Fashion journalist Justine Picardie’s mother was married in ablack mohair cocktail dress, the garment now disappeared, just like her parents’marriage. But what we wear reflects much more than current fashion, saysPicardie. The narrative of our clothes is inexorably woven into the story of ourlives
In a memoir that is both smart and stylish, Picardie lets herown recollections lead into larger stories: there are the tight plastic pantsbought in a London market when she was a teenager, their tough but transitorilyrebellious exterior soon worn away; and the treasured black Gap jacket belongingto a sister who died of cancer. Many of the chapters are punctuated by oftenhilarious lists, from "Uniforms to Avoid" (Juicy Couture matchingsweats) to "Best-Dressed Heroines" (Pippi Longstocking finally getsher due), and Picardie turns a thoughtful eye to the fashion industry in aninsider’s look at the models, designers and philosophy of a fantasydrivenbusiness. A read that is by turns poignant, funny and extraordinarilycaptivating, My Mother’s Wedding Dress is a book for every woman whoknows her closet holds memories as well as clothes.
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JUSTINE PICARDIE is a freelance fashion journalist who has written for Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar. She is the author of several books, including If the Spirit Moves You, a chronicle of her journey to come to terms with her sister’s death. Justine Picardie lives in London, England, with her husband and two sons.From Publishers Weekly:
A former British Vogue editor turned novelist (Wish I May) offers a stylish treatment of the significance of clothes to their owners and admirers. A black wedding dress belonging to Picardie's mother circa 1960 became the author's perfect little black dress 20 years later and serves as the elegant entrée to Picardie's narrative. Picardie devotes a chapter to each item: the wedding dress, cast off by her divorced mum, was added to the author's secondhand college wardrobe, a "rag-tag bundle of other people's identities"; a pair of plastic trousers, purchased in 1977, signified a transitory rebellion; a velvet jacket belonging to various relatives segues into a meditation on the frustrating elements of the unfinished story. Most poignant is the author's exploration of haunted clothing, seen in literary examples from Daphne du Maurier and Elizabeth Bowen, and exemplified in clothing favored by her terminally ill sister and abandoned in death. Picardie is amusingly digressive, moving from a discourse on the Gap's ability to bridge fashion and functionality to Zelda Fitzgerald's clothing memory as a grasp of her dwindling sanity. Picardie is also a terrific journalist, offering a shimmering chapter on the profane and sacred aspects of "scarlet women" and sharp interviews with Donnatella Versace and Karl Lagerfeld. (May 1)
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