I wrote the below as part of a Vogue writing competition that I was going to enter, however being very busy what seems to be like all the time, I didn’t have the time to finish writing the other two pieces required. So that my short story of a ‘personal memory’ doesn’t go to waste I decided to share it with you, here on my blog.
The story is a personal memory of the first time I fell in love with fashion. Bare in mind that I was very young so my memory of the time is not too accurate. The only thing I do remember perfectly is that one item. I hope you enjoy……
The first time I fell in love.
Everyone who loves fashion will remember that one item that made them fall in love with clothes. For me it was a dusty pink, denim mini skirt takes me back eighteen years, to a five year old girl living in St. Petersburg and falling in love when her mother brought her back a present after a trip to Germany.
Living in the early years of post communist Russia there was little access to designer or imported goods and the things that were becoming available came with a very large, marked up price tag, one that someone from a very humble home would never be able to afford.
Luckily for me I had an aunt that lived in Berlin at the time, so my family had the chance to travel abroad and experience the things that were still a rarity in Russia. My Mum would always return with loads of clothes and unusual things that weren’t available in Russia having bought them at a much lower price than would be locally. She then sold some of these on to friends, neighbours and friends of friends at a higher price than she paid, making a little profit for herself. A cheeky way to make some extra pocket-money but everybody loved her for it and I think she felt like she was providing some sort of care of the community service for the people around her. The idea that someone travelled and had seen Europe was still very exciting back then and people couldn’t wait to get their hands on European goods, especially clothes!
My mother is someone who is very conscious of herself. Someone that is always dressed and groomed to the nines no matter where she’s going and she never made any exceptions for me, her only daughter. To this day if I go to visit her at home wearing no make up that will be the first thing she notices when I walk through the door and without a ‘Hello, how are you’ she will say “You could have at least put on some mascara and blush”
No matter how little money my mother had when we lived in Russia she always made sure that I was dressed well and properly groomed so not to embarrass her anywhere.
I remember a couple of years before we moved to London, my mum was on one of her visiting trips in Berlin, I think by that point she had already met my stepdad, a wonderful English man, who possibly accompanied her on this trip. One evening on the phone, and I remember this as clear as day, she told me she had a present for me. She always used to bring me back stuff but never anything with a special mention. I couldn’t have been more excited! It was another few days until she arrived back home and they seemed to go by like years. On the day of her home-coming I remember waiting by the door for the best part of the day until she walked through it, her beautiful image still in my memory. Long thick brunette hair, glossy and perfect, her make-up impeccable and her travel outfit of smart blue jeans, a crisp white shirt and a dark blue blazer with high heels, always high heels!
It felt like hours until she decided to unpack her bags, I didn’t want to rush her just in case she got annoyed and wouldn’t give me my present. Finally she got out a folded plastic bag from her suitcase, reached into it and pulled out a denim, dusty pink mini skirt with a little heart in the right bottom corner, outlined by light pink denim fringing (very spring/summer 11, she was always fashion forward). To me it was the most beautiful skirt I’d ever seen. As a five-year old girl, that was the first time I fell in love!