Monday, 11 March 2019

The Tale of The Dream Dress



After swooning over the amazing cotton gauze clothes on display in the Anokhi Museum in Jaipur I knew that I couldn't rest until I'd hunted something similar down, the trouble is that vintage Indian dresses are increasingly rare, hugely sought after and those listed on eBay generally sell for £££s. One identical to the blue one above recently sold on Etsy for £425! Much as I love beautiful clothing, I like to be able to eat.



Idly scrolling through a local selling page yesterday I spotted a listing for a Beautiful Dress and, on closer inspection, couldn't believe my eyes. With its quilted floral bodice and indigo block print, it was remarkably similar to my dream dress but without the hefty price tag! I fired off a message enquiring as to whether the dress was still available, manically checking my inbox every ten minutes for a response. When the seller replied and told me that, yes, she'd still got it and I was welcome to come round on Monday and take a look, I danced around the house like a woman demented. I could hardly sleep for excitement.


 The dress was just as lovely as it looked in the photo and the best thing was I was able to get its back story. It had originally belonged to the seller's older sister who was an artist, she'd bought it from an Indian market stall in the mid-1970s and worn it throughout her art college days, complete with masses of jewellery and flowing blonde hair. When she'd tired of it she passed it on to her younger sister Joan (the lady selling it) who wore it to special occasions and parties for many years afterwards. Now in her mid-60s she'd decided that she was too old for it and while I don't think you're ever too old for fabulous clothes, I was reluctant to argue the point too much in case she changed her mind.Although she was really sad to see the dress go she was thrilled that it was going to get a new life with me - I was wearing one of my gauzy Indian dresses so she could see it was my thing.


As I handed over my cash, she folded it into a bag and kissed it goodbye and I promised to give it a life just as happy as the one it had experienced with both her and her sister.

Mayur means peacock in Hindi. Mayur were based in Jaipur and produced clothes until the early 1980s.



Believe it of not Joan lived in the next street! The dress I fell in love with in Jaipur had been living around the corner for over forty years...what are the chances? Even better was that I didn't have to sell a kidney to own it.



I got some brilliant responses to my Sunshine questions, Betty posted hers HERE. I thought I'd better share my answers.

1. Five well-known women (alive or dead) you'd invite over for dinner (or just meet in the pub)? I'd take Freda Kahlo, Cher, Iris Apfel, Queen Boadicea and Patti Smith to 'Spoons.

That's us at Wetherspoons
2. Woman you'd most like to swap places with for one day and why? Modesty Blaise, the 1960s female spy. Only for one day though, I'm not sure I could lead a double life for long.  



3. Which female actor would you pick to play you in a film about your life? Bollywood legend, H Bomb Helen. It made my day entire life when a hip young guy approached Jon when we were in Jaipur and told him that I looked just like her.



4. Is there a particular woman who influenced your style or inspired you somehow, and who is she? There's two, Mrs Jones a hippy teacher at my junior school in the '70s (read more about her HERE) and my Mum, who taught me that having a strong sense of individual style was far more important than having a pretty face, which explains why I've never given two hoots about the ageing process.



5. Whose wardrobe would you most like to steal? Talitha Getty's.

WEARING: Vintage 1970s Mayur dress, cobalt blue sock boots (Topshop sale, 2018), vintage wool felt hat & Indian silk scarf (charity shopped)

Lent's supposed about giving things up. With me it seems to be all about acquiring more old dresses, it's just as well I'm an Atheist or I'd never get to heaven.

See you soon.

Linking to Patti and the gang for Visible Monday.

66 comments:

  1. What a beautiful colour vix , It really suits you xxx

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  2. What a fab dress!
    How amazing it was so close to you all the while!
    Frida Kahlo is on my dinner party list too- hope she likes Indian food.
    xox

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    1. I bet Freda likes Indian food. Can I come, too? x

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  3. What a wonderful story for a fantastic dress.

