GONE GOWN: Skeleton Plot Found Online

Have you ever stumbled upon a thread of messages on a forum or board?  If you’re not directly involved, the experience resembles eavesdropping, even voyeurism. I think of it as found plot, similar to found art, l’objet trouvé. While pursuing an excellent wedding site (theknot is in the name), I discovered these messages (spring 2012) which tell the basic tale of a stolen wedding gown.

Everything flows from true messages with names changed to protect the innocent. You’ll wonder: Was the gown really stolen?  Will she ever find it or get her money back?!

Remember, the women involved are strangers but rise to the occasion with sage advice or practical suggestions. You’ll notice how the bride describes her feelings for the gown. It’s clear that we’re talking about a wedding gown, the most important dress in a woman’s life.

Seven years have passed but identifiers were removed to protect people’s privacy. If anyone is offended, my sincere apologies.

One respondent had cute graphics about how long she’d been married! Those you’ll see below.

What would you have suggested?  I’d have told the bride to keep trying with the maker of the dress (Demetrios) but to sketch the gown and find a seamstress capable of producing something similar. Cost not time is a factor. I stop now to not spoil it.  Read on.  Here is the initial post.

Michigan-Detroit

my wedding dress was stolen

I need some help in locating a dress very similar to the one I bought that was just recently stolen. 

I went to a resale shop and just happened to find a gorgeous dress by Demetrios, no style number tag in the dress. The dress was almost a perfect fit, and I glowed. Because the dress was a resale I only paid $150. My finace [SIC] and I don’t have a lot of money and I am frugal by nature so spending a lot of money on a dress to wear for 6 hours doesn’t work for me.  Anyways the owner of the store told me she would send it out to be dry cleaned. Weeks went by and I went into the store to make sure she hadn’t forgotten. When I went in, the dress was still there waiting to be sent out. This was about 2 weeks ago. Yesterday the owner calls and tells me the dress was stolen. It came back from the dry cleaners and she put it in a room that she thought was safe. It disappeared. She told me I can come in and pick out another dress but I honestly don’t want another dress I want that dress. So I am attaching a picture of a dress and I am hoping someone can tell me where I can find this dress to purchase. I have some time yet as we aren’t getting married until October 2013. (sorry for the picture being sideways the app I am using won’t allow me to rotate)

Initial REPLY

Re: my wedding dress was stolen

I am so sorry to hear this.  It is horrible that someone would steal your dress.  I would be so mad!  I hope you are able to find another one.  

Sympathy Only REPLY

I’m no help but sorry about your dress! Good luck finding another one (you have plenty of time, so don’t worry or stress out!)

You don’t know the designer or style number or anything? Can you describe the dress in more detail? (I can’t really see much in the picture because it’s so small, but the more detail you give the more likely it is that someone will be able to identify it).

Also, people ID dresses on the Attire & Accessories board all the time, I would XP this there.

A Take-Action -Now REPLY from Z

I might drive over to the store again and make sure that the dress is not on the property anywhere.  It seems to me she might have decided to sell it to someone else or decided that she did not want to pay the dry cleaning bill.  Also, make sure she gives you your $150 back!

You could go to Demetrios with the picture and see if any of their managers could ID it. But they probably would just want to sell you a new dress, so the Knot boards would be the best route.  You could also try Wedding Bee and some of the other forums. 

Yet ANOTHER Agreeing REPLY
Yeah, I agree with Z— that something’s fishy in this water. It reminds me of the Seinfeld episode where Jerry finds out his dry cleaner has been wearing his clothes — even his mother’s fur coat!

Bride-to-Be REPLY

Thank you all for your suggestions and well wishes.

The dress reminds me of fireworks, is the best way to describe the swirls. All the beading is silver. The bottom looks like swirls going up the dress. The top has the same swirls going down. The middle section is left blank to really draw the eye to the right areas.  The back is a zip up, and a very long train with the same beading all along the edge and going up the dress. The straps are thin with beading. The store owner thinks the dress was a sample dress and thats [SIC] why there are no tags to give any more information.

