The Oscar: Part 1

gownIf this blog has languished for over a month, it’s because I just finished a stint as a Bar Mitzvah Mom–that harried, tragicomic, often insomniac character who seems to have walked straight out of a Woody Allen movie (one of the early, funny ones) to juggle her 13-year-old’s weekly tutoring sessions, daily cantillation practice, and efforts to compose a scholarly d’var Torah with her own caterer, florist, DJ, and photographer arrangements, in a crazy marathon of maternal pride and utter exhaustion…

But survive I did (you should have heard my son chant Torah…), and the experience even netted me a vintage anecdote. It concerns the gorgeous 70s Oscar de la Renta gown pictured to the left and below, a full-skirted, sheer-sleeved confection of black chiffon layered over opague silk, its metallic floral print exquisitely stencilled in gold and silver paint. The yards upon yards of fabric in the skirts rustle and sway, a miracle of near-weightlessness. The cummerbund-wide belt that cinches it at the waist is embroidered in scrolling tongues of gold thread and backed in satin-sleek leather. Worthy of museum display, the gown wore me (definitely not the other way around) to my son’s bar mitzvah. I found it on eBay, and snagged it for a song.

the belt

the belt

Now, in a nice bit of symmetry, as the fickle goddesses of Hollywood were side-stepping the heaps of couture gowns flung at them by designers vying to showcase their creations on Oscar night (the Academy Awards were scheduled for March 5, the night after my son’s bar mitzvah), I was busy prepping for an “Oscar” shindig of my own. I’d purchased my Age of Aquarius stunner over a year earlier for resale, tried it on for fun (except for the length, its measurements were perfect for me), and found myself falling in love with it, the way a little girl falls in love with a frothy pink tutu. Never mind the oodles of cash it could have earned me; nothing was going to part me–ever–from something so breath-taking, so much finer than anything I’d ever owned, and so insanely, impossibly CHEAP. (A few months later, I did act the responsible businesswoman and sell off an identical Oscar gown—though in a larger size!) All I needed now was a tailor who would hem my fantasy frock with suitable reverence, and maybe a pair of toe shoes.

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