I realized recently that I had never posted this here on the blog, despite that fact that this went onto the Shrimpton Couture cover some time ago. A few months back I received an email from Mrs. Lilien, asking me to help her with finding a dress. Of course I said yes and after several times on the phone and a flurry of email exchanges we settled on the silhouette and color.
I have to interject here that Mrs Lilien's first name is Kelly and ironically, on the phone she sounds like a voice twin of one of our favorite vintage loving girls - Kelly Framel of The Glamourai. I have to be completely honest and tell you that I spent the first 30 minutes on the phone with her shaking my head to clear the thought that I was talking to Kelly and not Kelly - you know what I mean. Thank goodness she seemed to be OK with me continually interjecting (like an idiot) mid-sentence "did you know that you sound just like...."
I was officially on the hunt! The dress had to be full length, bell skirted - not too full, not to lean, backless, halter, sexy but 1960s hostess chic, ruffles would be lovely and oh it had to be yellow (and could it be a yellow that matched my plans for the decor of the event) and wouldn't it be nice if it was a somewhat important relevant piece historically aka a well made, perhaps labeled piece?
You know, just the standard, detailed impossibly perfect dress for the occasion.
"No problem" I said and starting sending pictures from my reserve stock.
"Close, no, maybe, close, perhaps this with that......"
In other words a big fat none of these are right.
So out went the call to my buyers, collectors and the uber top secret, I-would-have-to-kill-you-if-I-told-you-who-they-are, sources. One of which was my long time collaborator, friend and in-shop boutique, fellow dealer, and one of my favorite people on the planet, David Sheflin. Who promptly laughed at me and my exact description
and implied that I was a little nutty but good-heartedly agreed to keep an eye open for me.
Two days later a picture pops up on my phone and it is THE dress. It is perfect. I know instantly that Kelly will e-squeal. Off goes the pictures and moments later a huge YES YES YES lands in my in-box.
David acquires the dress for me and posts it off to me immediately and when it arrives .....it's not so perfect. In shape and look yes, but this poor baby looks to have not been cleaned since the last time it was worn in ...oh 1966... and whoever wore it last, well let's just say they had a lot of fun in it and maybe did a few laps around the track in bare-feet judging from the hem.
Full force rescue goes into play. First off to my amazing and trusted cleaners who carefully and meticulously hand clean it and perform a few minor miracles that I still think involved witchcraft judging from the before and after. Next to the seamstress who I instruct to take the hem down and then re-stitch it 1/4 inch up. Kelly is tall so we had to keep the length as much as humanly possible but needed to "hide" that edge of grime that refused to budge. Also most of the hem where the original seam had been had also split horizontally along the edge, so minuscule stitches were put into place even though this was now inside the hem. This was done to keep it from doing further damage down the road and because I am a picky girl. My seamstress also went over all the seams as it had been woefully and poorly kept until the day that David found it and had sent it to me so my team could work their miracles on it! He had warned me that is might not be salvageable, but brave girl that I am I decided to risk it and that risk paid off!
The end result is of course is the picture above. That wonderful, glorious 1960s perfect shade of yellow Geoffrey Beene gown fit her like a glove. She looked and felt amazingly beautiful in it as she hosted the "Ultimate Dinner Party" for Town and Country Magazine! Click here to see the full article that appeared in the magazine and click here to see the video.
And can I just say that I think it highly and utterly unfair that one of my dresses met Simon Doonan before I have?
Thank you so much Kelly for allowing Shrimpton Couture to be a part of your fantastic evening!