By now, everyone’s seen these fantastic photos from Margherita Missoni’s wedding. Over a year later, I’m still struck by the beauty and whimsy of it all. At first glance, I remember feeling disappointed by her dress. It seemed dated, frumpy. Old, not in a classic way, but in 1980s Princess Bride kind of way. Old, like my mother’s poofy peach cream puff of a gown (sorry mum!) I just didn’t see the romance in it. So Kate Middleton’s dress had lace sleeves, and was a nice departure from the standard strapless sweetheart neckline. But this was too out there.
Yet a year on, I’m mesmerized by the sheer thought of this dress/wedding. It reflects her unique aesthetic, her charm, her background and cultural heritage, her sense of style – and isn’t that really what it’s about? Being true to yourself. More than the dress itself, I think it’s her youth and happiness that makes her shine, but this wouldn’t have been right with any other dress. It had to have been this one. That’s why I’m posting these pictures today. As a reminder that this is the attitude I want to have towards style/design.
Original reports told that the gown was designed exclusively by Valli, a rumor the bride took to Twitter to squash: “The dress was made by the women who saw me growing up, following my precise directions and with Giamba’s ‘couture counseling,’” she wrote (Source: Brides.com).
The concept for Margherita’s silk and organza off-the-shoulder gown was born 15 years ago when she cut a picture of a similarly designed dress from a magazine, according to Vogue Italia. The dress—created together with her mother Angela Missoni and under the “couture” supervision of friend Giambattista Valli—includes subtle nods to her family’s famous fashion house in its patterns and embroidery, and features whimsical, voluminous sleeves accented by large floral appliques.
My goodness. How blessed Margherita Missoni is, to have had such an opportunity/experience. I can’t help but think of [one of] my childhood dream(s), which was to be a couturier – but not just any old. I wanted to be a wedding dress designer.
The closest I got? Probably designing and making my prom dress (called a ‘formal’ here in Sydney) in my senior year of high school. But since then I haven’t touched my sewing machine. Haven’t even been to the fabric store, and stood there, running my fingers over chiffons, organzas, raw silk, cotton jerseys, to imagine what I could create with them. Haven’t even entertained the thought of making dresses, of wearing my own creations. Life just got in the way. Other dreams, ambitions, goals took precedence. That was already what – five, six years ago?
This year, I’m going to start again. Designing and making clothes. And I’m going to remember to be true to myself. Margherita Missoni is my inspiration, not because I necessary go for the whole prints/Italian Riviera look myself, but because of the way she approaches fashion and style. She’s always feminine, always fresh and fun, and she’s never afraid to be herself. The ironic thing about ‘being true to yourself’ is that likes and tastes change. They’re subject to passing whimsies. For instance, when I made that prom dress, I was a huge Francophile. Paris and Proust, ballet flats and minimal chic and all that. And I was seventeen.
Soon afterwards – not long after I entered university – I think I had this huge period of self-discovery where I really wanted to connect with my Korean heritage, and with East Asian culture and that’s really showing through in my writing, my academic/career decisions, the music and films I consume, etc. Maybe that’s also a passing thing. But there’s still something at the core that’s unchanging, and I want to tap into that source. There would be no point in trying to emulate some of the things which make Missoni so charming. Those things aren’t imitable. Her inherent Italianness. Her self-confidence, which may or may not come from being the heiress of a fashion empire. I’m me. And I’m going to find my own truthful aesthetic.