Thank you so much for reading my story.
This is a work in progress which began Sunday the 26th of November 2017.
Part I and Part II are complete.
Parts III thru VI have yet to be completed.
I am posting it online so you can read it as I write.
It is in an unedited state at the moment, 
so if you find any errors, please let me know!
(also, any questions, comments or feedback)
onceuponaworthgown at gmail dot com

You can also follow my Instagram

Have a wonderful day!

all the best,

Monica Seggos


On May 3, 2001,
a c.1888 velvet, cut velvet and satin court train and gown
designed by couturier Charles Frederick Worth
sold at Doyle New York for $101,500 (including buyer's premium)
setting a new world record for an antique dress sold at auction
Worth Gown Doyle New York Auction
Charles Frederick Worth c.1888 Velvet and Satin Court Train and Gown (photo via Doyle New York)
This is the story of the dress


Chapter 1:  The Attic

My father was a painter from Corfu, Greece,
and my mother was an opera singer.
They met in Paris where my father was studying to be an architect
and my mother was studying at the Sorbonne.
I was born in Manhattan and grew up in Greenwich, CT.
From the outside looking in, 
my childhood was one for the storybooks, 
but in reality it was oceans away from being idyllic.  
My experiences are not part of this story,
except to convey to the reader that because of them,
I was constantly looking for solace.  
Even though I had three sisters and one brother, I was a loner.
I found solace in nature, 
the wild animals and birds, in the woods and by The River,
in tending to flowers and growing a vegetable garden.
Greenwich, CT
I was a voracious reader and devoured stories that transported me to other worlds,
other lives, other dreams, other resolutions and happy endings.
I adored classic movies and was swept away
by the dramas and glamour of Old Hollywood.  
I dreamed of being a movie star, of wearing intoxicating gowns, and of winning Oscars.
Greenwich, CT
And, I found solace in The Attic.
The Attic was overflowing with treasures.
It was the place where my mom kept her best pieces,
hidden away and protected from thieves, should they ever break in.
Jewels, silver and silver flatware, antiques,
boxes filled with memories of the past.
 And a trunk full of antique clothing.
It was magical.
These treasures were physical manifestations
of my dreams, and with them and amongst them,
I created my own reality.
In The Attic, I lived that reality
the house of The Attic
I was drawn to The Attic like the tides to the moon.
Being up there in the midst of all those treasures brought me such joy.
Such comfort and solace.
Visiting it was like a ritual.
The stairs dropped from the ceiling in the hall next to my parent's bedroom.
 I had to jump to grab the cord that would bring the folded up 
ladder down to me.
I loved opening them up and putting them down on the floor
Even now, I can feel the creaks and groans of the wooden slats
that were the steps
as my head disappeared into the darkness
I would pull the cord attached to the bulbs
at the point of the roof to light my way.  
The Attic encompassed the whole layout of the house.  
Not all parts of it were accessible however.  
There was a brown wood plank floor that did not extend fully 
from side to side.
The sides under the eaves, were exposed 
and filled with piles of pink fiberglass insulation
(which had actual shards of glass in it in those days-
I really had to be careful, because it was painful!)
One whole section of the house did not have a floor,
just a bed of the insulation.
At one end was the top half of the brick fireplace,
which extended up through the roof.  
There were no safety rails where the stairs dropped down
It was just a big rectangular hole of bright light from beneath.
(Luckily, I never fell through there!)
When I first came up the stairs, straight ahead to the left 
were metal poles hanging from the ceiling
where bags of clothing were hung.
Some of the clothing was my mom's clothing (vintage to me)
some were from when we were little, some were seasonal, 
being stored for the right time of year to be worn.
At the other end of the attic against the wall was a metal dress form.
Nothing in that area ever moved or changed places.  
The metal dress form was always there and is still there, fixed in my mind's eye.
My favorite place in The Attic, the reason I spent so much time up there,
was where the trunk was.
The trunk filled with antique clothing.
I called it the family trunk.
It had it's own particular smell, so that every time I opened it
I would be overwhelmed with the feeling of happiness and knowing
that I would encounter beauty as soon as I smelled it.
The smell is so ingrained in my memory that I can conjure it up
without having to open the trunk.
In that trunk, there were incredible, breathtaking gowns.
Sometimes, I would wear them.  
Sometimes it was just enough to look at them and touch them.
I cannot remember how many times I must have unpacked and repacked those gowns
into the trunk just so I could see them again.
I didn't think about how they were worn or imagine who wore them,
I just absorbed their essence that was still present. 
There was one gown in particular that I loved.  
It had this huge velvet cape that I used to love to wrap around me.
It was so long and I was so short, 
that there was a long train behind me when I wore it. 

