May 30, 2012

The Sacha Drake Dress

A strange series of almost-events happened to me during the final week of the election campaign.

A few days out from polling day, I was approached about being a panelist on a weekend news/lifestyle program the morning of March 24. The discussion would be, predictably, state election focused. I believe the criteria had been "female, from radio, not the ABC", so there wasn't a whole lot of choice, but still, it was lovely to be asked.

I grew a little nervous as I don't have much television experience, and to be honest with you, my brain was in such a campaign-induced fugue I doubted my ability to contribute in any constructive way. Plus I'd have to arrive at 6am.

I was pondering this impending date with a live camera on the second-to-last day of campaigning. It was Thursday morning, the realisation that I would be working until 2am Friday had yet to set in, and I'd bought a delicious sausage roll, so was happy enough hanging out while politicians talked to school-kiddies and parents and whatnot.

Then I noticed one of the mothers was wearing a stunningly smart navy blue dress with white trim. It was dead simple, but beautifully cut, and perfectly captured a "professional yet fun" style. All of a sudden I realised the answer to my TV conundrum. A DRESS. If I wore a great dress, then at least I'd look confident and put-together, even if I didn't feel it.

"Excuse me, I'm really sorry, but can I ask where you got your dress?"

"Oh!" the lady laughed at my ambush. "It's a Sacha Drake. I used to do PR for her, and look, I still am!"

Sacha Drake?

"Is it a Brisbane design?" I asked.

"Oh yes!" the lady replied. "She's fantastic. Makes clothes to fit normal women. They hide everything."

I explained my reasons for asking.

"You know she dresses people for TV all the time," the lady replied. "I can give her a call if you like. She'd probably arrange a loaner for you."

Within 15 minutes, this lady (whose name I frustratingly cannot recall, blame campaign brain) had taken my name and details. Before the bus had even left the school precinct to head to the next electorate stop, Sacha Drake herself rang me.

"No problem!" she said cheerfully, when I relayed the story about the TV, and the random dress-related approach to this lovely stranger.

"Are you sure?" I said. "I don't want to inconvenience you, it is just for a brief appearance."

"I'm always happy to see my clothes on TV!" she said. "I'll get my PR girl to give you a call, and work out some options. What size are you?"

"A 14," I said sheepishly.

"So am I!" she replied. "I've got lots of styles that will suit."

Back on the campaign bus another 15 minutes later, and I received a call from Sacha's PR girl. She took down my email address, and promised to send me pictures of size 14 dresses they had easily accessible, so I could choose one and then pick it up from their Brisbane store.

By the time I received the email, I'd googled Sacha Drake and discovered that she was, in fact, quite well-known and much-beloved for her glamourous yet practical designs.

At this point, I got Very. Excited. For the first time in my life, I was going to be Dressed. I'd approached a random lady, and the universe being what it is, somehow found myself being happily offered a dress to wear by an Actual Fashion Designer.

Of course, the universe being what it is, the excitement would only last a few hours.

Later that Thursday afternoon, I checked my emails again to discover a message from the weekend news/lifestyle program. They'd decided to "change tack" with their segment, and didn't have space for me anymore.

But.... but... but... I was getting Dressed! By a Designer! I'd gotten excited! I'D EVEN TOLD MY PARENTS TO WATCH.

It almost broke my heart to write back to Sacha's PR girl and tell them I was very sorry but I wouldn't be needing the dress after all. TV had rejected me. Well, they hadn't rejected me, they'd just changed their format, but still, sleep-deprived and surrounded by politicians, I felt entitled to feel a bit sorry for myself.

These ladies had been so generous to me, without knowing who the hell I was, and I felt like I'd let them down. I resolved I would go to the Sacha Drake boutique in Paddington and damn well buy myself one of her lovely dresses. It took me a while, but I finally managed to get there last weekend.

I spent close to an hour trying on frocks, with the enthusiastic help of a kind assistant. I was so overwhelmed by the time I finally bought something, that when she asked me to input my PIN into the Eftpos machine, I actually just looked up and TOLD HER THE NUMBER. I have never done that before in my life. Obviously I subconsciously wanted Sacha Drake to have all of my money.

Thankfully, she only took enough to allow me to take home this:

This is my Sacha Drake dress. It's called Iris and I love it. I'm probably never going to have the discipline to lose the weight I probably should, but it's reassuring to know that I can still wear nice things that fit the "professional yet fun" category.

I also developed a bit of a crush on this dress:

It's called the Maddison, and while it comes in several different colours, this sapphire is the best. I tried it on and it was heavenly. But I just don't know where I would wear it! Perhaps if I was invited to more special events? Or maybe I could do some sort of challenge where I wear the dress in a bunch of places you wouldn't actually wear a dress like that. Until I come up with a good justification/sufficient cash it will remain a "one day" purchase.

So that's the story of my close encounter with TV and my Sacha Drake dress. Do you have a tale about an item of clothing that gives you a confidence boost?


  1. Sacha is the best. If you check out her website and look at the Apple shape model - you will find it is mwah :) My one day of fashion model fame. I have many a Sacha frock & in fact wore one on my wedding day in Italy. Best dress designer in Australia in my opinion. This is not a paid comment ;)

  2. That Iris dress is really nice. Not such a fan of the Maddison but it looks like it could be an MCing dress.

  3. I went looking for a hat once. I had a budget of $25 and on a whim I wandered into 'Leather World' (A store entirely inspired by one sixths of the village people). There was a leather hat that had been reduced from $125 to $65. I left and pottered around looking at stuff I didn't want to wear but returned empty handed to gaze and the hat that was out of my price range.

    The sales assistant came up and said 'That's reduced to $25'.

    Angels sang.
    Choirs rejoiced.

    My next girlfriend mocked me when she saw it.

    It's last for over a decade now.
    Much longer than she did.

  4. tqft - thank you!

    Annie - this is not a paid post! :) I DID in fact notice you were one of the models! You're a superstar. Great to fall in step with you as a Sacha fan.

    Sam - do you know, the Maddison dress I think looks MUCH better in the flesh. I don't think the picture does it justice. It was gorgeous on.

    Dan - you and your leather. :)

  5. That is indeed an awesome dress you are wearing, but I don't think it would look as good on me.

  6. Heh I knew your post wasn't paid ... I was just declaring my comment - it was a bit gushy LOL

  7. I'm all about the gushy today, Annie. :)

    Oh wait, that might sound weird!

  8. I have the Iris dress - have had it for 3 years now - I love it. I will be wearing it on Saturday night with a jacket - it feels so good on, I think it looks so good on too.
    Thank you Sasha Drake for this dress !!!!!

  9. Didn't get a photo while you were trying it out? I'll take your word for it. I think we may just have different style in dresses.

  10. Love it - and it was probably Rebecca who you ran into? Dark bob, glasses? I fell in love with Sacha designs about six years ago and have been collecting them ever since! She's a great ambassador for Queensland fashion.

  11. The Maddison was my wedding dress, in melon. Love it, dont know where i will ever wear it again but I cant bear to part with it.

  12. Incidentally, I saw a dress similar to the blue one at one of the wedding dress shops in wiltshire. Just about the only difference was that the wedding dress was obviously longer and came packaged with a matching veil.

  13. I saw a wedding dress that looks like that blue gown above. It was taken by one of those wedding photography perth and I haven't really realized that it looks great up until now.