On the first day of Fashion Week, Louis Jacques-Moose, “the world’s most influential designer,” reviewed his Spring line. He took up a magnifying glass, and studied every stitch and crease. Technically, each piece was perfect, but Louis still wasn’t impressed.
“My show is in four days,” he said to his Second In Command, “It is to be the finale, and none of my pieces are good enough. I must have three more designs by the end of the week, or I will be ruined.
“But how will we come up with so many new ideas on such short notice?” said the Second In Command.
“I will look at the trends of my fellow designers, and improve upon them. By the time I am finished,they will have drowned in their envious tears.”
With that goal in mind, Louis attended the first show of the season. There he admired a series of raincoats, each perfectly capturing a color of the rainbow. “These coats would be perfect,” Louis thought, “if only they weren’t so bulky.” So, he drew a quick sketch, and rushed back to his office on Central Park West. He took the elevator to the top floor, to a room marked “Experimental Design Facility.” This was where he kept his secret weapon, Daphnie Taylor. She was a young woman with long hair suspended in bobby pins. Louis cut right to the chase.
“I will need you to make the world’s most colorful raincoat,” he said.
“No problem,” said Daphnie.
“Good,” he said, “It must also be lighter than air, and I’ll expect it by tomorrow morning.”
“That might be difficult,” said Daphnie, twiddling her thumbs.
“If you fail,” he said, “You will never work in this town again,” Louis exited, before Daphnie protest. She sat down at her desk, rolled her eyes, and pushed the intercom.
“Interns! Brainstorm!” she rang out cheerfully, and, within seconds, four young pupils gathered around her.
“At your service,” they said in unison, and Daphnie told them of Louis’s assignment. For the next forty-five minutes, Daphnie and the interns voiced whatever ideas popped into their heads. The colors would not be a problem, but the “lighter than air” concept presented great challanges. Finally, a solution arose out of two words, “helium pockets,” and by morning, Louis had his multi-colored weightless raincoat.
“Ingenious,” he said, “I guess I will have to challenge you even more.” So, Louis attended a second fashion show. This one featured wedding dresses; each one with a train longer than the one before it. This impressed Louis. The struggling flower girls did not. He gasped as one girl nearly tripped while struggling to carry the mass of fabric.
“This should be easier,” said Louis, and again he drew a quick sketch and took it to Daphnie.
“You will design me the greatest wedding dress the world has ever seen,” Louis said to her. “It must have a train longer than any that has come before, and…the train must move on its own. No flower girl required.”
“I’m not sure I understand,” said Daphnie, but Louis cut her off.
“Your deadline is tomorrow morning,” he said, “If you succeed, you will receive a raise. If not, you will never work in this town again.” Louis flicked his wrist and excused himself from the room.
“What will we do?” said Daphnie, calling her interns.
“We could attach wheels to the dress—tiny wheels,” said one intern.
“That’s not very romantic,” said Daphnie.
“What if we put doves on the wheels?” said another intern.
“What if we just made doves?” said Daphnie. The interns looked looked at one another. Then, in unison, they shouted, “That’s genius,” and they got to work. When Louis arrived early the next morning, he found eight chirping titanium birds holding up the elongated train of a couture gown.
“Unbelievable,” Louis said, “Only one more design to go, and you will be entirely in my good graces.”
“How about five percent stock?” said Daphnie.
“Very well,” said Louis, “but you’ll have to earn it. Let’s see what you do with your next challenge,” and he set off for one final show. This time his favorite piece was a cocktail dress shimmering with rhinestones, and it gave Louis his final idea.
“I want a dress that is all brilliant shimmer,” he said to Daphnie.
“How do you mean?” asked Daphnie.
“I want shimmer and nothing else,” Louis said.
“But that’s impossible,” said Beatrice.
“The show’s at 4pm. That gives you five hours. Go!” Louis said as he left.
“Shimmer isn’t solid,” said Daphnie.
“He didn’t say it had to be solid,” said one of the interns. Daphnie thought on this for a while, when a daring idea popped into her head. Unfortunately, that idea has been classified. All I know is what happened next. On the way to the show, the “dress” nearly blinded two cabdrivers, and a security guard. Backstage, Louis had to put on sunglasses to even look at it. Still, he assigned a model to wear it, and made it the finale.
The show started with bold colors, as the raincoat took center stage. The stern model seemed to glide down the runway. Following up were a few of Louis’s beautiful, but conventional, designs. Meanwhile, Daphnie was more than happy to touch-up the models before sending them in front of influential observers, and photographers.
The second to last piece was the winged wedding dress. “Oohs” and “Ahhs” could be heard from all corners of the tent. A woman in the front row couldn’t take her eyes off the mechanical doves. A leading fashion editor would later write that the dress was “a vision out of a fairy tale…the stuff of dreams.”
Even so, nobody could have expected what came next. The lights went out, and just as the audiences eyes began to adjust, out stepped a model dressed in light. It can’t be described any better than that. It was like looking at a star. Nobody could look for more than a few milliseconds, and yet nobody wanted to look away.
When the model turned and walked off the stage, everyone rose for a standing ovation. Louis stepped out on the runway and waved and blew kisses. Models joined him and took final struts across the runway. When Louis finally walked off, Daphnie was there to congratulate him.
“You performed excellently,” Louis said in return, “You have earned your stock.”
“About that,” Daphnie said, “I’ve learned so much recently that I’m thinking of starting my own company. My interns have agreed to come with me. That said, I could be made to change my mind. Maybe for twenty-five percent stock?”
Written by Alex Schattner (9/19/12)
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