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The Story Behind That Dress

Updated: Jul 4, 2019

I remember feeling over the moon about the first outfit I ever made – it was me, it was different, it was floaty yet cool – or so I thought at age 11! I kept that dress until I literally grew out of it.

This was the early 70s in Iran, where I grew up. I went to an international school that was very much a free thinking, independent and nurturing school where we were positively encouraged to think for ourselves – oh, and there was no uniform so we were free to dress as we pleased!

There was an amazing bazaar in the city where I lived. The Bazaar Vakil in Shiraz was, and presumably still is, famous for the array of goods it sold and it had fabrics galore. Completed in the 1700s, this is a vast domed edifice with courtyards, bath houses and tea shops - a fabulously sensual experience.

For the dress I made (pictured here) I knew I wanted something different. I didn’t want colours and, interestingly, I didn’t want anything very Persian. It also had to be short to match my recently shorn off hair that I had proudly chopped off myself!

It also had to have lots of movement – something I am still passionate about to this day.

I remember the fabric very clearly – it was different shades of grey on a white background and had a satin feel to it.  I am not sure why I decided, in my infinite childish wisdom, to add lace to the sleeves but there are some things we happily grow out of…

My mother had a Singer sewing machine that she taught me to use and, apart from the one time I stepped on a needle – it broke in my foot and we spent a long and very anxious time digging it out – I had many happy hours in the little room cutting, sewing and making clothes.

45 years on I still work in the same way and get the same amount of pleasure from the simplicity and purity of the creative process.


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