Winter is definitely coming in New Zealand. My summer frocks are getting pushed further and further to the back of my wardrobe, and merino socks and cardigans have made an appearance. Daylight savings is over, and it’s dusk when I head out to teach night classes. It’s rained for the last three days.
It’s all feeling quite grey and gloomy and sad.
Which is why it’s good, if slightly impractical, that I just finished the happiest, warmest, sunniest, summeriest dress that you could possibly imagine: a version of the Vionnet Chiton dress (make your own using my article in Threads issue #177) in aureolin yellow silk crepe de chine:
I’ve wanted a yellow Chiton dress ever since I made the Katherine Mansfield inspired Chiton dress for ‘When I Was a Bird’, and didn’t make a dress for ‘In the Rangitaki Valley‘.
Now I have a dress that really is ‘the yellow mantle of summer’ – I’ll just have to wait for summer to come back again so I can stand ‘breast high in the broom’!
The fabric for this dress came from Global-that-Was. I drooled over it for weeks (saturated yellow silk crepe de chine! Be still my heart!) before taking the leap and buying it, because I knew I’d regret it forever if I didn’t.
Sylko, quite unusually for them, simply calls this colour ‘Yellow’. Based on their normal colour naming, I would have expected ‘Marigold Yellow’ or ‘Brilliant Daffodil’ or ‘Pure Sunshine’, but nope: yellow. The fabric, I’ve decided, is actually just a bit darker than plain old yellow, so is aureolin.
Don’t you just love colour names? All the delicious possibilities? Who else can remember that most wonderful of childhood moments: getting not just the 64, or 96 crayola crayon box, but the entire 120 set! Oh, the happiness! (and the smug satisfaction of showing it off at school)
And then the continued joy of carefully arranging it into perfect order…
Even better was getting Windsor & Newton watercolours as a teenager, with Cerulean and Prussian Blue, Burnt Umber, and, of course, Aureolin.
Because the weather is packing in, I haven’t managed to wear this dress (though it almost made it to a Pokey Lafarge concert before I came to my senses and realised that debuting it at a venue where it might get a beer or wine spilled all over it probably wasn’t the brightest – as it was the only thing I got on me was Pokey sweat. Yay? Ewww?)
It’s not been out, but I photographed it in the entry with the front door open, so you do get a bit of Wellington wind effect in the photos:
Though the dress is a 1920 design, which makes it immediately post-WWI, I’m not counting this as a HSF make for the ‘War & Peace’ challenge (or any other).
Well, the pattern is period, the construction is period, the fabric weave and content are period perfect, but the colour is not. Bright yellow was a popular ’20s colour, but not until the mid 1920s. Vionnet’s actual design was black, and it is extremely unlikely that a version of this dress was ever made in this shade.
So while the dress is period in many respects, for me it fails the most important test: would it be ‘normal’ in period? And I just don’t think it would.
But, normal or not, I think it’s fabulous, and I’m going to have so much fun wearing it!
Once it gets warmer…
Or maybe just over leggings 😉