I probably didn’t ever really want to go to a Gatecrasher ball. It was probably more of a case of saying that I’d been. It was purely for status reasons, you see. Anyway, IF I was going to go had HAD to wear a puffball. That part was non-negotiable. If I didn’t wear one, there was absolutely no point going. The problem was – as I was 16 years old and without a cent to my name – Lady Y had said I couldn’t have one. A dress for just one evening? She looked at me as if I had just landed from outer space.
And then she had a brain wave. We would rent one. There was a shop on Pimlico Road called One Night Stand where there were more beautiful puffballs than I could shake a magic wand at. One was mine – just for the evening. It felt like a perfect compromise.
I hadn’t made the connection when the email first bounded in to my inbox. The PR agency for One Night Stand ( 25 years later still going strong – but now on Flood Street, SW3) was asking if I’d like to meet the founder and admire her frocks. With my sister-in-law’s wedding this summer at Claridges, I was, once again, desperately seeking a dress I’d probably only wear once.
Joanna Doniger lives and breathes her dresses. Quite literally. Her decadent boudiour boutique turns into her studio home once all her Cinderellas have left for the day. Short, long, sequined, bare, sexy, dramatic, elegant… there’s at least ten dresses for every occasion and every figure. I did try on a few but only for the sake of some photography for my blog post. In truth, the very first dress Joanna pulled off the hanger to fit my brief was THE dress. She really is Chelsea’s very own fairy godmother.
I challenge you to find a dress there. And don’t worry if you haven’t got an occasion to wear it. I can bet my bottom dollar you’ll conjure one up when you see yourself in it.
THE dress would have cost me £175 to rent. The matching scarf cover and damage cover are £10 each.
One Night Stand Studio 8 Chelsea Manor Studios Flood Street Chelsea SW3 020 7352 4848