Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Some Woman

I pulled a dress out of the back of a closet recently, a dress which I had purchased and worn - a lot! - 26 years ago. I know the age of the dress because it coincides with the birth of my son, and I've never been able to part with it, even though its oversize shape and very long length became dated, (think Diane Keaton in "Baby Boom") thus relegating the dress to the back of the closet. And now, due to the changing winds of fashion and time, the dress seemed possible again and I welcomed it back to the fold.

Since the designer of this dress, Joan Vass, had been so influential to my thinking about how designers should approach dressing busy working women, I decided to Google her, only to learn that Ms. Vass had died earlier this year at the age of 85. From the Times' obituary comes a statement of her fresh approach to design, one which would become commonplace a few decades later, but was so radical in the 70's. " When everyone was wearing Pucci’s psychedelic prints, she wore black. In her collections, she favored classic shapes, and repeated them frequently. “If you like them, why shouldn’t you be able to go back to a store to replace them, so we make everything forever,” she said in 1979 in The Washington Post."

From what I read, I think I would have like her, though her tongue sounds wicked. From what I am wearing today, I know I certainly like her aesthetic and approach. To be committed to a unique vision outside the norm of fashion is a hard road for a designer, and yet so many women have no interest in trend, just in looking and feeling fabulous. Thanks, Joan Vass, for paving the way.

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