Friday, September 10, 2010

The Day I Bought a Piece of History

Many who know me well know that one of the signature things about me is my love of fashion—especially vintage and designer fashion (at least what I can afford).

For the final Friday morning, it’s Sara Celi.

This week I had something pretty amazing happen to me, and it started exactly one week ago.

I bought tickets for myself and my mom to attend a special fashion show of Patricia A. Corbett’s wardrobe at the Weston Art Gallery last Friday. I’d heard the buzz about the show, but didn’t know what I would see at this one night only event honoring the grand dame of Cincinnati philanthropy and arts. Growing up, I only knew Corbett from what I saw on the news---a wonderful, loving woman who gave so much to the region and ensured that our cultural future would be rich for decades to come. I knew enough about her to respect and admire what she had done, but I never thought of her as a young, stylish woman.

Boy was I wrong.

The fashion show gave me a glimpse of Corbett at the height of her life. Dozens of her vintage clothes came out once again for a celebration of her. She had one killer wardrobe, having lived a life where she needed more cocktail dresses and evening gowns in one month then I need in two years. The show took us through several decades of her life, showing attendees all the couture and sought after designers that had their pieces worn by Corbett.

What my mom and I did not know until the end was that everything in the show was for sale—and nothing on the line cost over $300. We found out that the owner of Nvision, a vintage store on Harrison Ave., was taking appointments for interested buyers and decided to put our name on the list for a Sunday afternoon time.

At the store on Sunday, I tried on and examined several pieces. Getting a close up glance gave me an opportunity to see that some of the dresses were in extremely fragile states (well, they were 50 years old in some cases) and that some had rips, tears and other wear. Others simply did not fit—too big, too small. Like most women, Corbett’s size varied through her lifetime.
One piece stood out above the rest—a black and gold brocade Pauline Trijere. It had no rips, no signs of wear, no stains, despite being more than 50 years old. On top of that Trijere’s pieces have a bit of cache in the fashion world these days and are highly sought after. When I tried it on, it fit me just the same as if it had been designed for me.

I had to have it.

So did several other women.

I heard from the folks at Nvision that this dress had a line of committed buyers, women who were coming after me to try on this amazing dress. I told them to put my name on a list; I gave them my business card and told them to call me if the dress became available.

I left the store and didn’t think of it.

Then on Wednesday afternoon, I got a phone call. The dress was available! It hadn’t worked after all for the other committed buyers, and if I still wanted it, it was mine!

I got in my Honda and immediately drove over. Twenty minutes later, I drove back down I-75 with this wonderful garment sitting in my front seat.

It was the day I bought a piece of history.

Don’t be surprised when you see me out on the town wearing this great dress to some party or event soon. It deserves to have a second life, and I am proud to be the one to give it. And I think, hopefully, that somewhere in heaven Patricia A. Corbett is smiling.

1 comment:

  1. Sara!
    What a beautiful dress! Everytime you wear it, look at it, or lovingly smooth the fabric as you carefully hang it into your closet you will remember the adventure that placed it into your hands. I love this story!