    Suzanne
    http://www.suzannecarillo.com

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  4. That dress really was just waiting for you wasn't it! It's so like the one you saw and loved, it's uncanny.
    I liked the answers to those questions, I thought about them myself and found them harder than expected to answer. Not sure why I found it so difficult really but it made me think, narrowing it down to five for the pub was impossible and I'm not sure that anyone has influenced my style, which can be quite fluid! xxx

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    1. I struggled whittling it down to just five, there's loads of interesting and witty women I'd love to chat to. xxx

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  5. Once again, you rock it in blue - what a great dress, so glad it found a new home with you

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    1. Thanks, CC! I'm so glad I spotted it, I've never bought anything from that local selling site before! x

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  6. How amazing to have found your dream dress, living only a couple of streets away from you. It's all kinds of fabulous (love the colour, and the quilted bodice) and what's even better is that you know its story! xxx

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    1. Knowing the story makes all the difference - I can never part with it now! xxx

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  7. Oh dear, I've got your posts muddled and sort of responded to both under the 'Aint No Sunshine' one...the dress is beautiful as were your other dresses in the other post. Loved the detailed care advice. Why wouldn't you want to care for the garment after reading those instructions!

    xxxx

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    1. Easily done, I've been on a bit of a blogging roll lately! xxx

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  8. How fantastic you found your dream Indian dress! And to learn that it has been living across the street from you all this time. This blue dress is beautiful and its story makes it even more precious. The fact that it was worn and loved by two artistic sisters makes it extra special. I'm sure the lady who sold is happy that you'll wear and enjoy it, seeing that it is your thing. I think that when we sell our preloved items, what we really hope is someone who will treasure them. You do look amazing in this dress! The answers to the questions are very fun.

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    1. I emailed Joan a photo of me wearing it and she was thrilled to bits. xxx

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  9. beautiful dress, funny how things work out. I have next week off, which will give me lots of time to catch up looking at your India photos

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    1. Thank you! Long time, no hear. Hope all's well with you. x

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  10. Such a gorgeous dress and what a coincidence! It was meant to be yours.

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  11. Lovely dress which suit you so well. I hope you run into the previous owners around town when you are wearing it!

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    1. Thanks, Jan! I've sent her a photo. Hopefully our paths shall cross again! x

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  12. Heavenly dress! How lovely that you got the back story, I can empathise with the feeling of selling things on and hoping it has a good 'life'. X

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    1. Thanks, Jess! I'm always thrilled when one of my dresses sells at a vintage fair, I love meeting its new keeper! xxx

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  13. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    1. Spam - the only thing I dislike about blogging.

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  14. It was meant to be! What a stunning dress, good find. Acquisition is also featuring more here than any lent activities xx

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    1. Thank you! I can't believe I've finally found one that didn't cost mega bucks.
      I hope you're going to blog about your latest acquisitions! x

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  15. I felt very emotional reading about your beautiful find. It’s another chapter to add to your book and you must include the Q&A’s as well.
    I do love the tinternet but for me you can’t beat the feel and experience of a real book. Yours would be on the top of my wish list.
    There you go Vix - a direction for your creative hiatus xxx

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    1. You are kind! I think you should be the first with a book though, you're so good at everything! xxx

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  16. The world can truly be a small place when we find connections to things that bring us joy. It is wonderful that a well loved item moves into the hands of someone who will equally love it. Great find and story behind the story.

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  17. What a fantastic find and you look lovely in it.
    Hugs-x-

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  18. Great dress, and how lovely to know it's story.
    xx

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    1. Yes, knowing the history makes it all the more special! x

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  19. congrats to the dress! its very pretty and the story behind is just cool.
    can i come over to your party with this 5 fab women? ;-D
    xxxxx

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    1. Of course you should join us, it wouldn't be the same without you! xxx

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  20. It is so super that you have got that dress - the former owner knows it's gone where it will be loved, and you have what you'd hoped for.

    Not surprised to see Helen there! All hail Helen!

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    1. Hooray for Helen! I couldn't believe that young chap saying that to Jon, what a sweetie! xxx

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  21. Beautiful, Vix. And isn't just the best thing when you get the background story of a special find? And I bet the seller is happy to know it went to someone who will really treasure it. Enjoyed your Q&A. I'm still trying to narrow down in my head 5 famous women I'd like to have dinner with. Not as easy as I thought it would be!

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    1. It is hard trying to narrow it down to five - I'm glad I only specified famous women, too or it'd be even harder with all the fab bloggers I know! xxx

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  22. Dear Vix, I love your blog but don't normally comment ... But I have a confession to make -I had a red version of this beautiful dress - and wore it throughout my pregnancy with my twins ( born 1983) - the poor dress got worn thin over the bump ( which was huge) and did not survive! I have a feeling I was not the only one to do this - but we looked much prettier than we would have done in Mothercare smocks! Much love, C xx

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    1. Hello C! Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. I bet those gauzy Indian dresses were brilliant for pregnancy, much prettier and more flattering than the Dorothy Perkins polyester smock dresses which the girls I knew wore.
      I'd love a red version of the blue one! xxx

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  23. That is amazing!!!! How funny that it was so close to you geographically!!! It looks an absolute beauty and so you!x

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    1. Thanks, Kezzie! I feel like knocking on all my older neighbours' doors now and asking if they've got any vintage Indian dresses lurking in their wardrobes! xxx

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  24. How cool that the dress gets to stay in the neighbourhood! I think yours is nicer than the one in the museum.

