The ache in his bones keep reminding him of his deadline. Expiration. End. There must be more synonyms, but none merrier. Only when he counts his legacies does he realize how little of a scratch he made in the earth: his only son, his granddaughters, the remaining dresses he conjured up so carefully with his very hands, just waiting for its destined owner, and a record containing all notes and designs from a lifetime.
Rows of wrinkles furrow on his forehead more intensely as he counts on his gnarled fingers. His name will vanish as soon as the fourth generation, which troubles him from time to time, but he puts on a smile for the day.
All good comes from within.
If he has any last words, now is surely the time. Indeed, he has lots to say. Things worth remembering. He leafs through a faded notebook to a fresh page and jots down the date, and the following..
My life of eighty seven years had told me one sure thing:
There is no beautiful dress.
Or I should say, there is no most beautiful dress? All dresses are equally beautiful?
When I was young as spring, a dress of shimmering satin drapes, trailing fancy cuts, and flashing lined studs would have earned my fullest admiration. Not that it is a bad dress, although such dashing attire is bound to outshine the wearer if she cannot tame it with enough composure. Similar goes with a plain dress. She must either be engaging enough to make life from nothingness, or innocent enough to paint a clear purity.
Instead of beautiful, a more harmonious dress.
I have seen too many women hiding behind pretty dresses, thinking that it can erase their flaws. Pretty dresses those were, erase their flaws it did, but the dress erased her from the whole picture! It is difficult to see her as a person instead of a dress, for the sight of her does makes me think: dress. That is not the way it should work. Thank God, Lou knew how to pick her dresses. I fell in love with Lou, not Lou’s dress; otherwise, our marriage would have torn immediately at the seams.
The truth, I find, is more pleasing than conventional belief:
Every girl can bloom in a dress, provided the right one.
All good comes from within. Isn’t that so?
More people need to realize that. The eyes of little girls sparkle at dresses in glass cases while their perfect dresses are hanging somewhere in the corner. All designs are worth displaying in a glass case. At least those poor fools are not as silly as those women whose eyes glitter at price tags (pffft). The dress does not mask the wearer with beauty; it highlights her beauty. Know the difference.
Every girl is naturally beautiful, and a dress helps us see that. Isn’t that great to hear?
So what makes a harmonious dress, if there is no beautiful dress? It depends on the match with the wearer, and the occasion on which the dress is to be donned. Take, for example, my three granddaughters going to a ball:
Louie is not adventurous in style but rather conscious of shining too brightly, so it will make her more comfortable in a modest, lightly ornamented design. Although she tends to shy away from fancy flourishes, she deserves unmatched elegance for her obedience at duty of being the eldest. Her sacrificial nature gave her a slim body, which goes well with the narrow grace. A thin sash running from shoulder to belt to hem will make her thin form prominent. After all, Louie does appreciate a little praise, even if she denies it.
There is warmth in her slightly tanned skin and auburn hair, so a cool colour theme should bring out that feature. Maybe blue, the hue of meandering rivers and lapping waves. Louie can make her choice as it can be anything between green and purple.
Nissa is the complete opposite to Louie in fashion taste, having gone as far as to dye her hair jet black against her pale complexion. She is the sort to dabble with some makeup, or even get a couple piercings if no one stopped her. It will no doubt disappoint her if I do not design her something daring, say, a combination of hood, crop top, and dress. Some drooping sleeves and billowy hem should give the dress a cloak-ish look and hopefully blend the components together more smoothly. Nissa is proud of being a “freak”, so it should suit her well to garb her in her nature.
Being so bold and often headstrong, Nissa’s trademark pattern is the criss cross. A couple trims of asymmetric crosses set against dark velvet should do. She may even have a couple studs on her dress, if she may not have them in her flesh.
May is something else altogether. She loves to stay active but also appear mature like her sisters. At the moment, she does not have much at the bust and plenty at the waist, so the reveal should be at the shoulder, and only one for now, until she is older. To give her the convenience of movement, the front hem might be of knee length and the rear hem of a swallow’s tail to fit her swift movements. A tangy orange goes well with her youth and energy, trimmed with a complementary blue or green. And butterflies. May loves butterflies..
This is the way of dressmaking I have acquired over my eighty seven years. Even so, there is one more point that cannot be missed:
Do not work on a dress with distress, but with optimism.
For all good comes from within.
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