy to know that there are people like you and your family around. I know I should be talking about the scar, I find it hard to believe that you have been through that and still seem to be such a normal happy young woman. My favourite thing about this post though, has to be your tree house renovation comments. I love that you can be walking around in high heels and vintage evening gowns, and attend London Fashion Week parties yet still be interested in playing with your little brother and building tree houses- and not be shy to tell us about it. I love love love that! I hope you're never afraid to trust your gut instinct throughout your life- from the little I know about you, I'm pretty sure you'll always make things wonderful.

PJ said...

You are looking stunning in that dress!!

sacramento said...

My dear Roz, I am amazed; although not surprised at how you know that scar, even when it fades, will always be the sign of your strenth and inner growth.
You are more beautiful everyday!!!
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

MJonas_ said...

your blog is so cute..if you want you can be my follower!:)
XOXO
http://stylestarmjonas.blogspot.com/

efromwonderland said...

I don't know you, and I just discovered your blog, but I admire your strength and your courage to post this and be so open about it.

I'm following you from now on, because you have amazing style and love your blog!

memoriesfromwonderland.

Nici said...

What a great dress!

Pearl Westwood said...

Roz you look like a pricess, the dress is absolutely wonderful and it looks made for you, framing your scar in such a way. I agree you should show it with pride as a medal of what you have over come. Maybe you could get a body paint artist to paint you on a zipper pull for some photos, I like the way you put it that it feels like you have been zipped up again, all fixed. I read the IFB article last night, it is so eloquently written xx

Penny Dreadful said...

The scar is beautiful Roz xx

Wouter said...

Hi Roz
A few words from Japan, where I work at a school your dad would have been visiting now. I hope you don't mind me sharing your blog with me. He must be so proud and I can see why. It's ana mazing read with gorgeous pictures. Your attitude is spot on. Hardships are also opportunities and I feel your life will have gained in complexity and depth, like discovering a colour you didn't know was there before. Best wishes as you chart your course
Wouter

designsonfragility said...

that last photo is amazing. you're right - the dress frames your scar beautifully. i have chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia - both of which are invisible - but sometimes i really wish there was a way i could incorporate the experience of them into my fashion choices. i think there's something empowering about being able to take something that causes/ed so much strife and re-imagine it, wonderfully.

daydreaming said...

i envy your courage and the way you deal with your scoliosis. so so admirable!

aurora vintage boutique said...

hi just wanted to say how brave this photo is my scar is just like this and i had scoliosis although mine got left too long :( had my scar opened up three times it will fade just takes time thanks for showing everyone that its not wrong to be different :)

monkey + pig said...

you are such a stunning girl!
i think it is amazing how you embraced your past, and used it to make it a part of who you are now
gorg dress btw!

talesofmonkeyandpig.blogspot.com

Sare Green said...

Hi ROz,
I was directed to your site by a friend of mine who saw your great post Silver Sighs and thought I would be interested as I also have scoliosis and had surgery to correct it. I think it's so cool to show your scar. I have never hidden mine and I think your dress showed it off beautifully.
Sare

honey hi said...

hey i just found your blog randomly and this post totally caught my eye because i have the same scar from scoliosis surgery and am always looking for cut out back dresses to show it - its hard to find many! ive even thought about altering a lot of my clothes because i love the way it looks. it was weird to come to terms with for a while but i do feel like exhibiting it is 'owning' it in a way - somehow it makes you feel like you have control over something that maybe you didnt have control over. you know? anyway its cool to see someone else with the same attitude about it.
xo
janine
honeyhivintage.blogspot.com

J. Ericson said...

Wow, you are very strong and brave. As the rest of us say, you stand out as an even stronger and more beautiful person.

EMWN said...

You are amazing. My scar is only 13 cm but I hide it. I was going to say that I hope I would someday be as brave as you are, but no. This is my new goal. Someday I WILL be as brave as you are. Thank you.