Two winters ago, I finally got my digital paws on The Stella McCartney Fruit Skirt — slits, pleats, citrus prints and all — after fortuitously stumbling upon it on Yoox.com. I waited the full 3-5 business days for it to arrive and when it did, I loved it more than I had when it first came out. Not because it was steeply discounted — though that was certainly a variable that aided my no-brainer attitude toward proprietorship — but simply because I liked that it felt new and exciting a full season and change after it had already flourished on its runway, then in enumerable editorials, and then finally, in season, in stores and, yes, full price.
Though it had always felt cool (perhaps simply by virtue of being Stella McCartney), the skirt felt cool in a different way now. Completely devoid of the perils tethered to being “on trend” (I will never look at tigers or Bambi on sweatshirts the same way again), it marked a very pure fondness that was divorced from any other modifying implications for the print.
I felt great about having it A.C.E. — after common era, the same way I would have had I been able to find Dolce and Gabbana’s eggplants after they’d seen every marginal red carpet in this town. To me, it seemed, these prints became like a fine red wine that only bettered with age.
The thing about wine, though, is that once you drink it, it’s gone. With my clothes – and their poignant prints, the memories live on in a very real, very tangible way.
Take for example, the first time I wore my skirt. It was at a wedding in Mexico, where the prescribed dress code was “black tie” and therefore a relatively casual (as categorized on Yoox), white-based skirt had no place. And though I knew several Rabbis would be in attendance, not even that could stop me from debuting the skirt with slits so high, it’s a true achievement that my thighs did not develop nosebleeds. I was eager and therefore didn’t care but karma made sure I’d pay for the blatant disrespect and just 45 minutes into the procession, an entire carafe of red wine fell out of its glass and into my lap.
I know, I know, so meta.
Ultimately, the skirt made it, but that night was rough.
Though wearing a print fresh from the hand of its graphic designer while in season certainly lends itself to a memory you can revisit every time you open your closet, waiting to own it allows you to tie another element to that process of recalled sentimentality. When Amelia sees the bananas indicative of Prada’s spring 2011 collection, she is throttled back to her internship at Condé Nast. She never made the print — and therefore the physical memory — her own, but when I see Stella McCartney’s fruit, before I can remember the score that made a quotidian afternoon far more spectacular, or the wedding I never should have worn it to, I’m 20 years old again and laying in bed.
My computer is on my stomach and I’m at my parents’ apartment where I still live. I’m clicking through Ms. McCartney’s spring slideshow on my fashion week portal: Style.com. Law and Order: SVU is on in the background but I don’t really hear it because all I can think about is whether I’ll ever be able to participate in a trend so cool. I walk to my tiny closet to see if there is anything in there that could be rendered even remotely similar and there I stand, neglecting a legion of past memories, anticipating an acidic future.