Vicky is 23-years-old, a psychical training pro, teaching thin women how to keep their husbands by growing cadaverous and she is married to Fergus. Vicky and Fergus married during her last year at college, which means she married young. Vicky often mentions her life before Fergus, as if it is like she is not happy with him. It is not because they argue or fight a lot, because she mentions that Fergus is faultless. He is calm, a world saver, down to earth which properly is what annoys Vicky because before her marriage with Fergus, Vicky was full of life. She did not care for might happen if she bought more than one pair of shoes.
She also smoked weed, listened to Bob Marley and Bob Dylan which you can combine with the 1960’s. The 60’s was a time full of life, optimism and many colors. With Fergus she is a whole other person than her normal self. The name Fergus means virility which fits perfectly to Fergus as Vicky recalls the early days of their relationship, that she felt protected by Fergus, “.. his beard were an umbrella on a rainy day, a parasol in the sun, his shoulder a shelter in the storm. ” Fergus knows what he wants in life. He likes to protect and save the world and that must be what Vicky felt in love with in the beginning.
With time she properly found out that he also likes to be the dominated in the relationship by the way he sort of controls Vicky by telling her what to do and how to live life. As Victoria comes from the word “victory”, she sees herself as being impulsive, independent and bold. But with Fergus she is reserved and submissive which means she is nothing like herself. Vicky’s life changes completely when she walks by a shop and sees a mannequin wearing “the little black dress”. Vicky admires the dress but then she notices the mannequin. She gets totally fascinated by it as it looks so awfully real. Not only with that, it looks just like her.
Fergus leaves to Geneva so Vicky is left alone. She goes back to the snobby shop to try the dress on. “It’s a Chanel, circa nineteen sixty-eight”, the woman says in the shop. When she puts it on in the dressing room she felt like she was being strangled. Although she was not planning to buy something does that she buys it anyway. After walking out from the shop, Vicky is different. She remembers from the night before, when she was thinking about the funfair. “The funfair lights, the rush of air as she rode the big dipper, and it occurs to her that dreams always fade on waking: you dream, you wake, and then there is nothing. She refers to her life as she has a doll life.
Vicky gets back home to put on the dress. She listens to Bob Dylan and imagines him strolling through Greenwich Village, a neighborhood on the west side of Lower Manhattan in New York, with a girl on his arm, picturing herself as the girl, circa nineteen sixty-eight. After putting the whole new outfit on Vicky feels all alive. Vicky becomes Victoria. She goes out, meets a guy, who repeatedly claims that he has seen her somewhere and that he has seen pictures of her.
She mentions a funfair at Battersea Park, she has not even heard of before. Suddenly she knows what is happening next. His next words are in her head. She gets frightened and runs away from him. The next day Victoria went back to the shop to return the dress. The shop is closed and the mannequin is now completely broken. The head has been removed and the eyes are dead. She then winds her way to the club where she quits her job, then she books a seat on the next flight to Barcelona, returns home to pack, realizing her life with Fergus has been a lie so she leaves him.
Before leaving to Barcelona, Victoria goes to the library to find the answer for why the man insisted he has seen pictures of her before. At the library she asks for the newspapers for nineteen sixty-eight no clue of what she is looking for. She stops at a picture of a girl in a black dress. The headline says “Model Found Dead in Battersea”. She had been strangled. Suddenly everything makes sense. After Victoria putted the dress on, she became the dead model in 1968. It makes perfectly sense as the dress was from 1968, the same was the Bob Dylan song Victoria suddenly knew the lyrics to and it was the same year the model was strangled.
Conclusion: Vicky was not happy with her life as being married to Fergus who very much could be like her dad the way that he thinks he can “control” Vicky. Sometimes when you are at that point in life where you cannot recognize yourself anymore you need to do something extraordinary to come back to life again. Now it seems a bit too extreme that Vicky has to kind of experience the same as the dead model strangled in 1968. But it appears to help Vicky to leave Fergus who has been holding her back of being herself, and she then leaves to Barcelona to visit her sister as she always wanted.