NY Ghost Fashion Week Recap

Our host is on the road again this week, so I’ve only time for a short little post.  As it turns out, though, NY Fashion Week was rather low-key this year, so I needn’t go on at length.  Here’s a brief glimpse at our fashion forays:

Wednesday, February 10:  We arrived at fashion week and walked the first of many red carpets into the event.  J insisted on taking his new teacup pig to the opening events, on a glitter leash, and I must say Earl Pink made quite the splash.  We’ve quite the reputation at this point for doing eccentric rich-people things, but with children and charm.  In fact, one blogger has dubbed us the First Family of Fashion.  I suppose one must concede to ridiculous titles where required.

Thursday, February 11: I walked for Herschel, whose line of suits this season truly soared.  All Edwardian, as per usual, but with a great deal of country flair this time in rich red tweeds and plaids.

Friday, February 12: Meetings.  All bloody day.  Marcus was approached by commercial developers from ghost Egypt. They’ve requested he open his second African store (the first being in Cape Town) and commissioned a few new Egyptian/Roman pieces from him.  Fleur and John saw to JS business interests in Europe.  I spent my afternoon with Danny networking with models and gauging interest for my services as a London-based runway coach (interest is high).  And Mira had tea with Oscar de la Renta, acting as the charming face of his line.  J spent the day with Lucas, vascillating between Marc and I, cradling Earl Pink (who also wears faerie wings), and being quite adorable.

I walked for Georgie in the early evening, and then went on a bar crawl with Richard and the cavalier crew to show off his line in lieu of a runway appearance.  The man never does anything formally when he can do things with foppery. Not that I’m complaining…

Saturday, February 13: For the first time ever, Mira and I were scheduled at near simultaneous runway shows, and on opposite sides of the fashion events.  Marcus and I fought for a different time to no avail.  So, we checked Mira into her event with Lucas and Fleur (and J, to hold her hand backstage).  Blinked across the city to begin our runway.  Blinked back for a hot second to see Mira’s opening walk (with her kitten, Cozy, on her shoulder).  Popped back over to finish our show.  Disappeared again to watch Mira’s final walk with all the fetching looks, leaving Danny and poor, puritan John to handle the first rush of post-JS show interviews.  And then finally settled in at our after party for cocktails and conversation, occasionally spiriting away to check on Mira and J, who were tucked beside Oscar and Fleur, respectively.  The children were so very good for everyone, but Marcus and I were both heartbroken at giving them up for the evening.  It might mean taking a less coveted runway time slot or stage, in the future, but we’re never going to finagle things this way again.

Sunday, February 14: Lunches, followed by our closing ceremonies.  Herschel won a very much deserved afterlifetime achievement award–he’s been designing suits for 100 years–and he was oh so shy and sweet as he accepted the accolade.  The man really is a darling.  And the Junius-Smith’s, having made out like bandits in the Spring and Fall of last year, happily cheered on our mates and well-respected acquaintances as they picked up the other awards.

And that’s about it!  Rather exhausting, but managed with success.  I am looking forward to the Fall where Marcus will debut his first haute-couture line along with his usual runway, where Fleur and I will put forward our women’s line, and where Marie shall be back on scene.  (She boycotts American events in accordance with her French Revolutionary experience.  Rather feels they should have sent a ship to aid her Queen.)

Our next big event?  Marc and I are celebrating our five-year wedding anniversary on March 19, and of course I’ll tell all about those plans in my  next post.  Fabulous to be sure.

 

 

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November Catch Up

I’ll be back to regular sorts of posts in December–short essays on ghost and family goings on and such—but I thought I would take the first day of the month to share a few retroactive highlights from my time away from the blog. Because goodness gracious, November. Never the busiest month for me in life, it has certainly become so in death…
Here’s what I was up to, whilst away.

