Friday, 25 October 2013

Dressed in Biba


As soon as I received this amazing Biba halterneck from my friend, Barbara in The Netherlands, I wanted to wear it. The monsoon-like conditions battering the UK this week aren't exactly suited to backless, cropped tops so I improvised and wore it over my very special maxi.


So what makes this particular dress so special? Easy, it signifies the day my life changed forever. 


I bought it from a jumble sale in March, 2010, the day before Jon & I were due to fly out to India for a month. As usual I'd been to say goodbye to my parents, excitedly telling Mum how I'd found the most amazing dress but she'd have to wait 'til I was back home before she saw it. 


It was the last conversation I was to ever have with her. 

Within a week of us arriving in Goa she'd collapsed with a suspected stroke, never to regain her speech. The hospital's initial diagnosis turned out to be wrong, Mum was terminally ill with pancreatic cancer and there was no hope of any recovery. At best, she had just a few weeks left. If things weren't bad enough the news coincided with the Icelandic volcanic ash cloud (which grounded all flights to and from Europe) and I couldn't get back to be with her. I was trapped in paradise.


When we finally got a flight back the first thing I did was stop off on the way to the hospital and change into the dress before taking my place at Mum's bedside. She couldn't speak but I knew she loved it as much as I did. During those last few days I tried to wear something equally spectacular for every visit. Appearance was always hugely important to Mum. I plaited her hair, painted her nails and dressed her in the tie-dyed caftans and embroidered house dresses I'd spent my time searching Goa for whilst grounded. Despite the sad memories, putting this dress on never fails to make me happy, it's optimism in polyester form.


Bloody hell, hope that wasn't too depressing a read. 
 Let's have a look at this week's charity shop finds for a bit of light hearted entertainment, shall we?


Clockwise from top left: 1960s Dhobi overcoat, hipster-tastic 1980s snow-wash shirt, 1950s duster coat, 1980s coat dress (I used to think I was Jerry Hall in mine back in the day), 1980s Chelsea Girl coat, Shubette of London leopard midi dress, 1970s cord tote, 1960s fake fur coat, West German-made 1980s jacket, 1970s donkey jacket, 1970s Colony of Hong Kong tartan shirt, 1980s crushed velvet mini, 1970s St Michael belted cardi, 1960s Rembrandt silk cocktail dress, Charlotte Halton 1980s backless velvet skater dress


The grooviest yoghurt maker ever. It's been working it's magic since 7am and should be ready for an afternoon snack before the pub.


Foreign-made Kitscherama for Sunday's fair.

Biba lurex halterneck worn with 1960s psychedelic maxi (20p, church jumble sale) and Lamani gypsy choker (India)
You'd think that being trapped in paradise might have dented my love for India but no, I still adore it. Only sixty-six days to go until my 22nd visit.

Have a fab weekend and see you on the other side!

87 comments:

  1. What a heart-wrenching story. I'm sorry that you experienced such sadness. I can only imagine how your mother was cheered by this dress, it's a beauty.
    The Biba halter is a treasure. Barbara is a good friend indeed.
    Those baby-faced animals are kinda creepy.

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  2. I am so touched, and so with you, my dear Vix.
    Looking good makes even the most terrible things in life we have to face less frightening.
    It is like you are looking them in the eye showing them your inner power. The power that never dies.
    Love and plenty sunshine always.
    XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

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  3. Well, I have to admit that this was a sad story and I shead a tear reading about your mother ...that dress is very beautiful and the fact that it brings those memories with it makes it very important! This is also the secret that makes our clothes special, they means a lot more than an empty new dress from a boutique. All my love xxxxxxx

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  4. I'm touched by your story, I'm sure your mum appreciated your efforts x It's a lovely dress and I'm glad it has good memories for you. The halter neck is fab. The yoghurt maker is great - the most stylish kitchen gadget I've seen!

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  5. Thanks for sharing. How lovely you made your Mum's last days on earth by keeping her the way she would have had she been able.

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  6. Vix, that is such a moving story about your mom - I am sure she had the happiest last days possible, thanks to her beautiful, caring, thoughtful daughter.

