The wedding dress saga has been quietly unfolding without mention here because I was trying to resist bridal-syndrome and not let wedding talk dominate my communication. But in this case it’s gotten so complicated (do I ever do things the easy way?) it’s now interesting.
I never really liked wedding dresses in the first place. It was more for lack of a better option that I went on several shopping trips with friends and family to stores in Bremen, Munich and the Sacramento wedding mecca: House of Fashion back home in California.
As expected, the visits to the wedding boutiques provided a lot of joke material over the well-deserved cocktails that usually followed: At the House of Fashion I was surrounded by little sprites prancing around in Lolita-tramp haute couture looking petite and vampy, while I, on the other hand, was squeezed into dresses sizes too small that needed to be held together with clothespins. A lot of the styles they wore led one to wonder if in their cases the color white was meant to be an ironic statement.
In Munich, a saleswoman first had me try on dresses in a filthy changing room complete with generic deodorant spray can (minus cap) and mop hanging on the wall, and then tried to give me the hard-sell over a dirty, torn floor model by telling me that the dress took inches off my hips. Now this is a terrible thing to say to anyone in such a situation, but of all problem zones to pick, she landed on the one thing I simply don’t have. I gave her the benefit of the doubt and first and thought that I’d misunderstood her in German, but the visibly-zaftig bride next to me had clearly overheard and judging from the look on her face I wasn’t the only one who thought my saleswoman was nuts.
During all of this I tried on a ton of dresses, loved none of them and felt either ridiculous, boring or plain old cliche in most of them.
But before surrendering to looking like a snowbeast, while home during my last vacation I visited a shop I love in San Francisco.
Dark Garden is a really well-known specialty clothing store in the Bay Area and I’d shopped there before. They cater to a (clearing throat) wide range of clientelle, and wedding dresses is just one of the things they do. I had always thought that, should the time ever come, it would be great to have a wedding dress made there, but I wondered how I would manage to do this now from Germany.
Two coincidences: First, Oliver’s sister Carolin was staying a few days in the city so I picked her up and sent Oliver off to have a beer while we went in and she helped me pick out my dress. Second, the owner has a friend in Munich she visits on a regular basis so she would be able to do one of my fittings in Germany.
I was thrilled how it all worked out but had a little trepidation that my mother would freak out that I’d bought a wedding dress from a place that also services Pamela Anderson and the burlesque pin-up star Dita Von Teese. There is no denying the beauty of what they make and there’s nothing like it anywhere else. (I also figured she’d be more likely to get a kick out of the whole thing, her catholic schoolgirl days are long past).
On Tuesday Autumn came to Carolin’s apartment in Munich to do my first fitting and I have to say she blew away my expectations. What I tried on was actually a muslin mock-up of what my dress will be and I was just about happy enough to get married in that. Watching her work was pretty amazing: she whipped out some scissors and started snipping here and tucking there and what I saw I’m pretty excited about.
Can’t wait to see the real thing and now I am sure that many of you after seeing those links are looking forward to seeing it too.