My mum wore this dress when she was coming over to the UK when she was 27, my mum is 80 years old now, so this dress is 50 years old. She was already a mother of three kids by then, she was starting a new life. This was the dress that she wore on the plane. There's no label and it’s all lined, it was handmade, she went to a little suit place in the New Territories, the local people to have it made.
Looking at it and I wonder what she must had been thinking and feeling; getting ready, getting her dress ready, getting on the plane? The dress symbolises her arrival and all the thoughts and questions that go along with this dress. She couldn't read or write English and at that point she could only speak her local dialect, she didn't even speak Cantonese then. What she was thinking all the time she was on the plane? She was on a plane for the first time.
But when you ask my Mum anything, she's very matter of fact about it all. She's very practical, there's no sense of, I felt like this, she just says, I got a dress and I got on the plane, that's what I wore! But they're not of that generation where you talk about what you think and feel because it's not about 'me', it's about ‘we’.
Even though my mum is older, thinking about her being younger, I can see my mum wearing it, I can actually see her being quite, you know: this is my new life and I'm getting on with it and putting on something new.