It must be every young girl’s fantasy to tackle something that is pretty, sparkling, fluffy and lace-y. The sweet romance that this fairy tale gown evokes simply makes my nimble hands tremble in delight as I begin to embellish it one 3-centimeter sized sequin at a time. My left forefinger sweats in excitement every time it picks up a sequin or two from the cup, transferring it onto the needle on my right hand that’s eagerly anticipating.
Ella Fitzgerald’s trademark jazz reverberates across the atelier which makes my humming to her lyrics inevitable. It is during such moments at daytime that I get to focus intently on this therapeutic process that is hand-sewing. I can do this all day. For what can be more ideal than participating in your own dreams and fantasies with full consciousness? As the wedding gown that I am working on lies submissively on the table, I am beginning to infer that there is one thing that can make this living-my-dream declaration even more rewarding. Wearing a self-made wedding gown to my own wedding, what else! Preposterous Idea Alert… Preposterous Idea Alert…
Thankfully, I poked my thumb at the right moment.
Still in denial that I am unconsciously getting better in my Singlish, I muttered a heartfelt “Aiyohhh!” Suddenly I am awakened from my own dream within a dream state. It is at this point that The Designer noticed me and casually remarked “You’re so skinny… you don’t eat much?” I know it sounds a bit unrealistic to retort how much of a meat-eater and carbs-gobbler I am. And that I find trying to put on weight more difficult than, say, being constrained in a medieval corset all week. But having been asked countless times by different individuals, my honest auto-response answer would always be along that line.
He approached me from behind to check on my progress. He bent down to scrutinize how I have been treating the delicate tulle so far. “Wrong already…” he calmly declared. Somehow I wasn’t surprised and I knew that my amateur skills needed tough love. Caught up in the thrill of sewing on transparent sequins onto the designs, I didn’t realize that the thread is no longer neatly hidden among the embroidered lace flowers. It is one of those things that I would like to be considered as a vital mistake in the sense that experiencing it would and should lead to the furthering of one’s own passion. And an haute couture house wouldn’t be classified as such if not for the careful attention to detail, among other criteria.
It is romantic and ethereal. Yet the wedding gown is far from finished and lots of work still needs to be done. The hundreds of man-hours that are being devoted to this piece of art would culminate in the wedding day where the key ingredients of blood, sweat and
blood stains tears will be aptly rewarded. But until that day comes, Rumplestiltskin’s elves shall continue to toil. Nonetheless, the premises of our atelier almost always make me feel that the world is at standstill. That whatever beauty or glamour I am surrounded with shall remain as such. That everything remains calm and orderly, permanently inspiring like that Fitzgerald serenade. But I might again be dreaming within a dream.
My housemate reminded me that our main tenant’s lease is expiring in a few days and we will eventually start looking for a new flat. We are lucky that good friend Angel allowed us to rent her room for a month until we found a more proper place. Marie and I will be waking up to the quaint streets of Tiong Poh once again. A dream-catcher is in order.