27 Apr Book review: The perfect dress by Louisa Leaman
I took to Fran and her vintage wedding gown shop, The Whispering Dress, the minute I saw The Perfect Dress on BorrowBox. I was looking for a light read and I found Francesca Delany, who travels the country with her faithful assistant Mick searching for vintage wedding dress gold hidden in wardrobes and trunks all over the United Kingdom. When I borrowed The perfect dress on Borrow Box I didn’t know this was a book filled with fashion history. I just liked the simple graphic of a digitally created wedding dress on a mint green cover. It turned out to be much more than that.
Fran takes a wedding dress only fit for dress-ups and patiently reveals and restores its beauty from the outside in, as she sets out to reveal the personality of the bride who loved it. As a writer, what I loved was the journey that Fran goes on to find out the stories behind the wedding dresses. Tracking downs the brides, and the grooms and the story of their wedding. Wedding dresses worn by bold and fearless brides, find their way to fiances struggling to find their voice. Crimson dresses boldly deliver colour and confidence to brides that have wanted to share their inner goddess for years.
For Fran, each wedding gown ‘is a story, a legacy, a lesson from history,’
Author Louisa Leaman is a writer for some of the UK’s top museums, and she says it’s her exposure to collections of wedding dresses that delivered inspiration for this book. You feel that inspiration in the sensual dress descriptions that she writes.
“Even on the mannequin its dancing energy pulses, every thread eager to shimmer and shake in the quake of a leg flick, a hip twist or a hand flutter.”
I love it when something lost is found delivering joy and surprise to those who find it, maybe that’s why I loved this book. It’s the continual discovery of secrets that really drew me to it.
Fran’s discovery of a House of Garrett-Alexia Wedding dress, (think Dior level $ value) and the secrets of how it ended up abandoned in the bottom of a wardrobe. A dress so shrouded in mystery and secrecy that it unleashes flashbacks to the wedding gone wrong of its other world bride, Alessandra Colt. The Garrett-Alexia dress leads Fran to the Colt Family, and a determination to find out who would discard such a spectacular dress so callously. Rafael Colt, his sister and his mother’s story behind the fashion mystery never solved are irresistible to Fran as she relentlessly pursues answers to the puzzle.
I don’t know about you but I remember my wedding preparation being slightly stressful but at the same time, a lot of fun, so quite a bit different to Fran’s brides. But I do remember traipsing to ten different shops before going back to the very first dress I tried on. I knew it was my dress. As cheesy as it sounds, I connected with it straight away. It looked good, it made me feel amazing and I couldn’t stop smiling. It does feel a little mysterious that a dress (granted a very expensive dress) could do that. When you read Louisa Leaman’s book, you feel yourself transported back to your own visit to the bridal shops and the emotions you felt the first time you saw YOUR dress.
When you read The Perfect Dress, Fran, The Whispering Dress, the Colts and The House of Garrett-Alexia will take you on a journey filled with beautiful gowns, mysterious legacies and romance. It won’t stress or strain the brain, it will relax you, fill your head with beautiful images, take you to another world in an easy to read novel. Enjoy!