Fashion Week (November 11-15)

Because ghosts are not bound by the same physical rules as humans, we can do our fashion weeks in rather inaccessible locales. So, this year’s fashion week took place deep with the forests of Japan.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/f0/Shiratani_Unsui_Gorge_17.jpg

But with fabulous hair for accoutrement.

It was just about as beautiful as could possibly be, with fireflies lighting up the nighttime runways and gorgeous sunsets illuminating the afternoon. And Marc’s line —menswear inspired by campfires, charcoal, and gleaming driftwood—worked incredibly well with the backdrop, adding an extra level of magic to something already quite magical.

But behind all the beauty, of course, are schedules, reservations, rehearsals, bitch-fits, and last-minute problem solving, all of which went from about a 5 to a 10 on the Stress Scale this year. Reason being…this was our first fashion week as independent designers.

In every previous year, we’ve had AMMA dealing with the majority of the nitty-gritty on our behalf. Our first assistants, Danny and Fleur, also had coordinating staff meetings to help them solidify our schedules and appearances. This left Marc and I to just design, execute, and walk.

But this year…well, Marc had to not only design his set but book the space, coordinate the build, schedule the rehearsals, etc. Danny and Fleur had to be incredibly discerning about our interview selection, jettisoning some of the old and bringing in new, and they had to work more time for networking into an already packed schedule. And I had to put on my most confident swagger and go…talk to people. *shudder*

But we managed it all, the show went off well, and I was able to amicably part ways with one of my designers whose brand I’ve outgrown, promising to send him some fresh faces for consideration.

And in the end, at the award banquet, we made out like Junius-Smith bandits…no brag, *ahem.*

Marcus won the overall independent designer category with takes into account new shops opened, sales, brand originality, and design. The man is a sexy, design machine. Also, one of the recipients of Marc’s Rufius Award, named after his late artistic husband, received the award for best new line—Xavvy—and thanked Marc for his mentorship in the speech.

And Mira, our baby queen, won best print advert second year in a row modelling miniaturized Oscar de la Renta. In the shot, she has on a gorgeous red dress with cream under skirts, and she’s coming out of a forest cave and stepping over a puddle while she looks at the sky with this ‘are you quite finished’ expression. Hah! And her walk much improved this year, as well.

I was out of the running this year after winning the top modelling award in 2014, so I was able to just sit and cuddle J-bird and celebrate Marc and Mira.

Then the rest of the month was also about celebrating them, haha.

Marc’s B-Day (November 22)

One of the greatest pleasures of my marriage is having a husband who is truly the easiest person for whom to buy gifts. I mean…it’s extraordinary. He loves anything animal-related, cute and fierce animals both. He loves jewelry, like leather or gold cuffs, thick rings, adornments for his toga. He loves anything he can add to his favourite spaces in the house—kitchen, pool, bath, stables. He loves family-related gifts, anything to do with Roma, things that are fast, photography gizmos, clothing, wine, you name it. And no matter what you give him, it is like watching Christmas unfold before your very eyes.

Ugh, I love it.

And this year for his birthday (which we relocated from June), I got him the most perfect thing—a full afternoon with a falconer, meeting birds, wearing gauntlets, watching raptor predators swoop and dive, and making a new friend, as it turns out the falconer also dabbles in swordplay.

He literally almost cried when I told him what his birthday present was, and he’s been printing out pictures of falcons and pinning them up in his study ever since.

Husband achievement unlocked.

Mira’s Adoption Anniversary and Thanksgiving (November 26-28)

Marcus and I are neither of us American, but our host is, and so we sort of took to this holiday over the years out of proximity more than anything else. We all rather think it’s ridiculous as a celebration of anything even remotely historical, but it does do a good job bringing folks together for moments of warm gratitude, so when we started living part-time in Canada, we rolled it out as a novelty for our mates up there.

They loved it. Ed and Jacques fight us for hosting rights now, haha.

