'A ball gown is your dream, and it must make you a dream... I think it is just as necessary in a woman's wardrobe as a suit. And it is wonderful for morale...' Christian Dior

Monday, 2 May 2011

Made in Vietnam

I got back from my travels to discover that summer had come early and that my latest purchase - a tailored made-to-measure black jacket - would probably look a bit out of place. I went out in Liverpool on my first weekend back and wore it regardless. It's not hard to look out of place there, trust me. And I had had plenty of practice in Vietnam anyway. There's westerners and then there's milk-bottle skinned, white haired tall girls... so many locals wanted their photo taken with me, it felt like what I imagine being famous does. Throw in a hangover and it wasn't pretty. Charlie Sheen springs to mind.

Hoi An and its maze of tailor-lined streets was definitely a highlight of the holiday (and I only got lost once). You can basically have any design made from any fabric, in any colour. You describe it, or show them a picture from a magazine (or bring along an item to have replicated), go back for a fitting later in the day and the item is ready to collect 24 hours later. I was only in Hoi An for three days, any longer and it would have been dangerous. My sister is currently on the lookout for her wedding dress. I've told her it would probably be cheaper to jump on a plane to Vietnam with a tear from a magazine than agonise over expensive London boutiques, but I probably shouldn't give her any ideas, I'm planning on doing that myself...

I limited myself to the black jacket ($90) and a pair of black and white brogues (a replica of a pair I used to have and loved so much I wore out wearing them on impractical walks). The jacket I made up as I was going along. I wanted something slightly boyfriend-style to wear with jeans and slightly tux-like to wear on smart occasions. You pay for half of it on arrival and the other half on collection so it's a bit nerve-wracking, especially when, like me, you're a bit hungover when you 'commission' it so to speak and haven't properly thought it through. I love it now, but when I first saw the finished jacket I panicked and hated it (!). Serves me right I suppose. Plus I was flustered and boiling hot trying it on in the middle of the shop over denim cut offs and a sweat stained vest. Never a good look.

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