I have a short tale to tell! This magnificent festive dress 2-piece outfit under the ARPI SUTERA label, the individual who personally designed and made the outfit, has a fascinating history and it starts with SARITA HOPKINS WEEKS. Who was she? Locally here in Jamestown, New York, she was a philanthropist, highly educated, a patron of the ARTS, ad a very wealthy benefactor who shared her love of travel and costumes with as many people as who would listen. I hardly remember a time when I did not open the Sunday paper and see a full page spread of Sarita wearing a costume or local dress she had had made from a country in her well reknowned travels. She loved the Theatre and she especially loved costumes! She was true to the country she visited and had an absolute love of people and their customs. Her respect was profound. She passed away almost two years ago, but before she did, she bequeathed her entire collection to museums and galleries. Our local Jamestown Community College had many a room (and her portrait) bestowed upon them. Like I said, a great benefactor of The Arts!
It is a two piece set that Sarita calls in her write-up a “KEBAYA”. Basically it is a festive dress outfit, a longer coat style top and a long skirt that was commissioned and made in The South Pacific MALAYSIA, GEORGETOWN. She gives the time period of 1994 and the value at $220.00. How do I know all this? It is truly fascinating and a testament to Sarita that she wrote out ALL the details of her interpretations of the outfit/costume, the descriptions and then also, details of interesting provenance that adds so much to the delightful dimension of the fashion.
Perhaps, to me, the saddest thing is that towards the end of her life, she became very obsessed with writing ON the items, as if she was afraid she would forget and she still wanted to remember the JOY of her travels and her treasures. In this case, she writes on the inside tag and all the shoes I have from her which will also be up at Auction soon, have writings of where she went written all over the bottom soles!
Kebaya Festive Dress
Kebaya Festive Dress (cached image)