As I mentioned in an earlier post, I recently signed with a new line that specialises in Cavalier fashions. The process of signing, at my stage in the game, goes something like this:
First, my personal assistant–Danny–looks for open contracts and does some recon on the lines. He checks for responsible designers with promising futures, overall sales numbers, Fashion Week reviews, and, if he likes what he sees, he sends my book around with my print ads and numbers.
When I first started, this was terribly worrisome–followed up by in person fittings, interview, and trial runway walks. Now, it’s primarily a formality, expressing my interest in their designs. Like a calling card.
After my “card” is sent off, we wait to hear back from the line. If they feel I’d be a good fit for the line, then they send along my requested materials. I always ask for clothing from the line, so I can see how I feel in it and check the fit, and I also ask for letters of recommendation from the current models, expressing the personality of the line and their experience as a part of it. I also get a copy of a current contract, so I can get a sense of their requirements and policies.
Finally, if I like the clothes, the letters, the base-line contract, then my company enters into negotiations. When I first started at AMMA (Afterlife Magazine and Modelling Agency), HR took care of this, but my heightened position within the company now leads to high profile negotiations, which the director of the company–Robert–likes to take care of himself.
Robert is loud, shrewd, and very willing to ask all of those “but what will you do for us?” and “can we add another zero?” sorts of questions. He’s a businessman through and through, and his own sense of fashion–dad jeans and ill-fitting white button downs–requires a bit of sprucing when the negotiations exit the land of email and close in person. His long-suffering PA attacks him with a suit, always some shade of green for some reason, and threatens to quit if he won’t put it on.
Robert always puts on the suit.
I am not actually involved in the negotiations. I really couldn’t give a ruddy raincloud how much the contract ends up being worth–that’s Robert’s area of avarice. And all my riders–primarily relating to family considerations–are clearly outlined and clearly required. So I just wait for the contract to land on my desk, have Marc check it over, and then immediately begin planning my next charitable contributions.
I also immediately set up to meet the designer and shake hands with the models who sent along their letters. Provided everything feels right, I sign the contract and leave a copy with the line. This is also primarily formality. I have never not signed a contract at this stage–my company (Danny, especially) does a brilliant job of setting me up with the right people.
However, I have never signed a contract quite so quickly as I did this one. As soon as I met Richard, feet up on his enormous beat-to-hell scrolled desk, looking for all the world like a seventeenth-century Errol Flynn, I asked for a pen.
He handed me a quill and grinned, and I about forgot how to write.
As I muddled my way through my own goddamn name, he airily commented that my riders were rather interesting, and that I must be the sort of bloke with thousands of pictures of his children. I admitted as much and passed him my phone so he could flip through a few while I finished crossing Ts and dotting Is. He giggled appreciatively a number of times, and I fell further in love.
Contract signed off, and phone back in my pocket, we chatted a bit about the line and its origin and direction. It became known to me in the course of this conversation that Richard had dabbled in nearly everything under the sun–including piracy, women, and men–and that he could wear the hell out of an earring. I was suddenly very glad that I had worn mine. Made me feel more credible, haha.
I asked toward the end of the conversation why he had hired me, and he threw his hands behind his head and said, “well, you’ll have to forgive me if I hired you on account of you being a choice piece of finery.”
And then he eyed me up and down.
I managed to smirk back–quite proud of myself on that count–and told him no apology necessary. He laughed and said, “but don’t worry, I know who your husband is,” and held his hands up to display their innocent intentions.
Flirtations finished, he took me down to the next level of his offices where I found a cloistered, smokey, velvet bar. Truly, right on premise. And at the bar were a number of devilishly handsome models, two of whom Richard introduced to me as the blokes who wrote recommendations. Jeremiah, like Richard an actual cavalier, has cascading blonde curls and quite the reputation as a casanova. And Lucius, a dandy from the 1920s, surveyed me akin to Richard and then reintroduced himself as Fox–he’s quite taken with the Batman films, you see. I noted that he should drag as Luscious Fox, and he determined that we would be quite good friends.
And then…I learned how we advertise…
As it turns out, we engage in piracy. We dress up to the nines, head out into the Mediterranean on Richard’s pleasure yacht, roll up to rich-boy party boats, forcibly board them, and then proceed to drink them dry, throwing a festivity using their own liquor and niceties and leaving business cards behind after we boisterously sell the brand.
I’m not sure I can even express how much I am in love with this. I love pirates. I love fashion. I love drinking. And now I get paid to be a drunken fashion pirate.
I can’t. But I will. But I can’t.
But I will.