More Australian shopping spoils (taken while I still had a camera). Dying to wear this! Still a wee bit on the nippy side in London though. Will be perfect when it warms up to work the fifties prom dress vibe that will be all the rage come Spring following all those ultra feminine looks sent down the runway by the likes of Louis Vuitton and Dolce and Gabbana.
But I have to say I definitely prefer my vegetables on my plate than in my wardrobe. I'd just feel like I was wearing the contents of my kitchen counter wearing something like this. As a great lover of Italian food, I think the die-hard chef in me would always be itching to pour olive oil all over a dress covered with glistening aubergines, season it generously and stick it in the oven to roast.
Something about seeing vegetables depicted in print in all their ripe, raw and uncooked glory and I am instantly reminded of all the labour that goes into preparing vegetables for a meal rather than the sensual pleasure of eating them, of savouring a certain flavour, or enjoying the aroma of a favourite spice or herb. Instead the sensations conjured up are the interminable boredom of peeling skins, the monotony of chopping, the discomfort of the induced tears from slicing onions. I can even hear my mother in my head chiding me a child to eat up all my vegetables or face going to bed without dessert.
And my feminist skin may just break out in a rash wearing vegetable prints. What are Stefano and Domenico trying to say about women here? Some underlying message woven into the silk that runs between the tomatoes, courgettes and peppers whispers "woman's work" to me as it sashays down the runway, in the same way that seeing tea towels printed with kitsch depictions of vegetables and other kitchen counter items does. It's not that I think these print dresses look like tea towels, they just have the same psychological effect on me as seeing tea towels with their peculiar still life studies of domestic duties.
They stir up guilt ridden memories of my mother, grandmother and aunts, all of whom became housewives due to the social expectations of their generation rather than choice, all of whom owned such tea towels, and all of whom owned more tea towels than they ever did dresses or lipsticks. Tea towels that were always chosen carefully to be bright and jovial so as to bring cheer to the kitchen where they took pride of place, and where the women who bought them would spend the majority of their lives as wives and mothers. A family custom which, when I peruse my own vegetable printed tea towel collection, I am alarmed to realise I have perpetuated. In fact if Dolce and Gabbana released a kitsch range of tea towels in vibrant aubergine, tomato and onion prints, I'd probably be all over it!
I do however, love the womanly silhouette that a fifties style dress cuts on a woman's body with its nipped in waist and voluminous skirt. When it comes to dresses, I prefer prints with a lower calorie count and am particularly partial to florals. This modern take on a chintzy print caught my eye whilst wandering through a department store in Australia. I like the smudginess of it, somewhere between the pixelated blur of our electronic information age and old style painterly brushstrokes giving an Impressionist form to the buds and blooms. The metallic sheen of the fabric and shiny patent belt also adds a little edge to the old school fifties glamour. A modern take on femininity is a look I can do.
And as it's Mother's Day here in the UK my thoughts are with my own dear Mother, who doesn't know I blog, who to this day baffles me with her undying love of collecting kitsch tea towels, who instilled me with a love of food, cooking and clothes, who sacrificed her own dreams and goals so I could realise mine, and who gets a new dress or item of make up from me at every opportunity as gifts. One day, so help me God, they will outnumber the tea towels. When you grow up to reject the type of life your mother had to make a new one for yourself the guilt as her daughter can be palpable. There is the uncomfortable feeling that in rejecting the symbols of domestic life you associate with her oppression as a woman that you are somehow rejecting her. And yet those same symbols are regarded with strange affection as something that reminds you of her unconditional love.
So Happy Mother's Day Mum and to all you mothers out there. May life bring you all more dresses, lipsticks and flowers than vegetable print tea towels.
Digital floral print dress: Cue