#3 Aunt Debbie’s purple dress

Posted on Sep 30, 2016 | No Comments

img_0175

This time I found a very feminine heirloom piece that has been worn many times in both South Africa and the USA since the early 1950s.

Name: Christie Keshet
Works as: stylist / illustrator
Born in: Harrismith, South Africa
Lives in: Brooklyn Bedford-Stuyvesant.
Heirloom Piece: Purple lace dress from the 40s/50s, once belonged to aunt Debrah.
Outfit: Sandals are from Italy. Earrings are from Feliz, a little boutique in Fort Greene


heir·loom
ˈerlo͞om/
noun
a valuable object that has belonged to a family for several generations.

Where did you find this beautiful dress?
This dress was given to me when I was 14 by my beautiful aunt Debbie, who is sort of my second mom. I remember thinking it was the most beautiful thing I’d ever own. I think I was too afraid to wear it at first, actually! My aunt has an affinity for comely clothing. This dress was a gift from the theater company she worked for in Johannesburg. She did the costuming for all the plays. I certainly inherited her love for clothing and all things beautiful as I now work as a stylist and illustrator in NYC.

img_0030

I was too afraid to wear it at first

Do you remember your aunt wearing it?
Sadly I don’t remember my aunt wearing the dress. It was given to her in the eighties but I’m sure it’s much older than that. She moved to a farm down the road from ours after her city life and daily-daily didn’t really call for fancy dresses. She was most likely in her 20’s when she wore the dress.

fullsizerender-3

Christie’s aunt Debrah in South Africa with brother and son

Can you tell us a little more about your aunt?
My aunt is an amazing artist, decorator and cook. She is stylish in a Jane Berkin way. Simple, elegant and classic. I am in touch with her these days. She’s still on the farm, happy as can be.

What does this piece mean to you?
This dress holds a lot of sentimental value to me. My aunt gave it to me because she has a son and I’m sort of the daughter she never had. I always loved the way she dressed, and looked to her as a style icon. It meant the world to me when she gave me one of her most precious dresses. The most memorable occasion I wore the dress to was a homecoming dance in Highschool.

Would you ever sell the dress?
I could never sell this dress! Perhaps one day, like my aunt I will pass it along to the right person. It’s certainly going to stay in the family.

How would you describe your style? 
I would describe my style as minimal and comfort-centric with details in my accessories. I prefer simple pieces: jumpsuits, dresses, jeans with t-shirts. And I love shoes! I don’t like to spend a lifetime getting dressed in the morning, so having pieces I know work well are key.

img_0210

How do you like to shop?
I like to let clothing find me. I prefer smaller shops and one of a kind pieces. Some of my favorite places are No. 6, ABC carpet and home, Warm and Housing Works. I don’t shop all that often, but when I do I try to make sure it’s something absolutely amazing, something I love.

I like to let clothing find me

What makes clothing valuable to you?
I think that clothing is an extension of who we are and what we want to share with the world. Finding pieces that embody what we want to express is a beautiful thing. And really fun, too!

img_0114

Photo’s by Simone Larocca 

Leave a Reply