Tuesday, 27 July 2010
Bill Savage's Jumble Facts #1
#1: The Dress
If you’re lucky enough to snap up this dress at the Big Bum Jumble not only will you be the proud owner of a lovely summer frock, but you’ll be taking home a real piece of South Devon history. This dress has a provenance steeped in the glamorous worlds of provincial theatre and cutthroat retail. It originates from the legendary Rossiters department store - for over a century a leading light of Paignton’s fashion scene. However, in the recent economic down-turn Rossiters’ fortunes waned and the store was threatened with closure. In a last ditch attempt to save it, staff rallied round and wrote Gussets and Gabardine: The Rossiters Story, a musical based on life in the store’s womenswear department, complete with props and costumes sourced from the store. The dress you see here was worn by the womenswear manager Jean during a scene set in the mid-80s in which the staff are preparing for a visit from Princess Margaret. Gussets and Gabardine played for four consecutive nights at the Prince’s Theatre Torquay in 2008 before poor ticket sales forced it to close. Rossiters department store has since shut down.
Jean’s dress is a size 18. No certificate of authentication is provided.
By Bill Savage
* Which may or may not be completely fabricated, heehee.