Dress Diary #2: Pink Goes Wild
Updated: Oct 13, 2020
Picture Joan Jett, her eyes smoldering around the smoke of black eyeshadow, fringe spiky hair, a crumpled bandana and biker chain necklace hanging around her neck. Sounds hot, I know.
The cover of Joan Jett and the Blackhearts is significant in many ways. Beyond gritty music delivered by a zero-fucks-giving persona, is a blazer that's in your face, bright-smacking-hotter-than-hots-pink.
For a color that's become the epitome of womanhood, there's nothing subtle about pink when it goes wild. Pink may be the color of women, but like the waves of feminism, it can now do whatever the hell it pleases.
So today's dress diary is about all the ways pink is rude, crude, and lewd, making its debut to steal hearts, souls and a couple of beaus along the way.
Our first dress is something with a little sparkle, a little sex, and plenty of pink.
Meet Diane Freis, the sweetheart of the 80s, born in California and launched to fame in Hong Kong. Wild, outrageous styles, so classically vintage with large shoulders and drop waists, she's a hit for anyone with an old-bohemian-rocker-soul.
This particular Diane Freis dress is made from two layers, including a watercolor pattern of pink flowers on silk satin. Roses, lillies, daisies, painted in a soft ombre glow of silk chiffon, flow over the satin as a light over skirt.
The real eye catch is a bedazzled bustier with hundreds of beads and massive glass stones encrusted within sequins. It's loud, brazen, and absolutely beautiful. Because who doesn't want sparkly tits?
Pleated over the bust is silk gauze, matching the flowing layer of the skirt. The bustier is supported by cups, fully lined on the inside of the dress.
What makes this dress particularly special in the fact it was a sample dress, with the original tag written in both English and Chinese. This dress was never sold in a store or boutique, instead acquired by a collector. A little bit of vintage treasure in this one-of-a-kind dress.
Jumping from the realm of pastels we go to hot pink with our second piece.
The hottest pink on the block is a satin ballgown with black horsehair ribbon, snaking around the bodice into a massive bow, and crowned by a blooming flower.
This dress of 80s regalia is the work of none other than Bill Blass. He did everything, suits, jackets, dresses, jeans. And when he went wild, he created fever dreams of fantasy.
The construction of this dress is impressive, with a boned structural bodice, interfaced with linen for extra support and edged at the bottom with grossgrain.
Unfortunately the dress has some damage, including some alterations that were left unfinished. So this a project to either restore or to take it in the spirit of Bill Blass and do something totally different with it. Despite the problems, the design of this dress is just to wild to ignore, so bold, so 80s, with a hint of romance re-packaged as a modern 20th century full-bodied woman.
And its great because it's pink. It might not be a Joan Jett, but they call it a power pink for a reason. This dress gives you power, but you got to earn it. Like a wild stallion or mustang, you got to ride it, otherwise it'll ride you.
Winding down we come to our third and final dress. Something a bit more soft, a bit more delicate.
Silk chiffon, painted with watercolor irises, flowing in the wind like dancing petals. In bold colors of teal and bright pink, this pop aesthetic mixed with cool tranquility is the emblematic genius of Hanae Mori.
Mori is iconic. A trendsetter and visionary, she was the first Asian woman to be admitted as a designer as part of France's couture federation, exhibiting fashion shows in Paris and New York, and growing a business worth hundreds of millions. Often compared to her signature image of a butterfly, her work is a beautiful blend of East and West, traveling across continents towards creative genius.
This is the first Hanae Mori piece to the collection. Her pieces are hard to come by, but completely worth it.
This 1970s dress has an outer shell layer of chiffon, painted with flowers and sprawling leaves. Beneath the chiffon is a matching silk satin with the same print.
Much of the dress is hand sewn, from the hems to seam finishes, with gorgeous quality and attention to detail.
Unfortunately this dress has noticeable damage, tears throughout the chiffon and light staining. As far as what to do with the dress is still undecided. It could be kept as is, restored the best that it can be, or revamped in a totally different way.
Either way, this dress might not be a typical wild child, but Hanae Mori is a unique rebel in her own way. Never listening to convention, taking the risk, going all in, and using pink to do it.
So when you're going wild, make it a statement.
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