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  7. A story full of love .... so great to be able to do that for your mum.
    Love the look ! Hope your yougurt was superb and tha your weekend will rock !
    xxx

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  8. Muy bonito el top!!!
    Besos

    http://judithbysucre.blogspot.com.es

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  9. Oh Vix, that is such a sad story. I can only imagine your utter frustration and desperation at being trapped and unable to get back to spend as much precious time with your mum as possible.
    But you are right to see that gorgeous dress as optimistic - it represents you and Jenni's shared love of clothes, clothes with flair and drama and individuality. And more importantly, a shared love and strong bond. I am sure she will have appreciated everything you did to help her at the end of her life. She must have been so relieved to see you, when you finally rocked up at the hospital looking bloody amazing!
    I don't think talking about death is depressing - it just is, it's a fact of all of our lives.
    Great chazzing haul, that is one funky yoghurt maker (remember my sister having one in the 70s) and the Biba top is a sparkly beauty. Like you!
    Now, remember there's Nottingham to look forward to before you head for Goa, love! Got any lipstick stamps on your passport, like Jason?! ooh, cheeky! xxxxxxx

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  10. Oh my dear Vix ... this is so sad. For it to all have happened so suddenly and while you were away must have been extremely hard for you. I shed a tear for you and your family this morning and then cheered you on, wearing the dress that makes you happy and optimistic.

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  11. What a sad story about your mom! I can imagine how terrible it was to be trapped in India while you knew your mom was in hospital. And it is great that the dress brings you not only sad memories but optimism too.

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  12. Such a deeply touching story, Vix, and well told as alway. Thank you for sharing this memory of your mother and this turbulent time in your life. How wonderful that you could finally be with your mom on her last days and share your love of beautiful things. It is indeed a fabulous dress.

    So happy to hear that you are on your way to India once again. :)

    xxx

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  13. Wow love the Biba halterneck and how well styled (that is not to be read with a patronising voice!!)
    The YOGURTmaker my mum had one of those, exactly the same!!! Can't wait to show her the pic
    xxx

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  14. so great that you are an optimistic person Vix. I am sure your mom appreciated you so much, being who you are. Beautiful , free spirited, wonderful woman , with her own style and flare.

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  15. I'm sure that the sight of that dress must have lifted her spirits; it's lovely!

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  16. What a terribly tragic sad story. I'm happy you can still put the dress on and have positive memories.

    It is a gorgeous dress.

    bisous
    Suzanne

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  17. what a touching post! i have to be honest, tears were running down my cheeks, when i read your words ...
    the biba dress is just wonderfull!
    i always try to dress up as much as i can, when i visit my granny. for her old age her health is quite ok - but she is a little tired of living (sad but true ... the story behind that is too long to tell here). everytime i go see her i wear 50s and 40s pieces, and i mix in the pieces she handed down to me. i know it makes her happy and she loves to talk about fashion and wearing extraordinary clothes - what she always did. it's hard to me to live so far from her now ...

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  18. Oh amor, in a special way you made India a remembrance to your Mama.. such a lovely touching story. She must be gliming of enjoy with all your splendour of frocks you own.

    loving that fab yogurt maker.

    Besotes

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  19. I'm not sure depressing is the right word, it's reduced me to tears but I think that's because the central message, about your and your mum's relationship, is so poignant. What you did to try to make her last few days better and the fact that you understood her well enough to do the right things is what is so touching.

    As someone else said, I bet she was thrilled to see her beautiful, colourful, individual, intelligent daughter rock up on the ward.

    Now then, this dress. It IS special and it looks fab with that sparkly biba backless number. I don't think I have any emotional strength left to talk about yoghurt makers but I will be interested in the results! xxxxxxx

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  20. Oh Vix yesterday when you shared this story with me I was so well blown away by it. It's easy to forget when you are dealing with your own grief that we all have similar stories of sadness and loss. This dress is a real gem and I'm sure it brightened up your Mums day. I can picture you next to her doing her nails and I think it's beautiful! Thanks again for sharing such a personal story, just one of a million reasons I love you!

    Now what is this yogurt maker? I have never seen such a thing! I want a full report, what's in it and how it tasted! I love all your recent scores but the dog with headphones on that cup and saucer is too dam cute! Good luck on Sunday and please give the gang a big huge what up from Chris and I.
    Stay gorgeous love youXxxxxxxxxxxxx

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  21. That's an absolute gem of a dress to remember your mum by(love the style,hues everything; simply Devine!