Then, back down there stairs again
to complete the ritual.
Fold up the stairs, 
and push them back up into the ceiling, 
the cord once again out of reach.
The Attic. 
I never saw anyone else go up there.  
It was my secret passageway.  My hidden room.
It was magic.  
Chapter 2:  My Grandmother

Years later, I was a single mom living on Nantucket.
I ended up there after graduating from college.
My dad wanted me to be a stock broker in NYC, so I moved to the island.
My 3 year old son and I had been living on a boat in the harbor,
and with help from a great aunt
I had bought a piece of property and was building a home.
(this was before the real estate boom there).
I was the contractor and my dear friend Jacques, 
who is my son's godfather, designed the home, framed it
and installed the radiant floor heating for me.
(There aren't enough words to express my gratitude for his help)
It was at this time that my mother gifted me the family trunk 
with all the beautiful gowns inside.
Our home was tiny (If I remember correctly the house was 832 sq feet),
our floors were painted plywood, 
and the interior was unfinished, but it had a full basement.
That is where I stored the trunk
with all the beautiful gowns in it,
including a Worth gown.
with my son on Nantucket
I incorporated a lot of antique plumbing, doors and fixtures
into my home, because I could find them inexpensively or for free
on the island.  I had a claw foot tub and an oversized laundry sink
which I used for my kitchen.  My friend Tim was always bringing me
antique doors to install in the house.
The only piece I truly coveted, was an antique (new) stove.
I had seen the ad in a home decor magazine.
I decided to ask my grandmother to see if she would buy it for me.
I had never asked her for anything before, but I reasoned that she
had helped my sisters with their weddings and bought them gifts for their homes
and I thought she would be happy to help.
She said no.

I was terribly hurt, not because I wanted a material object,
but because I felt like I was being treated differently.
I also felt that my step-grandfather was behind the no
and that my grandmother went with his decision.
From the beginning my step-grandfather and I didn't like each other.
I remember him hitting me with a brush when I was 3 years old.  
We had never warmed up to each other.
my grandmother
My real grandfather died in WWII.  His plane went down 
and to this day, he is still considered MIA.
When we were growing up,
we never had a relationship with our grandparents.  
My mother had a difficult relationship with her step-father.
 He disliked my father immediately and was against their marriage.
For me, it was not about not getting the stove,
 it was about the feeling of 
being unloved and unwanted.

Chapter 3:  The Dream

When my son was almost 6, we moved across the sea to Cape Cod.
By that time my grandmother had passed away.
There had never been any time to speak
or repair the emotional rift that occurred.
There had never really been any connection to begin with.
It just never happened.
I sold our little house on Nantucket, and, with that money,
we were able to buy an antique building in Harwichport.
 We lived upstairs and had a shop downstairs.
The trunk came with us, and I stored it in the garage at the back of the house.
It had a magnificent porch facing the main street
and wonderful customers came into the store.
One of those customers became a good friend.
She was a pretty, worldly, and savvy French woman who was a book dealer.
Whenever I saw her, she was with her two toy Pomeranians.
Since she was French, I told her about the Worth gown in the trunk.

