I gave away another blouse today – this one made from a single rectangle of diaphanous blue-and-white tie-dyed fabric. I bought it in the hope that it could replace a similarly flowy blouse I bought years ago in Japan from Issey Miyake’s Pleats Please line in Japan. I loved the top madly but tragically lost it in a hotel room in Spain because I was pregnant and forgot I’d hung it in the closet. I’ve been trying to replace it for ten years but this blue-and-white one didn’t work for me. However, I thought of someone it would look stunning on, a new friend Karlee, a beautiful young mother of a fourth-grader at our son Theo’s school who is also fashion designer and is developing a line of elegant tie-dyed cotton pants, dresses and shawls. Not only would it fit with her style but it might also inspire her to add another design to her collection. When she pulled it out of the bag and said just that, I was thrilled.
Dress designed by Karlee, front and back
Karlee and I have had very different life paths. A Southern gal almost twenty years younger than me, Karlee had her daughter Isabella when she was 18. I was 38 when I had Theo. She is now raising her daughter almost entirely single-handedly as she launches her career in the world of fashion. At her age, I was trying to launch my career too, but I didn’t have a child to care for at the same time, so I could move 6,000 miles across the world for a job. Now I am trying to keep my career alive while I struggle with parenting. Like me, though, Karlee lives far from her family, a family that is getting smaller. At the end of the summer break, I bumped into her in the grocery store she told me that she had just lost her step-mother, with whom she was very close. At that moment, I felt our lives connecting. I lost my mother when I was her age, and summer break last year, I had been feeling my father slipping away further mentally. As we stood by the olive bar, tears filling our eyes, feeling each other’s loss, I realized that in life there is never a perfect time in life to become a parent and there is never a good time to lose a parent, but every moment is a good time to give someone a hug and make a new friend.