And then in 2013, our (now) daughter Mirabelle stood up on her chair and grandly announced that she had decided to accept our adoption invitation, injecting a whole new level of meaning into the holiday. She makes a toast every year now, baby mimosa in hand. It’s fabulous.

Alexander’s NaNoWriMo (November 1-30)

Of course the other momentary diversion from regular blog posts happened on account of Alex successfully accomplishing NaNoWriMo with 50,206 words on his current historical-fantasy project. I’m madly in love with it, and terribly proud of him—just wanted to say that in public space. Good show, darling sir.

Back to Work?

If there’s one thing that positively guts me, it’s change.  I can handle about two changes at a time, and anything more than that leaves me morose and exhausted–hence the late post.  It’s not a particularly charming personality trait, but there it is.

As it just so happens, there are approximately 6,000 changes in progress at AMMA, and, therefore, going back to work this week was quite difficult.

Primarily, I’m dealing with the burden, if you ask me, opportunity, if you ask Marc, of releasing my contract.  This is the four year contract I signed when I started at AMMA in 2011, and it has been nothing but gloriously comfortable and productive.  The fine print never came back to bite me, the staff writing position was never arduous, the ensemble modelling was terribly fun, and having AMMA on my side in negotiations with high-fashion runway folks was not only a relief but utterly necessary.

Now I’m being told–in the most complimentary fashion, I’m assured–that I’m too recognisable for ensemble work, too adroit for staff writing positions, and too independently successful to continue with agency representation.

I know.  I know it’s ridiculous to complain about such things, I do.  I’ve made good on my responsibilities, garnered opportunities, and become more coveted than I ever thought possible, and I should strike out on my own.  But I’ll be damned if I’m not just miserable over the idea of leaving AMMA.  They’ve been so wonderful, and I feel so ungrateful.

I expressed this opinion to Robert–CEO, general hardass, and good friend–and after he was finished calling me a number of rather unseemly things and raking me over the coals for naivety, he admitted he was happy to hear that they would be missed and that he’d keep me if he could.  But he had to stand by his decision.  I’ve done more than enough for the company.  I have outgrown the contract. He will not be setting me up with a new one.  It’s for my own good.

Recognising that I was pretty torn up about the whole thing, even if I was attempting a brave face, Marcus took me out to supper on Friday night.  We went to our favourite spot–a tiny Indian restaurant draped in silks and smothered in pillows–and sat in our favourite corner booth.  At the end of supper he folded his napkin and said, “Do non be mad.”  Then he pulled a key out of his pocket and slid it across the table to me.

As it turns out, Marcus, who has always been more of a shrewd and independent businessman than I, saw this contract release a mile away.  And since he had planned to give up his own contract when it expired due to personal and creative differences with the editorial board he secretly purchased new offices two years ago.

That’s right, he had decided to move out of AMMA and across the street into a three flat brownstone two years ago.

I was mad.  Then I was grateful.  Then I was mad that I was grateful.

Then I saw the look on his face, and I knew exactly what he was thinking.  I realised that it was actually a rather big deal for Marcus to recognize that he had trespassed on my autonomy, rather than thinking that he was a 100% unproblematic white knight and know-it-all.  In general, high-ranking priest/official/judge/generals of Ancient Rome were not taught to be apologetic.  And there he was looking apologetic.

It didn’t fix everything but it sure as hell helped…

So, we grabbed a bottle of Bordeaux to go and visited our new offices, wandering around together hand in hand while he explained his thought process and talked about the design plan that has been rattling around in his brain for two years.

Namely, I get the garden and the second floor of the brownstone for whatever fashion needs I have.  I can have an office with a window, or I can burrow into the back corner of the semi-basement and surround myself with books and lanterns, whatever I like.  From those spaces I can sell individual pieces of writing to AMMA as a guest contributor, I can schedule and spread my time more evenly among my high-fashion designers and participate more fully in their businesses, and I can hire myself out as a consultant and runway coach.