I will be going to the store tomorrow and will be checking. I honestly don’t know if I want to get another dress from the store. I think it is kind of her to offer to give me any dress of my choice she has in stock. But I just don’t know.

Heartfelt REPLY Posted by cj
Screw that. I’d demand my money back. Good luck finding the dress. I agree maybe taking it to Brides by Demetrios would be helpful.

Not Debbie Downer’s Suggestion REPLY

Wait...so she sold you the dress, didn’t get it cleaned for weeks, then conveniently lost the dress? Please tell me you got your money back and aren’t seriously considering buying something else from that store. I’d take my money and take my business elsewhere!

And I hate to be a Debbie Downer, but it is highly unlikely that you will find that dress. I doubt it was STOLEN…odds are, she just resold the dress to someone else. 

Agreeing Helpful Hopeful Replier

OMG, I am SO sorry to hear this. I can’t ID the dress, but here are other options (though you may not get the same dress back)

There is a massive Salvation Army in Utica, on (I think) Van Dyke. There’s another one in Auburn Hills that has high class stuff…………priced a bit more than other communities, but worth looking into.

I agree with everyone else………tell her you post on The Knot and other budget friendly internet boards. You will trash the name of her company if you are not given a full refund, maybe deducting the dry cleaning bill (which she has to produce). This is unacceptable.

Good luck dear. Keep us posted.

Dream Donation REPLY

Oh girl it sounds like you got scammed : (  If your dress was actually stolen, it should’t be the only item taken. I would demand to see the police report. Try calling Darlene at Every Girls Dream. I donated a few dresses to her and she has a ton! If you tell her your story i bet she would give you a dress. Good luck!!

https://everygirlsdream.org/

Thank you everyone. I went back to the store, did get my money back. I now have a local paper helping and I have also put an ad up on Craigslist to see if I can get any further help from there. As soon as I get a free day I will be heading over to Brides by Demetrios to see if anyone there can help me and give me at least the style number for the dress. 

I know it is a long shot to find this dress or even another one but I have a year to track one down  

Thanks again.

Practical Archivist REPLY

I was trying to find one like yours, but it’s hard to tell from the picture.

Is it like this? http://demetriosbride.com/index.php?page=details&styleID=176

Or this? http://demetriosbride.com/index.php?page=details&styleID=167

So sorry to hear about what happened, I hope you find the dress.I’m glad you got your money back!!  Good luck with your search.

No Happy-Ending Conclusion

As you can see, Dear Reader, the story may or may not have a happy ending, but we feel the passion in these voices. They become inspiring seeds of characters. There’s an emotional up and down story line: Gown gone. Money gone. Store guilty. Replacement suggestions. Now, to find out what happened!

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Stolen Gowns, Stolen Lives

What do Sharon Tate and Amy Winehouse have in common? 

The fate of dying young, beautiful and famous and the theft of their wedding gown posthumously.

Sinister and Sorrowful Endings

The horrible Hollywood murder story of the stunning blonde bride of Roman Polanski has been treated in print and on screen. The last days of the soulful British singer have been documented in film, too.

Curse on the Dress?

Insult to injury: their wedding gowns were stolen under strange circumstances. Yet, can we speak of a curse on a stolen wedding gown?  Unless the person who curses an object is known, this type of curse comes as a punishment for exploiting someone who is dead or vulnerable. The theft of a dead woman’s wedding gown sounds reprehensible. In the case of these two famous women, their pain would seem to continue through the theft. It may be primitive but disturbing the memory of the dead remains a delicate topic.

Curses, not just elaborate insults delivered, have power when you are superstitious. When my gown was stolen, an older woman of Egyptian origin tole me that the dress would be a curse to anyone who wore it. I wondered, though, what if the bride did not know the gown’s history?

In the case of famous brides, the wedding dress has a price tag. In fact,  the minidress Sharon Tate wore when marrying Roman Polanski was scheduled to be auctioned. This makes one think that the thief or thieves may want money, possibly a challenge, but may be avid fan or fans. Charles Manson and his ‘family’ made sure that the beauty below never saw her unborn child. The sixties youthful innocence of this simple black and white photo becomes all the more poignant, given how life turned out for this ‘flowerchild’ bride.

