Gwyneth Paltrow recently revealed that she is keeping her famous Ralph Lauren pink ballgown, which she wore when she won the Oscar® for her 1999 role in Shakespeare in Love, for her daughter Apple. The actress told PEOPLE magazine: “What’s funny is I’ve been saving my gowns and special things since 12 years before she was born, so I have everything. I have every Oscar® dress.”
She isn’t alone. When Victoria Beckham showed off her collection of gowns in a TV documentary back in 2006, she admitted she was keeping her extensive designer wardrobe for her future daughter. At the time, Beckham had three boys — it was another five years before her daughter Harper was finally born.
Inspired by Gwyneth and Victoria, I thought of the things I am keeping for my daughter. They’re not quite Chanel or Ralph Lauren, but more sentimental things: personal treasures rather than anything of big monetary value. While my mother has always been fascinated by jewelry, I have little interest in gold and diamonds. The items that I hold dear don’t need insured or kept in a vault!
So what will I give to my girl?
1. My silver dolphin ear cuff
I bought this ear cuff in a New Orleans flea market when I was 16 and have worn it every single day since. It’s easily my most beloved item. It reminds me of my youth and I’m astounded that in all my travels, I’ve never lost it. I think it cost about $5, but to me it means the world.
2. My organza silk wedding dress and fluffy stole
I’ll show her the photos of me having to lie on the floor as three people squeezed me into the handmade corset that held me in like a glove and tell her how the skirt twirled out as I danced until midnight, surrounded by the people I loved.
3. My Manolo Blahnik Mary Janes
Back in 1998, when I was working on a TV fashion show, I was lucky enough to attend a sample sale of Manolo Blahnik shoes and I bought a stunning pair of silk Mary Janes. I have worn them to a million weddings and thankfully only one funeral. I still love those shoes, although they sit at the back of my wardrobe gathering dust.
4. My childhood diaries
In reading them, I hope my Riley will learn from my mistakes. I feel there is nothing to hide about my life since it all brought me to the point of meeting her father, falling in love, and ultimately having her, so the journey (flawed and over-dramatized as it may be in those diaries) is truthful and entertaining.
5. All of my photos
These will include: the baby years, the dreadful school photos, the formals and parties during my high school years, college and traveling, then years as a young adult in London, my trip around the world, my wedding, and all the ones of the joys she and her brother have brought me. I hope they inspire her to travel, to go after all she desires in life, and to never ever give up or take no for an answer.
6. My stuffed toy hippo
I have a soft, stuffed toy hippo that sits in my wardrobe that I bought when I was 7 with my saved-up pocket money. He is ear-less and tooth-less and has definitely seen better days, but my daughter still plays with him and asks to take him to bed for the night. Hippo (as he is called — not very imaginative, I know) is the one memento of my childhood that I could never bring myself to throw away. I’m hoping she doesn’t either.
7. My parents’ wedding rings
Will she even care about my mother and father’s wedding rings? Their marriage only lasted a year — those rings are all I have to remember that my parents were once together — so perhaps the value I place on them will be lost on her.
Because really, at the end of the day, the things we hold dear are for the memories they give us. By passing them on to our children, will the meaning translate? Or will the items just look like old junk?
Just as Apple Martin may look at the gown that didn’t quite fit her mom on Oscar® night and recoil at the saccharine pink color and the flouncy skirt, will my daughter do the same with the clothes I leave her? (Even Gwyneth Paltrow’s own mom, Blythe Danner, has commented that she preferred other dresses her daughter wore to subsequent Oscar® nights!)
Maybe the only thing we can be certain of leaving our children with is memories, so best to invest in making those special, than amassing a fabulous wardrobe … but just to be safe, we could always do both.More On