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    1. Thanks, Goody! I still love the museum piece but I prefer spending £25 over £425 any day! xxx

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  25. Some things are just meant to be , this dress had just been waiting for you. I am quite sure the lady was thrilled to bits that the dress is going to a good home and will be loved and worn again. Love the history behind it.

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    1. Thanks, Jill! She was such a lovely lady and seemed genuinely delighted that I loved the dress as much as she did. xxx

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  26. As a teen, the biggest influence for me was my French teacher, Madame Sami. She had long mascared lashes, bright pink lippy and the biggest, chunkiest gold and diamond ring I have every seen. She asked me why did I wear glasses, and that I looked so beautiful without them. I then spent the next five years wandering helplessly around, bumping into everything, squinting at everyone, but heavily mascared. In the end, after trying contacts, I gave up and went back to wearing specs. Didn't do me any harm, but I always remember her and her 'advice'. She was a very stylish lady.

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    1. Madame Sami sounded like the kind of woman I'd have idolised, too. How daft of her to say such a thing about your glasses though, you poor thing! xxx

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  27. I love that you found the dress you were after, right in your own backyard (practically)! That's wonderful. Love your answers to your questions. What a dinner party that would be! Have you read "Just Kids" by Patti Smith? It's about her and Robert Maplethorpe - I LOVED it. Wonderful book.

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    1. Just Kids was absolutely wonderful, I loved it! I've seen Patti Smith play quite a few times and her genuine warmth shines like a beacon. xxx

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  28. What a gorgeous dress, Vix! I'm glad fate lead you to it. I confess that I'm now a bit obsessed with Indian block print too! X

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    1. Thanks, Denise!! Welcome to the block print obsessives club! I can waste hours drooling over it on eBay. xxx

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  29. Your dream dress is amazing (and the story of it)! I enjoyed reading your answers. Oddly enough, all the posts I opened today, after quite a while, had some sort of question/answer game going on - Beate's, Ann's, yours... must be something in the Spring air! I'd love Meryl Streep and Judi Dench playing me, and lots of women inspire and influence me, starting with my Mom and including yourself, but I can't think of anyone to swap places with, even for a day... :)

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    1. Hello stranger! Lovely to hear from you! Meryl Streep and Judi Dench are great choices, two wonderfully talented and truly inspiring women, just like you. xxx

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  30. This is such a lovely story - you got your dream dress,and the former owner was able to pass it on to someone who would love it as much as she and her sister did. Stories like these are partly why we love buying secondhand.

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    1. Thanks, Shelley! Yes, even if we never get to hear the backstory there's always a tale behind our secondhand buys. xxx

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  31. wowww, I'm so glad that you found this Fabulous Dress just around the corner and had it from a previous owner who wore it and enjoyed it!, clothes with stories to tell are my favorite ones!. And It Is A Fabulous Dress!! You look gorgeous in it!
    And lovely to read your answers and share your inspiration!. How fascinating are those 70's goddesses in their big hair and flowing psychedelic clothes!!
    My favourite influencers are quite assorted: from Kim Novak in 'Bell, book and candle'(1958), to Elvira Mistress of the Dark, Siouxie and Nina Hagen, but also Pippi Longstockings, Yootha Joyce as Mrs. Roper or Katherine Hepburn. All of them!!
    besos

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    1. There is a big hair theme going on there - I wonder why that happened!
      Your choices are brilliant, I love all of those women. xxx

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  32. Greetings! I've been reading your weblog for some
    time now and finally got the courage to go ahead and give you a shout out from Dallas Texas!

    Just wanted to mention keep up the great work!

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  33. You could certainly see your enthusiasm in the paintings you write.
    The world hopes for more passionate writers such as you who aren't afraid to say how they believe.
    Always go after your heart.

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Thank you for leaving a comment. If you have a blog I'll pop over and return the favour.

Lots of love, Vix