Poignant Old-Fashioned Black and White Portrait

ORIGINAL ANNOUNCEMENT SOCIAL MEDIA Wednesday, September 7, 2011 

This a blog for Sharon Tate’s family, friends and fans. It will be updated frequently. Please feel free to add comments. “She was a sensational person,” Debra Tate.!

Please be aware that someone out there has stolen Sharon’s wedding dress and mink stole from Debra Tate’s home.  If anyone has ANY information please let us know so I can pass this along to the Official Board, Debra and the police. Debra would just like to get the items back. These items mean so much to her as you can understand why.  Thank you in advance for any information you can deliver.  Please no phony emails, only serious ones.

Note: In 2017 and again in 2019, social media have helped two American brides recover wedding gowns stolen from cars or apartments. Honour among thieves?

Diva and Diana

Remember the French cult classic film, Diva (1981)? No spoiler: A young fan slipped back stage and stole the singer’s costume. Was it a trophy, souvenir or fetish?  He didn’t want to sell it to anyone.

A different saga is the wardrobe of the late Princess Diana.  Her clothing was donated to raise money for her charities. Diana: Her Fashion Story, an exhibition of gowns and suits worn by the Princess, was opened at Kensington Palace in February 2017 as a tribute to mark the 20th anniversary of her death. The exhibition opened on 24 February displaying a collection of 25. Similar smaller shows have travelled to various cities outside the United Kingdom. Legal issues involving inheritance and foundations have not guaranteed the initial success of Diana’s wardrobe exhibit.  Again, the posthumous value may be blurred and may blur the fine intentions of the original wearer or her family. 

Amy Winehouse

Amy Winehouse’s wedding dress was a short, white halter dress with red anchors that she wore to her wedding to Blake Fielder Civil in London (May 2007). Unfortunately, for most of their two-year marriage, Winehouse and Civil lived a life tormented by the paparazzi and drug addiction.

A spokesman for the Amy Winehouse Foundation spoke to Reuters and confirmed Winehouse’s home showed no evidence of a break-in. Instead, insiders believe someone with access to the home and garments stole the newsprint cocktail dress and the wedding dress as they had just been cataloged and stored in the days before the theft.

Amy’s father Mitch was devastated over the theft of the bridal gown. “It’s sickening that someone would steal something in the knowledge of its sentimental value.”

Guest Dress for Weddings: Decode the Invitation

When my wedding dress was stolen, the insurance company representative sneered. He told me that as a guest I would have received more compensation. Why? A guest’s outfit might be worn again hence held more value that a wedding gown which is worn once.

I was reminded of the cost of dressing for a wedding recently when a Montreal shop advertised what to wear to summer weddings. I like the ‘how-to’ approach in advertising; however, in this case the pricetags would wipe out the possible wedding gift for the couple!

SUMMER WEDDINGS?

Today’s couples are tying the knot in the most amazing places—so, what do you wear that feels just as special? Florals are a vineyard wedding staple, so make them feel fresh by going full bloom in a blouse with neutral wide-legged trousers and eye-catching metallics.

Personally, I avoid wearing trousers in summer, especially to a wedding! Exeception: lacey white or airy pastel perhaps. The greatest error is to wear polyester anything especially to a wedding in summer!

KEY to being a guest at any wedding:  Dress up but remember that you may be in a church so have a shawl or jacket and don’t outdo the bride.

The URBAN UNION

Graphic is the way to go for an artistic wedding in the city.  Let the design do the talking by sticking to monochrome black and white. Note the rule remains: avoid too much white so as to be different from the bride.

AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST MAMMA MIA

THE ROMANTIC

Take a tailored approach to dressing for a European destination (Santorini maybe?) by pairing a razor-sharp blazer with an abstract printed dress and accessories.  My advice: AGAIN avoid synthetics and take and extra low-heel shoe for later.

