I've been re-reading (for the gazillionth time) The Forsyte Saga by John Galsworthy and in the third book 'To Let', there is a passage which has long been noted as one of my many literary costume fantasies:
The apparition wore white muslin on its head, a fichu round its bare neck over a wine-coloured dress, fulled out below its slender waist. It held one arm akimbo, and the other raised, right-angled, holding a fan which touched its head.
'This ought to be a basket of grapes,' it whispered, 'but I haven't got it here. It's my Goya dress. And this is the attitude in the picture. Do you like it?'
'It's a dream.'
The apparition pirouetted. 'Touch it, and see.'
Jon knelt down and took the skirt reverently.
'Grape colour,' came the whisper, 'all grapes - La Vendimia - the vintage.'
The apparition in the passage is of course the completely lovable Fleur Forsyte making Jon Forsyte fall head over heels in love with her Goya interpretation. The painting in conversation is La Vedemia (grape harvest) by Francisco Goya. Its not the dress in the painting that particularly attracts me to this literary fantasy but rather the fleeting, whimsical and fast-loving manner in which Fleur wears her fancy dress for Jon. For some reason, when I saw the John Rocha (a British instititution but SORELY underrated elsewhere!) spring summer 2007 collection, a few of the dresses struck me as exactly the type of thing I would wear as a modern day Fleur Forsyte, striking a pose or an 'attitude' to grab a guy's attention. I like how the dress sort of looks slightly dishevelled and if I had to use a phrase 'shabby chic'. Except of course, it being a fantasy, the meaning of my John Rocha costume and the Fleur Forsyte connection would all be lost on said guy so I'd be there wafting around in this loose frothy dress, with my variety of 'attitudes' looking like a total fooligan..... best kept a fantasy me thinks...