After about two years of owning the shop,
I was really struggling.
My business was seasonal, financially stable during the summer months
but slow as molasses in the off season.
My debts had accumulated and I was under a lot of stress and pressure.
During that time, I had gone to see a psychic in town.
 I don't remember anything she said except,
"There's someone here who wants to say they're sorry,
do you accept their apology?"
I said no.
I knew it was my grandmother.  
I was not trying to get revenge on her, 
I was just incredulous that she was dead and came to me out of the blue
under those circumstances to ask for forgiveness.
I didn't even have a relationship with her!
I didn't even know her.
One day my friend the book dealer came to me, and said,
"Look what I sold for $40!"
It was a small catalogue from
The Museum of the City of New York
of a Worth exhibition.
(This was the year 2000.
The beginning of the online selling boom
on Amazon and eBay.)
 I said, "Wow, if you sold that for $40, I wonder how much my dress is worth?!!"

(as an aside, there are now two The Museum of the City of New York
"The House of Worth" Catalogs on Amazon, priced at $500 each)
I did some research on Google.
At that time Google was not the search engine it is now.
These days you can look up auction results and sales with the click of a link.
Back then, the only information that came up about
Charles Frederick Worth was a biographical history.
I did not know how I was supposed to go about finding out
how much Worth gowns sold for and where to sell one.

Chapter 4:  Doyle New York

One night I had a dream.
My grandmother came to me
and told me,
"I am going to help you now."
At that moment, I had no concept of what the dream could mean.
How could my grandmother help me
when she was no longer alive.
 I went on with my day and thought no more of it.

When we moved to Harwichport,
my son would have had to change schools.
For his sake, 
I applied to be able to keep him in the Cotuit school system.
It meant that I drove him to school and picked him up every day,
an hour back and forth in the morning 
and an hour back and forth in the evening.
Soon after the dream, I was early picking him up one day,
so I decided to stop in Joann Fabrics to look at some patterns.
Next to the patterns was a bookstand, 
so I decided to look through the books.
There was a book about vintage textiles and vintage clothing.
 I picked it up and opened it
right to the page where there was a Worth gown,
how much it sold for, 
and the auction house it sold at.
A huge wave of goosebumps washed over me.
My grandmother helped me, this is what she meant,
I thought.

Vintage Textiles by Elizabeth Kurella, 1999
When I got home,
I got the Doyle New York contact information I needed 
However, it took several days for me to give them a call
All of a sudden, I began to doubt what I had, 
that somehow I had misread the label
and it really wasn't a Worth.
This was going to be my first time contacting
a major auction house to consign.
I had grown up in the NYC area,
was well traveled,
yet I felt like such a neophyte
(these were all the thoughts going through my mind!).

Finally, nerves or not,
I made the call to Doyle
and I connected with Jan Glier Reeder, 
Doyle's couture specialist.
I told her that I wasn't sure about the label
(to be true, I had never doubted the Worth
until I had to make this call!!)
She asked me questions about 
condition and then asked me to fax her
a photo of the label and the fabric.
I did so.
the fax to Jan Reeder at Doyle New York, 30 Jan 2001
"You have what you thought,"
said Jan when she called me back.
"When can you bring the dress to New York?"

I asked Jan when the next auction
was scheduled for and how far in advance
she would need to have the gown.
She told me May
and to come right away.
I made plans to go as soon as I could.
Since it was a weekday,
I had to take my son out of school 
and I had to make sure it was all right.
I decided we should make an adventure of the trek.
The drive from Harwichport to NYC
was about 4.5 hours, so I decided to pick my son up from school
and drive to Newport, RI to spend the night.
When the day came, 
I emptied the trunk of everything except the pieces 
I was interested in consigning, including the Worth.

When I put the trunk in the back seat of the truck,
I noticed a tag attached to the lock
that I never saw before.
"Lovely old dresses"
it said,
in my grandmother's handwriting.
Not once, in all the times I had played in the trunk
or since I had owned it, did I ever look at the tag.
 Another wave of goose bumps washed over me.

