I work in a huge multi-national project, which is government-funded. This means we rarely get anything extra, our spring party this year was playing brännboll on our very uneven lawn, before enjoying a barbecue and a cover band with pretty bad speakers. It was perfectly fine and nice, however it wasn’t very extravagant. My husband’s company on the other hand, is all about the extravaganza, their Christmas parties are usually a weekend in a European city. This year they had their 10-year anniversary, and went really big; a ball in Vienna for the employees and their partners. As a person who sews their own clothes, you all know what that meant: it was time to make a ball gown!
As I’ve spent a lot of time figuring out my personal style, it was obvious I was going to wear something that still felt like me; structural, a bold colour, not too much frou-frou. I think I succeeded, and most people were just taken with the fact that I had made the dress to notice all those small errors I knew were there.
Let me tell you, a ball in Vienna is an amazing experience. From arriving at Hofburg palace with tourists still around marveling about those fancy guests, to dinner with excellent food, Viennese music (opera, Mozart and a sing-a-long of Edelweiss), to dancing. They had professional dancers to show us the Wienerwaltz, and afterwards I asked of them for a spin on the dance floor, I couldn’t leave a ball in Vienna, without having done a proper Wienerwaltz, even though I probably took many wrong steps, but my dancing partner was pretty patient. I guess he had no choice.
During dinner, another woman came up to me and pointed out that we were the only ones “in same fabric”. Taffeta that is (the purple colour I chose seems to be out of stock at the time of typing). I think there was one more, but taffeta was quite an unusual choice. The pattern I eventually settled on was No. 23 Marrakesh by How To Do Fashion. I was drawn to the neckline and structural aspects of the design. Since this was a relatively important piece, I did a toile in a torn bedsheet, however I failed to consider that, unlike the bedsheet, the taffeta had no give whatsoever. So, while the bedsheet version looked nice on, the taffeta version could have gained from a minor FBA. But the lack of boob space gave a nice little corset effect. Levelling the dress was also hard, but in the end I think it looked pretty OK. Or people were too distracted by the cleavage to notice.
Regardless of minor snafus, this purple taffeta dress, worn with flats, really stood out in the sea of mesh, draping, pastel colours and high heels. I also took the opportunity to do some pretty makeup as well, and I felt really pretty. Like, I never know when I’ll be this pretty again, because I need this sort of occasion.
Because as Cinderella says: What’s a royal ball? After all, I suppose it would be frightfully dull, and boring, and completely … completely wonderful. It was completely wonderful.
Soundtrack: Visit to Vienna – Sahara Hotnights