The Red DressI always saw, I always said
If I were grown and free,
I'd have a gown of reddest red
As fine as you could see,
To wear out walking, sleek and slow,
Upon a Summer day,
And there'd be one to see me so
And flip the world away.
And he would be a gallant one,
With stars behind his eyes,
And hair like metal in the sun,
And lips too warm for lies.
I always saw us, gay and good,
High honored in the town.
Now I am grown to womanhood....
I have the silly gown.
- Dorothy Parker
Went into a nearby retro clothes shop on Tuesday on a whim: could this mad, dusty heap of junk yield a dress for me to marry in? I pointed at a clump of red and pink dresses hanging in the rafters and asked the shopkeeper to bring them down to me. He was as unconvinced as I was that any of the outrageous items he unhooked would fit me or even be wearable as some were really very old and in bad condition or blindingly hideous - or both. I took two from him that purported to be my size and I ducked behind a rack of fur coats to try them on (this was the changing room, I was told).
Without really looking at the dresses, I put the first one on. I walked out into the middle of the shop to the only full length mirror. I looked at the shopkeeper whose mouth was open in surprise. Just like mine. It fitted perfectly. I mean, perfectly. The colour was incredible. The condition was pristine. The cut, shape and style was magnificent and like nothing I have seen before. I was told that it has actually been seen before, in the late fifties / early sixties when this dress was first brought into the world. I tried on the next one.
I didn't feel the need to choose between them. I now have two wedding dresses. Three, if you count the unsuitable eBay purchase I made a month ago. And for those who have known me for a while, I was never going to marry without an interval and a costume change, was I?
Enough dress talk: I feel as if I have spent a ridiculous amount of time and mental, physical effort on the part of my wedding that interests and inspires me the least. Photos of the dresses pre-wedding by request only - email / call / text / Instant Message me if you're keen to see 'em, otherwise I'm going to leave the subject well alone and concentrate on the other details of the day.
Ideally, I would wear a smile and a very small pair of pants and improv dance my way across Hyde Park towards Taxloss who would be feeding ducks by the Serpentine while four cellists play something composed just that morning... we'd say our vows then mount our waiting horses and gallop around the park until we got to the exit opposite the Lanesborough Hotel where all our friends and family would be having dinner and preparing to dance on the roof. Our suite would have a balcony where we can watch the fireworks and would have a very prominent "Do Not Disturb" sign on the door.
And then I'd wake up...