I picked my son up from school 
and we drove to Newport.
It was always one of our favorite getaways.
We loved visiting the mansions,
going to the restaurants
and shopping the vintage stores.
Our favorite place to stay was The Hotel Viking.
It was at the top of the hill, within walking distance of everything, 
it had a pool, and, at the time, it had not been updated.
We loved the old Newport feel of it, as if we were staying in one of the mansions.

I wanted to get on the road right after breakfast
 to get to The City
at a reasonable hour for the auction house.
I had parked the truck under the hotel in a fenced in area,
so it was protected, but I heaved a sigh of relief anyway
when I saw that it, and the trunk, were still there. 
We got on the road,
and to this day,
it was the most surreal drive I have ever been on.
It was a weekday, on the I-95 corridor from RI to NYC,
and there was no one on the road except us!!
Anyone who has ever driven that stretch of road 
understands how unusual this is.
All the way to NYC, to Doyle,
the way was open for us.
Doyle New York
175 E. 87th St.

When we arrived at Doyle's, I gave Jan a call
and she told me to pull up to the freight entrance 
and put the trunk on the elevator.
We did and then went to park.
By the time we got upstairs,
the trunk had been opened.
 I had put the other pieces on the top layer
so they had not gotten to the Worth yet.
I wouldn't have wanted to miss Jan's reaction for the world.

She reached into the trunk and pulled up
the velvet cape (the one I used to wear in The Attic)
and in a shocked gasp said, "It's a court train!!!!!"
(I said to myself, "What's a court train?")
"Girls," she said to her two interns helping her,
"Pay attention.  You will never see this again in your life.
It is like finding a Van Gogh!"
It turned out that the cape was not a cape at all,
it was a 10 and a half foot train which attached at the back of the skirt!
I had always wondered why it didn't rest naturally on my shoulders
and why it didn't have some type of closure.
Jan explained that a court train was
worn by the highest of society who were to be presented to royalty.

After pulling the rest of the gown out of the trunk,
Jan asked if there was any provenance.
I said, "I know we are related to
George Washington.
If you give me the date of the gown,
I can call my mom and see who wore the dress."
I called my mom from Doyle's 
and we figured out my great-great-grandmother was the one 
who wore the gown.
 At the time, her father was the ambassador to Portugal,
so that would have made sense as far as a court presentation was concerned.
At that point, Kathy Doyle had come into the room
and introduced herself and to meet us
and express her interest in the gown
(I didn't know how she knew to come and see, 
but one of the interns must have left the room to go and tell her the news).

Jan was writing up the receipt and give me an estimate for the dress.
I noticed she was hesitant about coming up with a number,
so I told her not to worry, she could let me know 
when she had a better idea. 
 Finally we had to leave.
We had to get back to Cape Cod so my son could go to school the next day.
We left in a daze.
On the way home, we stopped in Old Greenwich 
to get some fried chicken at Garden Catering.
We sat in Binney Park to have a picnic and to unwind from our experience.
On the drive back, I could not stop thinking of my grandmother
and how she had helped me, as she had said she was going to
in my dream.

Chapter 5:  The Provenance

Martha Washington is my 7th great-grandmother
George Washington is simultaneously
my 8th step great-grandfather
my 7th great uncle
monica seggos
Martha and George Washington

 George and Martha adopted Martha's grandchildren
Eleanor (Nellie) and George Custis
(this is where the step great-grandfather comes in)
Nellie married
George's nephew Lawrence Lewis
(this is where the great uncle comes in)
Lawrence Lewis and Eleanor (Nellie) Custis
Their son Lorenzo married Esther Maria Coxe
Lorenzo Lewis and Esther Maria Coxe
Lorenzo Lewis
Their son Edward married Mary Picton Stevens (Garnett)
Col. Edward Parke Custis Lewis and Mary Picton Stevens Garnett
(Col. Custis was the ambassador to Portugal)

