|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