    X

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  22. what a moving story, Vix, and I can see how it would make this dress so special to you. xox

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  23. How wonderful that you manage to have fond memories of the dress despite the sadness it's associated with. It's funny how certain outfits can trigger so many memories.
    If appearance was important to your mum she'd be so proud of you now.
    Have a lovely weekend! xxx

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  24. You're my style Guru Vix! Love every damn thing you wear! You look stupendous!
    I see some people have said what a tragic/sad story - but to me, not so much sad, but poignant. To me, the greatest part of that was you were there in the end. When my Mama was ill, the thing I wanted above anything else (beside a miraculous recovery) was that I was there at the end and she could know how much I love, adore & treasure her - and thats exactly what I got; and it's what you got. My Mama taught me some of the same things yours did by the sounds of it - individuality, style your own way & your own rules/ethics etc and that's a priceless gift we carry with us forever. Thank heavens for Mum's like Ours :-)

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  25. dear lady, you've been particularly touching this time and I feel grateful because you're sharing your 'optimism in polyester form'!!, such an awesome description for a pretty dress!, and I'm so glad you still love India!, you always cheer up the day!
    Fabulous finds, fabulous you and wish you a nice weekend!
    besos

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  26. Far from depressing.......I find hearing how you performed your Moms daily tasks for her just as she would like them done to be beautiful.

    Clever you to find a way to wear that backless top! Looks great!!

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  27. Vix,

    How sad and so sorry about how you lost your mum. It is a beautiful dress and it is great that you see it as a positive. That it gave some joy to your mum in her last days.

    You paint such a picture of your mum you keep her alive in your words and how you re-tell her story. It is the best way to honour those that we have lost. It keeps them close to us and I don't think that could ever be depressing. Your mum sounded like such an interesting person.

    I am currently addicted to a book called Witch Light at the moment. It is a historical novel but with fictional twist. One of the quotes in there is "Lives mean far more than deaths ever do". It seemed such an apt quote for this post. And so true too.

    Good luck with the fair at the weekend. The countdown to India begins......

    P x

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  28. Hi there-how lovely that you shared this with everyone, I bet your mum was so proud of you and you certainly look wonderful in this dress. Have a good weekend xxx

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  29. I was in fact following you in another account in 2010 but still you made me cry and laugh in the same post. Thankyou Vix X

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  30. Depressing? No. Bittersweet. Yes I'm an old sap and cried at both the pain of you & your mother going through this, but the joy you must've brought her along with your amazing bond cancels out all the bad stuff. Thank you for sharing what must've been very hard to write with us. And for sharing your fabulous outfit that only you could pull off with such panache! Now how is the yoghurt? I recall those from the 70s, was always curious as to how it tastes. Full report please! XXX

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  31. That story touched me I am sorry to hear it but you positivity shined through. I love your biba lurex beauty! :)

    http://hayleythrills.blogspot.com
    http://www.youtube.com/users/hayleythrills

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  32. Its funny how memories come back to us through objects. Love the dress.
    Liz

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  33. Vix, this made me very sad because it reminded me of the last conversation I had with my mum. It was also over the phone and the next day she had a massive stroke and never woke up again. It's good to have little things like a beautiful dress to make the sad parts of our lives a little bit brighter.
    Hugs x

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  34. no, not depressing, a beautiful dress that you and your Mum shared a memory of, I'm sorry you have lost her, she sounded like a wonderful woman -
    the yoghurt maker is truly fab and you look divine in your dress/halter combo and the chazza shop finds are fab! I will forever be drawn to animal print and faux fur x x have a lovely weekend x x

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  35. So touched by your story Vix -
    It must have been so hard for you and your poor dear mother
    Fabulous finds at the chazza shops!
    I just came back from one great charity shop treasure hunt!

    Have a good weekend

    Arianexo

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  36. That must have been so awful for you,I'm glad you got the chance to show your mum the dress and to be with her in her final days xx

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  37. That's a lovely (and sad) story about you and your mum. It's amazing how an outfit bring back such strong memories.

    Totes jealous of that yoghurt maker!
    x

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  38. That story made me feel so sad, Vix! But what a lovely thing that you were able to be with her and spend time brightening her days at the end. It must have been horrendous not being able to get back. But I am glad you made it in the end. That dress is wonderful and so cheerful. My brother is off out to India for the first time in November, he can't wait! Loads of love xxxxxx

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  39. I didn't find your story depressing at all. I found it to be very sweet, uplifting and it touched my heart. What a wonderful daughter you are to cherish and treat your mum so well. I admiration for you has grown even more!

