by Cathleen E. Rossiter
“If you don’t design your own life plan, you end up following someone else’s. Guess what they have planned for you. Not much.” –Jim Rohn –
Haute Couture has long been a fascination with me since, one rainy Saturday afternoon, my eight-year old eyes first beheld Irene Dunne helping Ginger Rogers select gowns in the private viewing room of a Paris fashion house in the 1935 movie Roberta. The concept of having my clothes designed specifically for my tastes, style, and petite figure was revolutionary and a heavenly idea to contemplate.
I imagined myself choosing silk velvets the color of the claret in Nana’s crystal decanter, chestnut suede as soft as a summer rain, lemon chiffon to match my friend Lydia’s birthday cake, whisper-weight cashmere as blue as the ocean in summer and soft as the evening breeze. These fabrics took form, in my imagination, on the designer’s sketchpad as we talked, becoming a beautifully hand-smocked, puffed-sleeved Christmas dress with tonal lace collar and cuffs; a riding skirt to wear belted with my red gingham shirt and Bing Cherry mary-janes; a sleeveless, empire waist dress with white linen peter-pan collar, seven layers of silk chiffon in graduated shades of lemon tied at the waist with a wide satin ribbon; and a simple, long-sleeved sweater dress in which to curl up on my imaginary front porch to read the day away.
Apparently, as soon as I learned to dress myself I would change outfits three times a day, searching for the one that expressed my mood at that moment. When one considers the fact that a love of high fashion and the possession of an impeccable sense of style runs in my family on both sides, my instant love and quick study is not surprising. Both of my grandmothers had flawless taste and an easy chicness, as did their mothers, with my mother easily holding her own in their company.
I remember the first time that, newly initiated into the ranks of the gainfully employed (with the same evergreen polyester uniform and visor that most of my high school friends sported to prove it) I went clothes shopping. Feeling giddy with the freedom that the hard-earned money in my wallet gave me, yet unskilled in the art of resisting peer pressure, I bought a goldenrod T-shirt emblazoned with the crimson seal of the fictitious university Psychotic State.
Rather than listening to my voice and following my original plan to purchase a pair of navy wedge-heeled, ankle-wrap espadrilles, I followed someone else’s plan and didn’t have much to show for my efforts on the job. Although the t-shirt held a certain rebellious appeal for a suburban-status-quo-kinda-girl, I regretted wasting such a milestone moment. I regretted falling into step to someone else’s plan.
This simple shopping experience changed my life and still colors every decision I make. I am not always successful at keeping out of step in other’s plans for my life but those instances are a rarity. The lessons I learned from this simple high school shopping endeavor are the reason I am passionate about helping people find their voice, unleash their message and express that message in a manner custom designed, cut, and tailored to their figures, tastes, and styles. Once you have a taste for the experience of a couture salon, particularly when it comes to expressing your passion that your business represents, you will joyfully sing along with Paolo Nutini,