Saturday, March 14, 2009

Slightly Guinness Induced Rant: Irish Dancing Dresses

Niece No. 1 (Vanessa): Snubbed me royally when I tried to get her to pose for a picture. Usually, I'm not used to this kind of treatment. I mean, I'm a cool aunt. I can do things that her parents can't or won't. For example, I let Vanessa watch "Dancing with the Stars" back when Julianne Hough and her partner, pony-tailed Olympian Apolo Anton Ohno, were fodder for gossip. She instantly had a crush on the guy, and all that glitter, faux tan, spandex made such a huge impact on her that she still talks about that one episode two years later. I wonder if the dress she's wearing above isn't a little boring for her taste? If so, in a few years she can graduate to the neon-hued dresses the older girls wear. Wait til the end of this post for a rant on these expensive dresses. I need to finish my Guinness and wipe off my foam mustache, ok?

No. 2 (Lucia) (middle two photos): She too snubbed me! I barely recognized in her wig, which I swear dwarfed her. She looked like she was drowning in dark brown ringlets. But she was a natural out on the dance floor, otherwise known as Tommy Nevin's Pub in Evanston. This is a girl so flexible she walks around with her toes curled under. Naturally, she has calluses in unusual places on her feet.

No. 3 (Elena): Younger than Vanesssa, older than Lucia, Elena also acted like she didn't know me! What is it? Do I smell or is it...I'm an adult just like all those parents in the room? That must be it. When it's just the two of us and the rest of the world, she will acknowledge me, beg me to swing her around until she's so dizzy she can barely stand, play games on my cell phone, dig around in my purse for make-up.

They all looked so cute in their dresses, which I know cost a small fortune (perhaps not Lucia's..hers appears simple). What is the appeal to having these garments made in Ireland? I know this dance, the costumes are all about tradition, but I studied these dresses...I saw laces and wovens that I know aren't from the Emerald Isle, but more likely the country shaped like a boot. So you have the bragging rights of having a dress made in Ireland...but it's really expensive (hundreds of dollars). The exact dress could probably made for less here in the U.S. with the identical materials. No one would know (unless you got 'em drunk on Beamish) that it was made in North America and not on the other side of the ocean. No one! Those crochet collars could be handmade by a granny or found in a thrift shop and stitched on with a sewing machine. All that embroidery? It's all done by machine, why not just hoop up the fabric and do the magic locally a Viking embroidery machine even if you had to rent it? Maybe when it's all said and done, adding up the labor and the lux fabrics, it comes still adds up to be an expensive dress. I just don't get sending hard-earned dollars overseas when the same thing could be stitched up within five miles of your own home. Loca-vores are all about eating vegetables grown practically in their backyards, why not do the same with expensive, custom clothes? If I had a little girl who wanted to get into this pricey hobby, I'd be firing up the sewing machine and scouring the remnants at Vogue Fabrics' bridal section faster than you can dial 847-864-9601. Tell me: Would a dancer be scorned if she wear a dress that her mom made not some sewer in Ireland?

1 comment:

MaryPat R said...

Unfortunately-she might. The teachers usually must approve the choice of dressmaker. There are plenty of DMs in the US and Canada though.
Sadly, there is a fashion to these dresses as opposed to the strict tradition of Highland and some other dance styles. The Irish styles change so quickly that it can be hard to keep up.