It is time for another “What to Wear” post.
For the month of March, I started off with the theme of dresses. However, I narrowed it down to RED DRESSES because of Sean McConnell’s The Devil’s Ball song (he mentions a little red dress and the idea just flowed).
The Devil’s Ball is a chilling song that starts with almost a Pink Floyd vibe (but not too much) and is about a tough relationship break up. It starts off:
“I started walking.
The day that we died.
I searched the whole world –
trying to find
place that you told me
I had to go
the only world left
for my kinda soul…
I climbed a mountain, crossed a river of blood, I built a boat out of wreckage and wood; I sailed the ocean, finally found….. a hole in the earth, took it all the way down.
The riveting chorus then comes streaming in – and it pierces right into the soul (seriously):
“And I’ve been waiting – where –
the angels fell.
Cause you told me you loved me –
on a cold day in hell.
Well I’m there tonight..
watching that snow fall.
Won’t you go with me
to the Devil’s Ball.
I am still processing the possible meanings layered in his song.
Maybe you could chime in with your thoughts after you hear it (if you decide to listen).
The Devil’s Ball Song:
I was catching up on Delancey Place excerpts. The Husband Hunters entry (here), which also mentioned balls (“ball” is from Latin word ballare, meaning to dance). McAllister was a social mastermind and he devised a plan to use dancing parties, or balls, to create an elite social group. This select group of “twenty-five wealthy men, and their families, would give two, and sometimes three balls a season, as exquisite as possible.” So you see – some of the snobby stuff we encounter was not by chance – it was propagated and designed.
Jamming again to McConnell’s Devil’s Ball song, he mentioned that little red dress:
I’ll fold a white flag –
into a boutonnière
Wear your little RED dress
they’ll love it down here
I’ll show you off
to the boys below
They’re all makin’ bets
that you ain’t goin’ to show
But I’ll be waiting where….
So that, my friend, is what led to today’s RED DRESSES.
First – here the dresses that came to mind when I thought of McConnell’s song:
how these dresses have changed over the years.
Here is what I came up with (not exhaustive, but a little samplin’):
While looking for red dresses, did you know there is a store called the “Red Dress Boutique” – but they have very FEW red dresses for sale (and most were waitlisted – ??)
While looking for red dresses, I ALSO noticed that New Orleans has a red dress run coming up this summer:
Some of Toulouse-Lautrec’s art came to mind:
Toulouse-Lautrec was a successful 19th Century French painter noted for colorful posters and “for imbuing marginalized populations with humanity in his art, including sex workers.” Toulouse-Lautrec was inspired (as were other artists at that time) by the influx of Japanese art (remember that in 1845 Japan opened up to the world and the freshness of Japanese art flooded art communities, which impacted artists like Monet, Vincent van Gogh, and Degas).
Began to wonder about the red dress dye toxicity:
I once heard that “red” dresses were sometimes lethal because of the red dye.
However, it turns out that GREEN dresses were often the deadly choice because dress makers were using arsenic to attain a green tint. Mercury was being used for men’s hats and other items – and this comic depicts the deadliness that was found in the formal wear during the mid-1800’s:
And did you know that Henry Wdsworth Longfellow’s first wife, Mary, DIED when her dress went up in flames?
That led to non-flammable materials.
As we wind down this post, here is a snippet from Ana Linden’s book, Glass Slippers and Stilettos:
That reminded me of some famous red dresses that made an impact:
Did you like the Devil’s Ball song?
I am really enjoying the Secondhand Smoke album.
Is there a famous dress that comes to mind when you hear “red dress”
Thanks for reading.
Author Update – 3-31-2019
Here are the leftovers – with some dresses that could not be left out:
Author Update April 3, 2019
Check out Joanne’s AIDS fundraiser Red Dress Bike Ride HERE