    Oh, lovely dress!!!!
    xo
    d

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  40. Vix, you are never depressing - this post is very poignant and I have tears in my eyes as I type this. I am so glad you got back home to see your Mum and spend time with her. The dress and haltertop are beautiful, as are you. xx

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  41. If I didn't admire you before I do even more so now anyone else would have probably binned that dress rather than turned it into a happy memory. Also a reminder to make the most of the time you have. x

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  42. Aw, Vix...a tough loss it is...losing a loved one to pancreatic cancer. It's not a gentle illness in any way. It sounds as though your Mum didn't suffer long, and for you to have been able to be there before she passed is a relief to read.

    I imagine that India's energy is a strong pull for you, and I'm happy that it continues to inspire!

    PS Happy to see orange kit in da house. Very rare to have a female orange cat, so she is indeed special!

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  43. So cool, "Biba" is my nickname! I don't have any of their clothes but it would be rather amusing, wouldn't it?

    Enjoy your trip :)

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  44. It's a sad story ... but in an optimistic way ... not depressing. Now had the experience turned you off India and made you dress in nothing but black forever more ... then it would have been depressing.
    xx

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  45. beautiful story, you and your Mom had a sweet bond.


    My yogurt maker is boring old white. Was everything just more colorful in the 70's? I have a coffee/spice grinder that's bright orange.

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  46. A beautiful dress and a beautiful memory xx

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  47. Aaaah, Vix. What a sweet, poignent story. My mum died of pancreatic cancer too. I was visiting England at the time and didn't know how serious it was til I was back in Canada.

    My mum was always big on dressing well too. Although she would never get as many chances to wear things as she would have liked, and would never have dreamt of dressing up for no particular reason. Actually, I cottoned on to that notion rather late in life myself --partially due to your influence!

    Much love from Rosemary of
    www.foreveronthecatwalkoflife.blogspot.com

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  48. What a sad time it must of been for you but a beautiful way to show your love for her Vix.

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  49. Hi Vix, this is my first time commenting, but I must admit that I absolutely adore your blog and you are truly one of my style inspirations. You even introduced me to Helga's fabulous blog too!
    I love that dress and have noticed it in other posts, I'm so glad you shared that story with us all. I'm sure your mother really appreciated your love and effort, I think we all love hearing about stories of you and your mother, they're so sweet, even though this one was a little sad. Keep on being fabulous, Love Jess :)

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  50. What a gorgeous thing you did for your mum ♥ She sounds like a great lady.

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  51. Wow - thanks for sharing that story Vix, I can see why that dress is so special to you. Also you may have found the grooviest yoghurt maker in the WORLD!!

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  52. I really enjoyed today's blog. What a beautiful selfless act you did for your mom. She was blessed to have such a thoughtful daughter. :-)

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  53. I loved this post, my dear Vix!!! What a story...sadness and vicious trials are always around the corner in our lives it seems. It's how we face them is what cunts the most! Your mom instilled such great abilities in you!!

    Much love to you and take care,
    Masha

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  54. So glad you got to show the dress to your mum and spend some precious time with her. It is a spectacular Frock!!

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  55. Your story reminds me of my own. When my Mum was in hospital in the last stages of cancer, the nurses put brightly coloured sheets on the bed instead of plain white ones. I'm sure it brightened up her last days. Clothing (I use the term loosely) has such an emotional impact.

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  56. So glad your mum got to see the dress, and that you got back in time to see your mum. Love the yoghurt maker, so cute

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  57. I didn't find this depressing at all but so touching because it shows the wonderful connection you 2 had and how you were able to bring light into her last days...

    On a side note - the Biba top and polyester dress dream are made for each other! xxx

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  58. what a delightful way to celebrate your mum.......and your bed is truly a thing of beauty!!x

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  59. Such a special story and memory you have of your mum. i hope seeing you dressed up made those last few days easier for her and for you. Music plays a huge part in my own memories, but i guess clothing is a great reminder for you which is so great!

    I'd love to own a piece of Biba, such a good idea to match it with your dress! Id probably do something similar, not being comfortable with baring my belly and all.

    India seems so exciting! Im counting down with you!

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  60. No wonder you feel such joy when you wear that dress.
    You did everything a daughter could have done.
    I hope that when the time comes my daughter will know that hair, clothes and the love of a family are all that matters.

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  61. YOu always have such an admirable outlook on your Mums last days, she must have been so fabulous. I hope she is looking down on your success now, I bet she is.xxxxxxxxxxxx

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  62. P.S. success meaning, living the life you want to live & thoroughly enjoying it.

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  63. It's amazing how clothing carry so many stories of our families and experiences. I have so many clothes like that tucked away, things mum had made for herself things she made for us, pieces I may never wear myself but will always treasure.