How to Know What to Wear to a Wedding OR Invitation Terminology

https://www.theknot.com/content/wedding-guest-attire-cheat-sheet

The Knot is a great wedding site on line. From the craziest question of etiquette to the last designer detail. For example, has a wedding invite ever left you clueless? Fear not, the clue you need is likely there—you just have to know how to interpret the dress code wording. Whether it’s black tie, white tie or something in between, here’s a list for deciding what to wear for madame.

If the invite says “white tie”

This is the most formal of all wedding dress codes (think state dinners and the Oscars). ‘She’ should wear: A formal, full-length ball gown. Glamorous makeup and dramatic jewelry and hair are appropriate.

If the invite says “black tie”

This is the next most formal wedding dress code and usually means the wedding is an evening affair. ‘She’ should wear: A chic cocktail dress or a long evening gown.

If the invite says “formal” or “black tie optional”

The wording here suggests something slightly less formal than black tie. This means that a tuxedo isn’t required, but the event is still formal enough for one to be appropriate. ‘She’ should wear: A long evening dress, dressy suit or formal cocktail-length dress.

If the invite says “cocktail attire”

This is slightly less formal than black tie and black tie optional, which means no tux required for men and no floor-length gown required for women (unless you’d like to wear a long dress). ‘She’ should wear: A cocktail dress or dressy suit or jumpsuit.

If the invite says “beach formal”

This suggests an elegant beach wedding—so dress to impress, but also dress for the elements (sun, sand and water I ADD WIND!). Anything you’d wear to a nice restaurant on a summer night is appropriate. ‘She’ should wear: A formal summer sundress at tea or knee length with flat sandals. Makeup and hair can be natural. Hats are great but remember the WIND!

If the invite says “semi-formal” or “dressy casual”

Depending on the time of the event, you’ll want to dress somewhere between formal and casual. Wear darker, more formal hues for an evening fete; opt for light colors and fabrics for a daytime wedding. ‘She’ should wear: A cocktail dress or a dressy skirt and top. 

If the invite says “casual” or “daytime”

Generally, casual means anything goes—but jeans, shorts and tank tops are probably not appropriate unless they’re specifically noted as acceptable. For the purposes of wedding wear, assume business casual to be on the safe side. ‘She’ should wear: A summer sundress or a skirt or pants with a nice blouse. Makeup and hair can be natural.

P.S. I don’t believe in casual (especially pants!) for a wedding. This should be an occasion.  At least ‘Sunday Best’!

CASA di MODA

MODA as in CASA di MODA

Francisco’s early morning theft of an Italian wedding gown in its own bag from the back of a car starts the entire story. The bridal ensemble included three parts:  a short sheath dress, a tulle overskirt, a delicate shawl.

The word moda is the same in Italian as in Spanish, but the thief recognizes that he has Italian couture on his hands. This stolen wedding dress will occupy him and 3 couples for the next 24 hours.

Extract from Madrugada in One Dress, One Day.

“This model [Renault 5 ]was like a gift asking to be opened: quick and easy. Grimacing, breathing hard, he [Francisco, aka Calif] began grabbing any objects worth stealing.

Bruised apples and mushy black plums, duty-free premium whisky as well as fluorescent green rain ponchos were rapidly rejected. In the glove compartment, a pair of sunglasses brought a grin to his chapped pale lips. This inventory wasn’t great but equalled half his debt. Unlocked canvas luggage made for quick work. Within three minutes it was already clear: no cash, no cameras, no electronics, no jewelry. Only well-folded men’s casual shirts, vivid cotton-knit sweaters and gently scuffed loafers tucked into shoe bags. Cursing through clenched teeth, Francisco stopped short when he spied the white plastic suit carrier marked CASA di MODA. It shone at that sepia-toned hour.

Italian!  Armani? Francisco exhaled the name. Although the thief looked like a sewer rat, with stringy chin-length hair and cruddy fingernails, he changed shirts regularly and never used supermarket colonia, only designer copy stuff  with slight misspellings on the label (Calvin Klien, Acua de Parna, Maximo Dutti, Eau Savage). …”

COCO, the Caged Bird Sings

One of the characters who ends up with part of the bridal garment is José-María aka Pepe, an alcoholic tailor running a souvenir shop with his long-suffering wife, Alfonsa.

