Terry Berkowitz

New York

This is a fairly new memory, but it is about living in something and how one feels in what one inhabits. I do not have a particularly happy relationship with clothes since I am always battling weight. I learned early that shoes were my forte and finding the right thing to wear with them was a body image struggle to say the least.

I was invited to the wedding of a friend’s daughter. The friend is a clothing designer; the wedding was to be in Spain. I knew there would be people there who not only would be decked out in extraordinary clothing, but also would shine within that clothing in all their slender grace.  I asked Abzal, a young designer and a friend of Lola (who is in the photo with me and is the sister of the bride-to-be), to make me a dress. Abzal normally designs menswear so designing for a woman of a certain age was a challenge. I hadn’t had a dress designed specifically for me since my mother made my Halloween costumes when I was a child.

The wedding was to be in September, and we got started on the dress in June, or so I thought. We had one pattern making session; and I took off for a month of work. When I returned in early August, he still had nothing more than a sample of cloth to show me. He delivered the dress around mid-August when he had no time to make any adjustments before he left for his own trip. I was so taken aback by what I saw that I suggested we take the dress out for a walk around the block to see what kind of reactions people would have. The dress received a rousing neighborhood nod of approval.

It is like no other item of clothing I have ever seen; it is like no item of clothing that anyone has ever seen. It is something that shines and allows me to shine too.

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