Annie Reese

Past Perfect Essay
by Annie Reese 
I live in a large city, but I spent the first 20 years of my life in a tiny farming town that I am still very much connected with.  I’ve always felt as if I’m straddling two worlds: the urban city mouse world, the rural country mouse world; the cool world, the un-cool world; the skeptical, the naïve; the creative, the corporate….you get the idea. Growing up, I dreamed of one day playing music and living in the city with all its frenetic energy and excitement, the shimmer and the grit, and of course, the fashion.  My day-to-day attire was basically always the same—blue jeans (cut-off or not, depending on the season), t-shirt, and sneakers.  High school prom was about the only time anyone ever dressed up, and it was as close to glamour as we small-town kids could get.One night, I was watching ‘Saturday Night Live’ on NBC, one of only 6 channels the TV antenna at my parents’ house could pick up.  Bjork was the musical guest and she sang “Bachelorette.”  She wore a beautiful, sequined, emerald green column dress.  To me, this dress represented everything about my fantasy life—it was gorgeous and elegant and sophisticated and cool….and then I saw the back view.  It was lopped off at the waist, and underneath, Bjork was wearing blue jeans!  What a wonderful surprise!  It was perfect!  It was fantasy and reality all in one and it had the element of discovery.

When I was asked to participate in this project, several different garment options danced in my head, but this seemed the most natural choice….it resonated with the future-performer in me, I suppose.  It’s more than a classic, pretty dress with a twist or a cleverly designed garment.  It’s somehow a reminder of my little hometown and my 18-year-old self.  I am a musician living in the big city, but I am just a country mouse at heart, and I love the way that coming from a small town has given me the ability to be amazed and impressed by so much and to be filled with a sense of wonderment.  And I love that this dress, which is so very not-small-town, reminds me of exactly that.

Bio annie reese is a musician living in chicago’s logan square neighborhood.  she performs and records under the moniker rock falls, which is also the name of her hometown, located in rural northwest illinois.  as a child, she dreamed of growing up to become an amalgam of gladys knight, nichelle nichols, and karen carpenter.  she loves margaritas, warm weather, and coty wild musk.  she hates garlic.

photo by Alix Lambert
drawing by Jamie Hayes
Annie Reese reference photo

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