Mary Picton Stevens Garnett Lewis
Their daughter was the one who wore the gown and married Charles Merrill Chapin
Charles Merrill Chapin and Esther Maria Lewis
(Esther Maria Lewis wore the Worth gown-she was my great-great-grandmother)
Their daughter Mary Stevens married Shepard Krech
Shepard Krech and Mary Stevens Chapin
Their daughter was my grandmother, Mary Esther Krech who married William Jackson
William Brinkerhoff Jackson and Mary Esther Krech
Their daughter is my mother, Mary Stevens Jackson (Lylee Krech)
Mary Stevens Jackson (Lylee Krech) and Eleftherios Pericles Seggos
My mother pregnant with me, and my father
Monica Alexandra Seggos (me)
My great-great grandmother Esther Maria Lewis Chapin
My great-grandmother Mary Stevens Chapin Krech holding my mom
My grandmother Mary Esther Krech Jackson
Mary Stevens Krech
Mary Esther Krech Jackson
Mary Stevens Jackson
in Vogue Magazine, November 1946, Volume 108, Issue 8
Illustrated by Carl Erickson (Eric)

Chapter 6:  The Cover

A couple of days later, Jan called to update me.
She said, "This is not like finding a Van Gogh,
this is like finding a Rembrandt."
My inner self glowed, and I replied,
"Good, I am glad.  Rembrandt was
my favorite painter as a child."
I shared the story of my grandmother and my dream.
Everything felt so surreal
while at the same time
it felt like it was meant to be.

Of course, I kept my friend the bookdealer
up to date with everything that was 
happening with the gown.
She was much more experienced with
high end auctions and she suggested that I ask
whether the gown would be on the cover of the catalogue.
She told me that the cover reflected the importance 
of the piece to the auction.

The next time I spoke with Jan,
I asked her about the cover.
She told me they had already chosen the cover.

Several weeks later,
she gave me a call out of the blue
to let me know, that indeed,
the Worth would be on the cover 
and that they were doing the photo shoot
in the next several days.

I was thrilled!

During this time,
I got the estimate.
Initially the gown was estimated
at $10,000
but when I received my copy in the mail
the estimate was confirmed
at between $15-20,000.

Chapter 7:  The Preview

Time was going so quickly,
and at the same time, so slowly.
I was still under enormous pressure financially.
I was fearful and hopeful at the same time,
but no matter what, I was ready and willing to accept
whatever happened.  The experience alone
was so unique and so special.
It was such a gift,
and I felt that my grandmother had her hand in it
every step of the way.
I felt that it was all because of her that this was happening.

Finally the time was upon us!
My son and I planned on going to the viewing.
We were not going to attend the auction itself,
because it meant taking him out of school again.
We decided to go the viewing on Sunday the 29th of April.
My friend Karen came with us,
 and we all drove down to The City together.
It was really fun to share the excitement with someone else.

When we walked into Doyle New York,
on Sunday the 29th of April 2001,
there it was
The Worth Gown
Beautifully displayed
on a bed of fragrant boxwood
with the 10 and a half foot train extended behind it.
For the first time, 
I got to see the gown
as it should have been and had been worn.
I was overwhelmed.

I found Jan to say hello,
and the first thing she said was,
"I can't believe you are here right now.
Bill Cunningham is here at the same time!!"
She told me that Bill had some of his work
in the auction too, and she promptly took me to see him.
Of course I knew Bill's work,
but I had never met him before,
I was thrilled at the opportunity to be introduced.
Later on, I realized that Jan was right.
It was extremely serendipitous that Bill and I were there at the same time.
It turned out that he was thrilled to meet me too!
He was really excited about the Worth gown.
He kept saying over and over again,
"This is an historic event!
This is an historic event!
He was so happy and he offered to take our picture with the gown.
While he was taking the photos, he kept saying,
"This is an historic event!!"

