Monday, August 03, 2009

Silk Dress.

A few weeks ago, in a fit of optimism induced by bright sunlight, I bought a silk dress from Australia. It is made from a couple of recycled saris from India - a global masterpiece. It is designed a little like an apron: a waistband (or neckband) of one one cloth joined onto two layers of 'apron' - a lustrous brown and orange on top and a cream patterned with red below.

The thing about silk is that is glistens, and the reason it glistens is because each strand of silk is like a very long triangular prism which reflects the light and intensifies each pigment. It is like the water of a highly reflective lake, retaining the mirrored colours as it flows through the fingers.

I spent a good few hours playing with it - tying it this way and then that, strutting around, and generally dreaming of wearing it during the hot dry summer - as exotic and resplendent, I thought, as those parrots I saw once flying through trees in the Andes.

But instead, of course, the summer this year has turned out to be lush, green and wet. The air has been cool, and this silk dress has since been folded away like a dream I once had - a faintly ridiculous garment for this country of woollen cardigans, boots and long socks. But still, from time to time, when I read in the newspapers about silk pyjamas or tea dresses or evening gowns, I go to the drawer at the bottom of the wardrobe and look at it again. I run it through my fingers and hold it up to the light. It is my little piece of tropical weather; and a promise I have made myself to one day take it back to where it was made - and wear it in the sun.


Blogger Anne S said...

A lovely material is silk. i love the really old silk especially old chinese silk.

I was fortunate enough to discover a beautiful old cream silk scarf in an op shop many years ago. It has appliqued violets at both ends and luxurious fringes. I paid $3.00for it.

I also have an antique cream silk jacket with embroidered irises.

I remember that about 30 years ago you could buy beautiful hand stitched Japanese silk kimonos for next to nothing.

Tue Aug 04, 11:56:00 am  
Blogger Clare Dudman said...

I've just realised, Anne, that I bought the dress from Melbourne - from Matilda's Place. It sounds like Melbourne is full of wonderful exotic antique things. Your scarf and and jacket sound gorgeous - all that embroidery and applique must have been hours of work. It is so great not to waste this stuff...and I also like the idea that these clothes have a history. Sometimes I'd love to know what it is.

Tue Aug 04, 12:35:00 pm  
Blogger Anne S said...

How could I forget - I haven't stumbled across Matilda's, but there is a wonderful silk shop in Royal Arcade in the centre of the city. They sell reasonably priced silk shirts, jackets etc. and the designs are very attractive. Not antique though.

Tue Aug 04, 12:56:00 pm  
Blogger jem said...

Lovely piece of writing Clare. Maybe you are like one of those silk moths, you have to wait in your cardiganed cocoon, until you are ripe to emerge and fly in silky warm skies.

Tue Aug 04, 01:12:00 pm  
Blogger Clare Dudman said...

Heh - thanks for the tip Anne, now I'm just going to have to come to Melbourne on my 'world tour'.

Yes, Jem, 'cardigan' has such an unglamorous image, doesn't it? It looks a bit frumpy even if you're the first lady (IMO).

Tue Aug 04, 09:34:00 pm  
Anonymous Elissa said...

Wow!! Your silk dress is looking so nice!! Thanks for sharing this!!

Thu Aug 06, 12:48:00 pm  
Blogger Susanna said...

beautiful post,

Sun Aug 16, 06:06:00 pm  

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