Monday, March 23, 2009

Oxenberg Wiggle dress (or my favourite winter dress)

My delicious friend Christina Oxenberg is an evangelist for luxurious garments made from the wool* of endangered & rare species: arctic musk ox, Patagonian guanacos, Andean suris (alpaca) and Bolivian llamas. Not only does she produce exquisite scarves, boleros & wraps made in Peru & in the US under her Oxenberg label, but some pretty fab cardigans jackets & dresses too.

When we first met a few years ago she invited me over to her Manhattan place to look and try on the collection but unfortunately my over size bosom meant that I couldn't fit into her dresses. Christina is not a stupid woman: she took that as a challenge to design a dress with me in mind. The code name for the dress was Stacked, but I think Wiggle is, well, subtler.

Because she's a perfectionist she took a while to get it exactly right. A lot of knit dresses have high necks which make big breasted girls look upholstered: this dress has a scoop low enough to show off the collarbones & a little cleavage but not so low that you flash half your breasts if you happen to be talking to a tall man.

The sleeves are that super flattering length that covers bingo wings. They fall lower than the curve of the breast so your top half doesn't look too wide, but are still short enough to show off slim forearms and wrists. Unlike many knit dresses, it isn't tight to the body, but gently skims curves, and falls in a gentle A line above the knee but below the thigh.

The material is Christina's own cashllama, supersoft but still hardwearing. It comes in grey as above and a natural, undyed espresso brown (below). I've worn it continuously this winter and it hasn't lost its shape, it also washes like a dream. Love, love, love. And how cool to have a dress designed expressly with one's own body shape in mind. (But what's so clever is that it works equally well on skinny minnies too.) (I don't have stockists, but do email for further information.)

* No animals are harmed - using these humanely harvested wools promotes the welfare of these animals.