OLÉ  and adios to the wedding dress

Pepe appreciated the fine white shawl belonging to the beautiful bridal ensemble but cut it up to make his trademark capotes, or miniature matador capes.  Remember the traje de luces of the bullfighter includes a strikingly colourful, decorated cape.

In this extract from One Dress, One Day, José (Pepe) talks to Coco. His wife’s pet, Coco the budgie, is in his care during her absence. Alfonsa has gone to visit her sister. The entire story of the stolen wedding gown takes place in one day. This paragraph comes from the wee hours of the morning (Las altas horas de la madrugada) as Pepe contemplates the birdcage.

Inside the kitchen of Pepe and Alfonsa’s apartment, above his boutique Recuerdos Pepe…

 “Coco, she is a fine Christian woman. I swear, wouldn’t kill a fly. Ni una mosca. Te lo juro.” He spoke as if the bird actually replied. “But she whines. Then her silences. ¡ Dios ! What’s worse?”

Pepe leaned his bony vertebrae against the fridge door, staring at the daintily cloaked cage, expecting an answer from that damned budgie. Not a peep. “Oh God, please, not dead!” He worried so lifted the fringed cover off then preceded to fold it. Coco puffed up a bit and pecked at sparsely scattered seeds. Shakily, gingerly, Pepe hurried to pour new grains and water into the tiny dishes attached to the bars. He sighed as the bird chirped, realizing how lonely life would be without dour Doña Alfonsa. He missed her more than he ever expected and had scarcely slept. He knew she wouldn’t leave him but understood for the first time how much that would hurt. …

GRACIAS

The postcard (Artefactos, 1972) propped up on my bookshelf stared at me. An odd photograph, rather like an X-ray, it did not occur to me that the picture was of Violeta Parra Sandoval.

The Cervantes Institute in Athens sent the postcard to me years ago.

I knew Gracias a la vida, written in 1966 by Chilean folksinger Violeta Parra, but had always associated it with the Argentine Mercedes Sosa.Sometimes I used to teach the song in Spanish into English translation course.

My pedagogical purpose was to demonstrate that a seemingly simple song (basic vocabulary) may be translated but can the translation be sung. This question raises issues of poetry, poetic license, adaptation, assonance, phonetics, and more. (By the way, I often refer to the translation of a better known piece, La Bamba for similar purposes in the classroom.)

One thing that I learned in the classroom was that much depends on the rendition. Some versions sound like dirges. Besides Mercedes Sosa, the famous American folksinger Joan Baez recorded Gracias a la vida in the mid-1970s.

The melody is simple, repetitive, as are the words. There is definitely a message, which was enhanced by the political situation of Chile. However, chacun son goût. If you like folk music in general, you’ll appreciate this song.

Ironically, only two days ago I realized this song had somehow penetrated my psyche and my revised manuscript, of the story One Dress, One Day.  It actually revealed the ending to me. Was it the power of the postcard? I translated a few lines of the song for my heroine, Inma to sing them. In her quest for a mantra, the title seemed appropriate. Synchronicity? Gracias to Violeta Parra.

One bittersweet note: Violeta’s song thanks life and she took her own.

The Spanish version has be recorded by scores of Hispanic singers up to 2019 and remains under copyright (Warner). Naturally, what my heroine warbles in English is my own interpretation.

.

Below are the Spanish lyrics and a link to a version of the song by the great Mercedes Sosa.

Mercedes Sosa – Gracias a La Vida – YouTube

Lyrics

Gracias a la vida que me ha dado tanto 
Me dio dos luceros que cuando los abro 
Perfecto distingo lo negro del blanco 
Y en el alto cielo su fondo estrellado 
Y en las multitudes el hombre que yo amo

Gracias a la vida que me ha dado tanto 
Me ha dado el oído que en todo su ancho 
Cada noche y días 
Grillos y canarios, martillos, turbinas 
Ladridos, chubascos 
Y la voz tan tierna de mi bien amado

