The Story of the Dress
Posted on Monday, March 23, 2009
The dress is fabulous.
To start from the very beginning – even before Noah and I got engaged we were talking about getting married “in space”. Friends sent links to various blog stories about “The world’s first zero gravity dress” – which was designed by Japanese haute couture designer Eri Matsui for a company called spacewedding.jp. The spacewedding.jp company will start launching couples into a low-earth orbit in 2011 for just 2.2 million.
When Noah and I decided to get married in zero gravity, I immediately thought of the zero gravity dress. Was it expensive beyond our reach? I had a friend in Japan (who was an exchange student at my high school, and who Noah and I stayed with in Japan in our 2007 trip) call up the Eri Matsui store and ask.
The price turned out to be reasonable – it’s on the high end for an average American wedding dress, and inexpensive for a designer dress. (I don’t know if it’s polite to talk about the price…)
I’m a T-shirt and jeans type of girl, so I really had no idea what “haute couture” meant. It turns out it means they custom make it for you. The Eri Matsui people said they would make the dress for me – how soon could I come to Japan? Also, it would take one month to make the dress.
I started freaking out – would I have to leave for Japan tomorrow? I didn’t really have plans, but what would I pack? What books should I bring? A whole month? After some back and forth with my friend in Japan and the Eri Matsui folks, we agreed that if I sent my measurements ahead of time, it would take only a few weeks.
I wanted to make a good impression on the designer, so before I left I bought a couple of new outfits with help from my most fashionable friend. We could get a discount on the dress with enough media exposure, so I wanted to seem business-like. We would be filming the dress fitting for film/TV exposure, so I also purchased a nice bra just in case.
The day after the plane landed I was to go to the shop to try on the “rough dress”. My fancy outfit-to-wear-to-the-fitting became wrinkled on the plane (those closets are only for business class?!), so my first mission was to iron it.
A couple Noah and I are friends with had just moved to Tokyo for work and offered up their couch. Unfortunately, they just moved two weeks before my arrival, so the internet hasn’t been installed and they are lacking furniture. They also didn’t have an iron (yet). James wanted to buy a pants press like he’d used at a hotel once, so we made a special trip the day of the fitting to buy a pants press.
To throw a couple more monkey wrenches into the plan, other things were happening the same day as the fitting. James, who would also be my cameraman, had an interview at Sony.
My friend Ed got me into a major manga industry event – a party celebrating the 50th anniversary of Shounen Sunday. Hundreds of manga artists would be there, including Rumiko Takahashi (the top selling female comic artist in the world, best known in America for Ranma 1/2 and Inuyasha). This might be my only chance to see Ms. Takahashi live.
We rescheduled the time of the fitting around my Japanese friend’s schedule, and around my schedule, and James moved his interview. To complicate matters, Eri Matsui’s shop wanted cash. Before I left Japan, Noah went to several banks and signed a lot of forms to prove he wasn’t a terrorist so I could have all the yen necessary to pay for my dress.
Getting back to the day of, it turns out a pants press doesn’t work on a regular dress. I steamed my clothes in the bathroom as well as I could and went to a very fashionable part of Tokyo a little wrinkly.
My new shoes had been OK in the store but now seemed absurdly large. I could barely walk. We were running late! My Japanese friend (M—) couldn’t find a place to park.
In the end, it turned out fine. The rough dress looked great on me. My underwear was never caught on film. Eri Matsui herself was very nice, and spoke some English from the time she spent living in Chicago. I made some decisions about the veil and the cut of the floaty bits in the skirt/pants part of the dress.
Basically, the dress makes me look like a space princess, which is pretty awesome.
I owe a lot of thanks to M—- and James for putting up with me and translating and giving me the kleenex to stuff into my new shoes.
At the end of the fitting I jumped in a cab to head for the manga event at the Tokyo Imperial Hotel.