Wardrobe as History


I just read a rather sad article by Jean Nathan in the December (US) Vogue about trying to discover who the woman was behind a blue tulle-and-sequin dress (as well as a collection of gorgeous dresses) on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Although the woman, Thelma Chrysler Foy, had been in Vogue in 1941, both the curator of the exhibit and the woman’s own granddaughter didn’t seem to know much about Foy. After some digging, it turns out that Foy was “a socialite of pluperfect taste, who amassed a matchless array of possessions as well as clothing,” and who perhaps was not entirely happy with her role. However, with her death in 1957 and the auctioning off of her grand possessions, Foy obviously quickly faded from public memory. As Nathan writes, “I had fantasized a perfect – and perfectly fulfilling – life for this sparkling swan. Perhaps she had fantasized the same for herself, and believed that dress – all the dresses – would get her there.”

This article makes me have four separate thoughts. First of all, I wonder whether fashion blogging is being used as or will become a direct/indirect instrument for some to ensure they and their possessions are remembered in posterity. Secondly, I do hope that I don’t ever think owning certain dresses/clothes will bring me fulfilling life (although they do help some days seem more fulfilling!). Thirdly, I wonder if anyone would want to find out who the person was that owned my clothes once I’m gone. And lastly, if I found some motivation and got my own label started, I’d love to have the tag inside each piece be a fabric version of an old-school library card, where one could sign and date each time they wore the piece, to provide a history for both the piece and the wearer. What do you think?
Photos via Bonzie’s Flickr of my 2nd ever purchase from Bonzie, a custom-ordered romantic and tattered bolero with “Memories…” embroidered on the right arm (above), to match my 1st ever purchase from Bonzie, a custom-ordered pair of tattered spats to wear over flats (below). Fitting, are they not?
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