Issue #287 / June 2024

Please give my best to Susie. I saw that the doors to The Vampire’s Wife are closed. Please let her know that some guy in San Diego is walking around with the early Vampire’s Wife logo (a mangled-looking bird with a cross in its beak) tattooed on his right arm. On his left forearm, he has the word “Gospel” in the font from her custom tote bags. The Vampire’s Wife lives on.

DANE, SAN DIEGO, USA

I’m sorry to hear about Vampire’s Wife. I hope Susie is proud of what it was.

SAM, LONDON, UK

 

Seeing The Vampire’s Wife close its doors is such a tragedy. Susie’s dresses were the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen.

LINDSAY, BERLIN, GERMANY

 

How’s Susie?

STEPH, SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA

Dear Dane, Sam, Lindsay and Steph,

Thank you to the many who have written letters of support for Susie and The Vampire’s Wife, which has now closed its doors for the last time. For Susie, the label’s end amounts to a kind of grief, but she is an extraordinarily resilient woman, sometimes shockingly so. She feels many things at the moment – sad, happy, angry, nostalgic, regretful and proud, but most importantly, she feels suddenly free. And as much as I don’t want this post to appear as me shamelessly venerating my wife (as I am occasionally disposed to do), I do want to tell you this – The Vampire’s Wife was not just a clothing company, it was a pure and necessary articulation of the grief that Susie felt in the wake of the death of our son, Arthur. The Vampire’s Wife was Susie’s Ghosteen. Just as I tried through music to create a place for Arthur to be, real or imagined, Susie’s dresses were an attempt to give her grief form by throwing fabric over an invisible boy, as an act of love, an act of mercy, and an act of contrition. That is the truth of it – as softly spoken and dream-like as the dresses themselves – the clothes Susie created were objects of devotion, sacred things that will live on regardless of the brand’s fortunes.

Lindsay, it is easy to see the situation as a tragedy, and of course it is sad for everyone who worked so hard to keep the brand afloat, but really, it is a miracle that The Vampire’s Wife ever existed at all. As I have often pointed out in The Red Files, wonders such as these are eternal reminders of the terrifying counter-intuitive truth that grief is not the end of things but rather the dark substrate from which great things can emerge. From a small distance, over the ten years the company existed, I have watched in awe at the defiant, grief-soaked, joyful ambition of it all. Today, I feel nothing but pride.

Dane, I read your letter to Susie, who laughed and said, ‘My kind of guy’, and asked me to find out your address. She wanted to send you a TVW t-shirt in its beautiful sugared almond pink box with the gold foiled logo on its lid, but then she remembered that it was all over and there was nothing left – nothing but her love and her laughter, which she sends to you and to all who have written in, as do I.

Love, Nick

 

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