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  64. Thank you, Vix, for reminding us how important color and beauty is to those confined to a bed! Parkinson's Disease confined my mother to a bed in her last years; however, it did not limit her enjoyment of matching headbands and caftans, nail polish and a new hair-do! I cherish a memory of visiting her in hospital, a tiny lady peering over the edge of the sheets, eyeing my gray roots..."They don't bother me, Mom." "Well, they bother ME...
    "

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  65. A lovely and touching story, darling. Not depressing at all. Small wonder that gorgeous frock makes you happy.
    That is the best yoghurt maker ever.
    Have a wonderful weekend, flower.
    xxxxxxx

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  66. Thank you for writing such a beautiful post, Vix. I am so glad that when you got back from being stranded, you made your Mum happy with colour and patterns, and love xxXX

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  67. dang, what a tear jerker!! I'm still sitting here with a pout on my face from reading this post. You're so amazing, lady. You really are.

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  68. darn it, you brought tears to my eyes! what a gut wrenching time! you are such a beautiful soul...it oozed through your words my darling! xxx

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  69. I have a tear after reading your story. Anything about Mums and cancer does that to me, still too soon I suppose. So sorry to hear you were stranded in India when you got the news about your mum, can't imagine how that must have been. Sounds like you were a brilliant, caring and loving daughter. The dress is gorgeous, glad you can still wear it.
    xxxxxxxxx

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  70. To have lost someone as irreplacable as a mother....

    Words cannot describe what you must have gone through, yet still, you shine with happiness.

    You truly are an inspiration.

    I feel honoured to have made your acquaintance, even if it is just through my computer screen :)

    Sending you hugs xx

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  71. What a sad and lovely story, stupid volcano, it could've had a much sadder ending, I'm so happy you got to say a proper goodbye. oh and now an awkward change to your purchases... the dress of course is wonderful, I love the dog with hi-fi, it's really quite strange... and I have the standing deerbunnychild too. xxxxxx

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  72. This brought a tear to my eyes. What a sweet memory. The dress and halter are fabulous and you look gorgeous as always!

    You got some awesome goodies!!!

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  73. what a sad, but also strangely happy story!

    Love the biba dress.

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  74. This was a very moving read Vix, I remember the terrible volacano ash catastrophe and how it affected so many people trying to get back to loved ones. I ended up missing my grandfather's funeral in Oz. I think your mother would have appreciated the care you took of her and her appearance in her final days, what a lovely thing to do for her. Big hugs to you xx

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  75. I'm really glad your Mum's final days were filled with so much love and beauty. Your dress is beautiful and the top is beyond fabulous - love it all and I NEED that yoghurt maker! xx

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  76. I'm sure your mum appreciated you wearing the dress when you visited her and the other outfits you wore.

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  77. That's a truly beautiful story about your mom.

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  78. Such a touching and moving story Vix xx

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  79. You're so effervescent and fun, I would never guess you'd been through something so upsetting <3

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  80. although the story of your mom's illness is sad it is also uplifting that you made it back to lavish her with your love and kindness. xo

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  81. really love that post, really lovely how clothes are able to give us power and stength during hard times, isn't it? I have a similar poost about that topic on my blog, too. Love, Romy xx

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  82. I can't imagine how frustrating it must have been to be trapped and unable to get to your Mum's side at a time when she needed you. The story illustrates the importance of leaving those you love with kind words because you truly never know if it will be your last conversation. Your time spent with her doing her nails and her hair, and making sure she was dressed up was very important to both of you.

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  83. Gawd, its gloriously sad like a Thomas Hardy novel...the agony and the ecstasy......your Mama would have been foaming at the mouth over that divoon frock, and feck me she must be proud of your fabularseness! She thrust a fine, amazing and uber glam wench onto the world, and I thank her for that!
    Love Helga xxxXXXxxx

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  84. This was very touching - not depressing. How wonderful of you to take such good care of her in her last days and bring her such joy with the things that mattered to her - a sign of true love. x

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  85. Oh Vix, that is sad but lovely that you finally got home to be with her in her last days. It is so shockingly hard to lose a parent. Your Mum sounds like she was an amazing woman as you are. xxx

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  86. I've just read this post Vix and I think it is sad but also the image of you sitting painting your mum's nails and doing her hair for her is a lovely one, she must have felt very loved, and very proud of what a fantastic woman she'd raised in you. It must have been awful being trapped so far away though, and such a relief to get home . I thi n k we all h ave a picture of your mum as a great lady herself from all the little stories you've told us about her. xx

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