Sunday, February 10, 2008

A life in my wardrobe

I am a woman of habit: when I find a dish I like to eat, I make it every day for a week. With outfits, the same. Since I have arrived back in America I have worn a navy washed silk Geren Ford blousy mini dress over grey tights , heavy grey knitted wool over the knee socks and chestnut brown round toe stack heeled boots with gold zippers. When I go out I wear a sand mini trench by Nicholas K over it all, with a brown satchel strapped across my body.

These clothes are not black, these clothes are not soignée. They are young in spirit, and they feel like me and my life in Manhattan. Hanging in my wardrobe, though, is a visible reproach, a reminder that there is another life of sophisticated dates, dinners and dancing with which I no longer engage.

There are rows of black clothing: elegant, complicated, expensive pieces for a life I no longer lead.

There is a rail of pencil skirts in butter soft leather, fishtailed taffeta, broderie anglaise, tweed, even rubber. An evening dress of floor sweeping chiffon hangs next to an abbreviated taffeta tunic, a pailette covered shift brushes up to a beribboned velvet cape. Evening bags in satin, feathers, brocade are lined up on the shelf, next to sequinned hats, and plumey fascinators. Thirty, forty pairs of heels stand to attention, shoes trees in, polished and waiting. There are no flats.

I work in fashion. It is a given that I use my clothes as a language to signify to others my status, my aspirations, my personality. But I work from home now. My Vogue House days are behind me. I don’t need these clothes any more. In part I have bought, and continue to buy for the woman that I used to be, the women with whom I used to work.

And now the pieces hang, unworn. Unless one is Dita von Teese, a pencil skirt in the evening is difficult to pull off; likewise I am unlikely to go dancing now in a floor length dress. A Chanel tweed skirt is not ideal on a bicycle, and if I turned up at a gig in a silk voile cocktail dress I'd feel out of place. Still, these pieces crossed the Atlantic with me; to have left them behind would have been to admit that my life has changed, that I am different now.