Here they are:
Monica Seggos Robbie von Kampen
Monica Seggos and Robbie von Kampen by Bill Cunningham
Monica Seggos Robbie von Kampen
Monica Seggos and Robbie von Kampen by Bill Cunningham

I was more than delighted to have these pictures, as you can imagine.
I love how he thought to take pictures of us from both ends of the display.
(note the sprig of boxwood my son put in his pocket!
We still have that sprig, dried and kept in a box.)
I feel so lucky to have these photos.
They are special, and I treasure them.
I still have the dress I wore that day
Like many of the vintage pieces I have collected over the years,
it doesn't have a label.
I was always more interested in the design and the fit
of vintage, rather than the label.
I will always treasure the memories associated with this dress
All the way home,
and for the next few days,
all I could think about was Bill saying over and over again,
"This is an historic event."
I was worried about taking my son out of school,
but even he was saying,
"What if something happens,
and we aren't there?"
I was thinking the same thing .

After I dropped my son at school that morning,
I decided we were going to go.
It meant that I would need to get in touch with my friend Holly
to see if we could stay with her.
She lived in The City on the Upper West Side, just off Central Park West.

Not only did she say yes,
she said she would take the day off from work and come to the auction with us!!

Holly and I have been friends
since our freshman year in college
She knows me really well
(and she still loves me!)
She has always been generous to me and good to my son.
In other words, the best person that I could be with
in my nervous and anxious and excited state.
Chapter 8:  Lot 837

The upcoming auction at Doyle's was a two day auction,
with the Jewelry sale scheduled for Wednesday 2 May
and the Couture and Textile sale scheduled for
Thursday May 3, 2001

I picked my son from school on Wednesday afternoon,
 and we drove right to The City from there.
We got to Holly's in time to get some dinner.
It was unseasonably warm, so we left her apartment to find a
restaurant with outdoor seating.
As we walked, I once again felt as if I were in another, surreal world.
The warmth of the evening had brought everyone out on their stoops,
talking, laughing and playing music.
There were people everywhere,
happy, exuberant and enjoying being outdoors.
I was in shock.
I had never seen anything like it in NYC.
I had grown up with NYC in my backyard, 
a place where, in the 80s,
you kept your money in your shoes,
with your senses on high alert at all times,
for fear of getting mugged, raped or murdered.
There was no more filthy streets and graffitied empty storefronts.
My mouth was agape and my eyes were saucers.
I asked Holly what was going on.
I had been away from The City since I had moved to Nantucket
14 years earlier, and I had no idea that it had transformed.
She said, "Guiliani cleaned up the streets."
"Oh, " I said, and I spent the rest of the night
marveling and reveling in the new New York City.
Starry-eyed and happy to be spending those moments
with my son and my friend.

Thursday morning, May 3, we got ready to go to Doyle.
The auction started at 10 am,
and we were going to walk across the park since it was such a beautiful
Spring day.
Here is the dress I wore (I still have it!):
Once again, during our walk across Central Park,
everything felt surreal.
I felt like I was in another universe.
I had NEVER walked across Central Park before!!
I felt happy and safe and it was so lovely and warm.
The grass was green, and all the flowers were blooming.
On the other side, we ended up by The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
I loved going there when I was younger to see the art, the fashion exhibitions
and have lunch in the restaurant with the amazing fountain.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Restaurant; View with people; Designed by Dorothy Draper. Photographed 1950s. © The Metropolitan Museum of Art
from Table d'hote and à la carte: The Museum's Restaurants by Stephanie Post on 
We got to Doyle,
and I said hello and introduced myself.
Everyone was so friendly and welcoming
and gave us catalogues.
They told me there were chairs up front,
but I was too nervous, 
and told them we were going to stand.
We went to the back of the room and stood up against the windowsill.
The cover was stunning and took my breath away. 
So many emotions were coursing through me at that moment.
I was simultaneously terrified and thrilled,
feeling surreal and unreal.
Even now, 16 years later, writing this, I feel those feelings.
a picture of my copy of the catalogue
Isn't this photo of the train incredible?
I wish I knew who the photographer was to express my gratitude to them
for capturing the ultimate essence of the gown.
Here is one of the other pieces I was consigning. 
 It was the only other lot included in the catalogue.
I noticed that there was only one other gown in the catalogue, 
a Vionnet, that was valued between $15-20,000

The auction began,  and I watched anxiously
as all other pieces I consigned sold for under or half the estimated value.
Then, the Vionnet sold for under the estimated value.
I said to myself, "Oh no, what have I done.
I have pinned my hopes on the Worth
gown selling for the estimate.
What will I do if it doesn't work out?
How will I keep going?"