Gracias a la vida que me ha dado tanto 
Me ha dado el sonido y el abecedario 
Con el las palabras que pienso y declaro 
Madre, amigo, hermano y luz alumbran

do
La ruta del alma del que estoy amando

Gracias a la vida que me ha dado tanto 
Me ha dado la marcha de mis pies cansados 
Con ellos anduve ciudades y charcos 
Playas y desiertos, montañas y llanos 
Y la casa tuya, tu calle y tu patio

Gracias a la vida que me ha dado tanto 
Me dio el corazón que agita su marco 
Cuando miro el fruto del cerebro humano 
Cuando miro el bueno tan lejos del malo 
Cuando miro el fondo de tus ojos claros

Gracias a la vida que me ha dado tanto 
Me ha dado la risa y me ha dado el llanto 
Así yo distingo dicha de quebranto 
Los dos materiales que forman mi canto 
Y el canto de ustedes que es el mismo canto 
Y el canto de todos que es mi propio canto

Gracias a la vida

Songwriters: Violeta Parra Sandoval

Gracias a la Vida lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc

EUROVISION 2019 COMING NEXT WEEK

It’s almost Eurovision season (May). For those not raised watching this song contest, the rules appear Byzantine.  Here are a few clarifications to get ready for this year’s edition.

According to Eurovision rules, all nations with the exceptions of the host country [Israel this year!] and the “Big 5” (France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom) must qualify in one of two semi-finals to compete for the final. The top ten countries from each semi-final progress to the final.

Note that making the top ten is considered an honor, rather like being nominated for an Oscar.

The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) split the competing countries into six groups based on voting patterns from previous contests, so that countries with favorable voting histories put into the same pot. To me, this seems odd as blocs look to be based on historical or political links or language.  Do old nationalistic views play a role?  Lately, the LBGTQ2 identification appears to have affected voting.

According to the official Eurovision website, on 28 January 2019, a special allocation draw was held which placed each country into one of the two semi-finals, as well as in which half of the show they would perform. Greece was placed into the first semi-final, to be held on May 14, 2019, and was scheduled to perform in the second half of the show.

Note that Greece hasn’t won for 15 years.

Once all the competing songs for the 2019 contest had been released, the running order for the semi-finals was decided by the shows’ producers rather than through another draw, so that similar songs were not placed next to each other. Greece was set to perform in position 16, following the entry from Portugal and preceding the entry from San Marino.

This new form of allocation of performances makes perfect sense. It is smart to vary the program so that not all the Slavic-language entries play back to back, to name just one bloc.  If the order mentioned above is kept, Greece, Portugal and San Marino will provide linguistic variety at least.

If you watch the show regularly, you already know how current trends, often American, dominate. In a sense, Eurovision acts as a pop music barometer. Céline Dion, Lady Gaga or Beyoncé imitations appear. Much depends on fashion.  Video clip trends are rehashed, too, so that one year dry ice fog prevailed; another year, shooting flames.

A few years ago, I swore to stop watching because melody and even saccharine lyrics no longer seemed significant. (I won’t mention the name of the Finnish winners!) Eurovision resembled a kitsch festival. Gimmick for sheer novelty with flags flying.

The last two editions (2017 and 2018) changed my mind even though I did not think last year’s entry from Israel deserved to win top place.

Famous participants in Eurovision have included ABBA, Celine Dion, Julio Iglesias, Nana Mouskouri, to name a few. Inma, a talented barmaid hoping for that chance, belongs to the countless amateurs and professionals who hope the contest will serve to launch their career. Last year a lovely teenage couple from Catalonia represented Spain. I had been impressed seeing them perform live one year prior. Although they did not win, who knows how many people, from fans to record producers, tuned in to their Eurovision performance? Movie, TV and other deals may result. The exposure cannot be beat. Remember the old show business advice:  it takes years to become an overnight sensation! 

In this extract from One Dress, One Day, Inma’s hopes for stardom appear.

“Everyone knew how they got their start on Eurovision. She had even created her own pseudonym, something with star quality and easy to remember, like Blancanieves. First, she thought of Noëlla or Blanche de Noël.  These were the only French words that she believed came close to her baptismal name Inmaculada Concepción. This name had to be changed for show business because Inma sounded common; Concha, worse, and Connie, too American.”