Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Bright Side

Sometimes a dress comes to us by someone we have never heard of.  Sometimes a dress comes to us unlike anything else we have ever seen.  Sometimes - and very often - a piece of vintage clothing  comes to us waiting to telling its story. 

I can confidently say that this is the very first time I have ever seen a dress with window blinds used  as a decorative element.  The client who owned this dress said that the designer, Mary Bright, had a store on the lower East Side of New York in the 1980s.  I was very curious about the designer who used actual window blinds on a dress and started a little research.  I was saddened to discover that she died quite young of lung cancer.  But I was fascinated to learn that she was educated at a convent in Edinburgh,  studied fine arts in London, millinery in Leeds and apprenticed at the house of Lanvin before relocating to New York to design hats and clothing before creating curtains from unorthodox and unexpected materials for Ellen Barkin, Calvin Klein, Rupert Murdoch, Lauren Bacall and the Museum of Modern Art. 

I have always coveted the idea of an extraordinary curtain since seeing a photograph of Mona Bismarck's dining room at  Il Fortino with its shimmering glass bead curtains.  The Mary Bright studio still exists and is run by her husband David Paskin and her former assistant Erik Bruce.  So I am contemplating a commission that will bring the sea inside at my Long Island home a la Il Fortino.  David Paskin said that they are the ones who can do it...  Every dress tells a story.

1980s Mary Bright 'Window Blind" Dress.  $950


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