Finally, Lot 837 came up on the screen.
I prayed it would sell.
The auctioneer started the bidding,
and instead of a bid,
there was complete silence.
The silence seemed to stretch to an eternity.
In the meantime, the energy in the room started to rise.
Everyone was waiting.

someone started the bidding.
I heard them hit $10,000,
then up to 15, and then 20.
I said to myself,
"Thank God it sold for 20!"

All of a sudden, I heard 30.
I was confused.
 I said to myself, "Wait, what's going on?
It's still going!"
I couldn't see the auctioneer from where I was standing,
no one was raising a paddle, 
and there was a bidder on the phone, 
so I thought it had sold!
It kept going.
Tears started streaming down my face,
as they are right now,
as I re-experience this incredible event in my life.
There was a woman who looked about the same age as me
standing next to me, and she put her hand on my shoulder
to comfort me.

The energy in the room was so high,
it felt like electricity was running through it.

all of a sudden I heard "80",
and then I heard 
I can't even remember what the 
hammer price was.
All I could think about
was my grandmother.

All I knew,
was that I had to find Jan,
so I could thank her.
I walked through all the chairs and people,
tears still streaming down my face.
I got to the phone desk
and asked for Jan.
She came up to the other side of the desk
and said,
"You're grandmother helped you."
I thanked her profusely over and over,
and then she had to get back to work,
as the auction was not yet over.

I went back to where my son and Holly were standing
and said, "I wonder who the winning bidder was!"
The woman who was standing next to me said,
"It was that person there, right in front of you.
She was bidding the whole time."

I never even noticed!
I went up to her to say thank you.  I knew that was terrible form,
almost rude, but I was so grateful, I wanted to tell her.
I thanked her, and she said, "I didn't win, I was the underbidder."
"Thank you," I said
and thought, "If it weren't for you, 
it would not have sold for the price it sold for.
You were just as important."
I was shocked and stunned 
and overwhelmed.
I was so glad that Holly was with me.
I knew that she would be able to tell me that 
what just happened was not my imagination.
She was there too, so it must have happened.

I knew we had to get on the road to drive back home
so my son could be back in school the next day.
We left the auction before it was over,
but I was so shaken
that I was too scared to get in the truck and drive.
There was a Starbucks across the street,
so we went over there to sit down for a bit.
I asked Holly if it really happened, and she said yes.

The next day,
I found out that the dress had broken a world record
for the sale of an antique dress at auction.
I found out that the sale price, including buyer's premium,
was $101,500
my grandmother
I finally understood what the dream meant.
I had thought everything up to that point was 
my grandmother helping me now.
But it wasn't.
It was ALL of it,
every moment, she was there,
helping me.

Chapter 9:  Somewhere in Time

A few years later, 
I spoke with a different psychic (she is actually a medium).
She started the session off with the same question 
that I had been asked once before, 
"I have someone here, and she wants to say she is sorry.
Do you forgive her?"
I started crying and said, "Yes!"
Then she said,
"She is mentioning the word 'May',
does that mean anything to you?"
I said yes
(and to myself I said, "the auction").
Janice responded,
"She wants you to know she was there."
Tears were streaming down my face once again.
Not only did my grandmother help me,
she was able to confirm that she helped me.

There are no words that can express my feelings
of being loved and cared for
at that moment,
at this moment.

[Janice Tarver, Medium
Somewhere in Time
Longview, TX]


At that moment,
when the auction ended,
I thought it was the end of the story,
but it was not.