The main floor and the top floor, then, are Marc’s, with a flagship haute-couture boutique and tailoring suite on the main and a facsimile of his AMMA offices on the third in addition to a conference room.

Furthermore, I get to keep my staff.  My personal assistant, Danny, is coming with me, as is his new assistant Lucas.  That looks terribly extravagant in writing.  What it really boils down to is that Danny and his husband want to become foster parents and so he hired someone to answer the phones and make the copies so that he can focus on the more complex tasks from home with a baby on his knee.

Marc’s staff is coming, too: his wildly, joyfully aggressive PA, Fleur; his studious artisan of a first assistant and junior partner, John.

Conversations about changes we might make to his plan (which is, admittedly, a great one) turned into conversations about the opportunities the place might offer us.  And those conversations turned into reflections on how it really is rather swell to be able to share your work with your spouse…with minimal bloodshed…and won’t it be grand to go into work next week in our own JS Designs headquarters, to have the kids with us at work whenever we want, and to launch whatever comes next for us from a place of full independence.

And, yes, it will be grand.  A bit scary.  But grand.

Post the First

How pleasant, I think, to launch a new project on one’s anniversary.

Happy Anniversary, Marcus!

It is true, you can meet and be married, or re-married, in the afterlife, which is nye on the happiest thing I’ve discovered, along with the ability of ghosts to adopt children.  (More on our little devil and angel later.)

There are any number of ways that you can marry post-mortem.  Some couples go into death together, as is the case of our dear friends and JS Charities board members Charles and Rachel.  They drown together in a boat capsizing just before the Titanic and rather wish they had gone out with a bang rather than in a dinghy.  They keep their appearances at round about 80, maintaining that although they made fetching youths, indeed, they much prefer the wizened look of old age.

Our best mates Ed and Jacques–French Canadians–also died together but in a car accident.  They were not married at the time, but have since tied the knot, with their anniversary just two weeks after Marcus and I.

Other couples meet after death, in the same sorts of places one would expect couples to meet.  In coffee shops, on sporting teams, and often in support groups for new ghosts….maybe that last one is a bit unexpected.

My personal assistant, Danny, who is actually one of my dearest friends at this point, not only met his husband after death, but as Danny died relatively young (22) and quite ill, this also means that he met his first great love after death.  He also discovered he fancied men, as well as women.  I find both the ability to meet and marry, and the ability to self-explore, to be encouraging circumstances, giving me hope for other young ghosts who pop up too soon.

Marcus and I are in the re-married camp.  He lost his first husband Aulus at war, and his second, Rufius, at the time of his own death.  He had also been married twice to women–once by force (ending in divorce) and once by friendship.

My own track record is equally polyamorous, but more happily so.  I was married simultaneously to Marion, who I mentioned on my “about” page, and to Geoffrey, my schoolmate who set me up in the ways of romance, stayed close through my church-sanctioned marriage, and then reappeared as husband later on after Marion asked me over breakfast one morning just how long I had been in love with Geoffrey, and did he feel the same way, causing me to nearly choke on my porridge.

Given my utterly happy marriages, I was absolutely astonished when Marcus turned down my first marriage proposal.  Perhaps after just six months I came across as a tad bit unctuous, and perhaps he was surprised I would even ask after I spent about two of those months sulking about and wondering when he would move out of my host’s mental space, leaving me the hell alone.  Perhaps.

But in any case, he obviously came around to the idea.

And now here we are, four years in, and still–most days–relatively…blissful is not the right word.  Energized by each other’s company, comforted by each other’s embrace, and inspired by each other’s efforts.  He is an excellent father, a stalwart best friend, and he makes one hell of a cheesecake, which I get to eat precisely two times a year.  He is also batty for dinosaurs, sharks, Locke Lamora, his horse (Nox, or Noxwell as I call him), Christmas-time, fireworks, army drills, falcons, fast cars, and republics.

Oh, and for me. ; )

This post is dedicated to him–to my Marcus.  Amo, Juni.