Every Picture Tells a Story
I mentioned in the post on house-husbands that I have various skills and strangely one of them is dressmaking. Or it used to be, as I haven’t made anything in years.
But look at this picture of Celia, who in this blog I usually refer to as C, taken at a New Year’s Party in Venice probably in 2002 or 2003.
It looks like a strapless evening dress or a full skirt with a strapless top. It is neither.
The skirt was luxurious and there was an equally luxurious top to go with it. But when C bought the skirt from Beatrice von Tresckow, the top in her size was sold out, so they said they’d make one for her. Something went wrong and it didn’t fit.
So there we were in a five star hotel in Venice, an hour before the dinner and one of us had nothing to wear! And it wasn’t one of those parties, where she could have gone topless. I hasten to add that she never did outside of the confines of our bedroom.
Depending on where I tell this story, there are various versions. In some she’s in tears and in others she wants to go home, but the truth is probably that although she was upset, she trusted me to have an idea that would work. Her versions of the story used to have a lot of emotional actions, as aren’t most barristers frustrated actors?
She thought I was joking when I asked her for some safety pins. I found two in the dinner suit I was wearing and one in a good pair of trousers. All had been used to attach dry cleaning tickets and after that day, she never ever removed one. But she still referred to it as one of my lazy habits.
I then told her to remove the strapless bra she was wearing and replace it with a basque I knew she’d brought with her to wear under another dress, that was a bit tight and needed a bit of an extra squeeze to get into. She’d also brought it because it was New Year and she knew the extra layer added warmth. She also took the opportunity to change from tights to some stockings as a reward to me, which she said she’d remove, if I couldn’t make her respectable.
I then took the shawl that she had brought to wear with the top and skirt and wound it round her securing it with the safety pins. The hotel was warm, so the lack of a shawl wasn’t a problem.
The result is shown in the picture, which was actually taken after the dancing. So it held together without any problems.
I hasten to add, that wrapping the shawl round wasn’t my original idea, but was borrowed from a very old 1950s, TV Series, called Dick and the Duchess. In one episode, Hazel Court, who played the Duchess, got into a scrape as she often did, lost her clothes and ends up in a boiler suit. She then takes a taxi to her couturier, who was played by a very camp, Michael Medwin. To preserve her decency, he wraps her in expensive silk, tucks it all in and sends her home. He orders the boiler suit to be burnt. I never saw the errant top again.
If there is a moral to this story it is to never travel without safety pins! And steal ideas from out of context and old television shows.