Chapter 10:  The Guinness Book of World Records

When I heard that the gown broke a world record
for an antique gown at auction,
I got really excited.
One of my favorite books as a kid
was The Guinness Book of World Records.
I thought, "How much fund would it be to be in
The Guinness Book of World Records."
So I decided to research how to apply for certification.
I sent all the paperwork in,
and waited.

You can imagine how exciting it was
to receive this in the mail!
You can see, I wanted to do this for my son.

The letter said that receiving a certificate was 
not a guarantee that our world record would be in the book.
The upcoming year for the next book was 2004.

One day my son and I were in Borders bookstore,
and we saw The Guinness Book of World Records.
We looked at the Table of Contents
and saw Music and Entertainment.
We searched those pages, and didn't see anything.
I said, "Too bad! We didn't get in.  Oh well!"
Then, I just started flipping through
and opened right to the page where it was!
It turned out it was right where it was supposed to be,
in the Art & Media section, under Fashion.
You can find it on page 162

Chapter 11:  Anglomania

On May 2, 2006, I got a call from Lewis Weber of Doyle New York.
He was calling to tell me that the Worth gown
was going to be part of 
at The Metropolitan Museum's 
annual Costume Institute exhibit
and that the buyer was going to be revealed 
for the first time to the public.

I was so thrilled that I was going to be able to 
see the gown again
and find out after all this time
who had bought the gown.

I got chills.
The opening of the exhibit,
the annual Costume Institute Ball,
was May 3, 2006,
5 years after the auction at Doyle,
May 3, 2001.
The day after the ball,
I found out that the owner of the Worth,
who lent the gown to the Met,
was the
Museo de la Moda y Textil, 
Santiago, Chile

I thought to myself,
I will have to go to Chile to see the gown again. had all the photos of the event
including this one of the gown
I finally got to Anglomania
with my son,
and I was blown away by the exhibit.
To this day, it is one of my favorite Costume Institute
exhibits, second only to the Alexander McQueen
exhibit,  Savage Beauty.

The Worth gown was
The curators had displayed the gown
on a mannequin who was climbing a set of stairs, 
the train trailing behind her.  Genius!
Truly magnificent to see.

The photos from the book
Here is the catalogue from the exhibit
Photo from Vogue Magazine's coverage of the ball
in the July 2006 issue

Chapter 12:  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

At some point after the exhibit,
I found out that The Met
was going to purchase the gown for their collection.

I was thrilled!!!
I was so excited.
I asked if I might be able to come see the gown again.
 They said yes.
I got to go downstairs into The Basement.
There it was, on a mannequin.
I spent time with the down and then went to the cafeteria for lunch.
I wished so much that day that the fountain was still there.

 Here are screenshots of the Worth gown from
The Metropolitan Museum of Art acquisition records page
I look at these photos, and I have a greater understanding, years later
of the importance and magnificence of this gown.
I am in awe of my experience.

While the Met was restoring the gown,
they announced that it would be on view
in the exhibition,
blog:mode:  addressing fashion
opening December 17, 2007
and on view through April 13, 2008

I was going to be able to see the gown once again!

I decided to donate 
the shoes that belonged with the gown
to the museum.
this photo is from The Metropolitan Museum of Arts collection records page on the shoes

I heard back from The Met.
They confirmed that the shoes belonged with the gown,
and they wanted to discuss delivery.
I asked them if I could deliver them in person
as I was going to visit the blog:mode exhibition
to see the gown again
the restored gown on display at blog:mode
screenshot from gettyimages post

I attended blog:mode
on March 19, 2008
I dropped off the shoes and went to see the exhibition.
As part of the exhibition,
the curators had installed computers so you could
comment on the show
Here are some screenshots of various comments
as seen on The Met's blogpost
considering the frenzy with social media these days,
it's amazing to see how prescient this exhibition was
I saw Jan Reeder had commented
and here is my comment
 Acknowledgement of donation
I am grateful too

There is more to the story
(stay tuned)

yes, the story keeps going!
(stay tuned)

can you believe the story even includes love, the greatest of all treasures?
(stay tuned)

living the story today
(stay tuned)