This last winter, one of my designers fell apart at the seams–no pun…some pun intended.
I try to keep six of them in my pocket, because I’ve determined that six is enough to keep me interested without stressing me beyond my ability to look and walk well for each. I also try to take on jobs that allow me to stay at a consistent age and physique–as a ghost, I can shift at will as long as it’s within my realm of alively experience, or within an achievable range of new experiences as a ghost, but it does perturb the children, especially J. And, finally, I try to take on jobs that allow me to dress for historical eras. This might be a throwback to my time in the opera, or it might just be a personal quirk, but whatever the case, I bloody well love flouncing about in costumes from previous eras.
My current list of designers, then, fleshes out as such:
1. Marcus–JS Designs: Of course, my husband’s line was my first sign. I shall have to tell the story of our hiring at some point…it’s a tickler. His clothes are angular, interested in natural materials (wood, ore, leather), and modern, although they are often inspired by his Roma and what he remembers of it.
2. Marie–Mode du Marie: Marie was my second sign. This was apparently something of a coup, although I didn’t realise it at the time, as awestruck and befuddled by everything as I was to begin. She is the foremost designer of 18th century haute couteur and worked as an assistant to the primary dress designer of Marie Antoinette in life. And now I traipse down the runway in her glittery creations, acting every part the courtier. She recently collaborated with Marcus on a line of zoo animal inspired outfits. She is also mad. Just completely mad. She calls her husband, “girafe.” And she asked me at my interview to describe myself as if I were a hot air balloon.
3. Herschel–Zehr Anzuge: Herschel signed me on my gentlemanly manner, which holds until I open my mouth and attempt to say any word starting with an “h”. He makes suits primarily of the Edwardian era, and over the years I’ve come to front his line and print ads. He’s a dear heart who fancies walks in nature over walks with companions.
4. David–Sliante: David is adorable. He’s this shy Irish bloke with an aversion to parties and shmoozing who knits all the sweaters for his line, pines after redheaded lasses, and finds the fact that I’ve gone and made him famous equal parts fantastic and frustrating. His line is 40s/50s based.
5. Georgie–Regencies: Georgie is posh, flippant, and something between a dandy and a Corinthian. He found me in my second year of modelling and snatched me up before my contracts became…absurd. I love walking for him, as he usually picks natural, wild, forlorn sorts of settings and encourages both Byronic attitude, as well as Byronic attendance–his audiences are overwraught, as are his partners of both sexes. It’s all rather brilliant, haha.
So, now I find myself in the position of contracting a sixth designer.
This is a bit of a dilemma for a number of reasons.
First, I’m embarassed to say, I have to find someone who can afford me. I don’t controul my own contracts yet–that happens next year, at which point I plan on taking on brand new designers for next to nothing with the intention of launching their lines. But for now AMMA tells designers how much they must pay me, and it’s exorbitant and horrid.
Second, I have to find someone in whose line I “fit” as it were. I need it to be a line in which I can believe, as well as a line in which I dress well. And I also wish very much to work with other fun blokes who enjoy what they do but don’t take it too seriously. The sorts who will go out for a beer after wrap and not fret the whole time over calories.
Just these two stipulations narrow my options, considerably. In fact, I came up with five options: Medieval, Renaissance, Cavalier, Victorian, or a second modern line.
The second modern line is right out. I decided rather quickly that I’d rather Marc occupy that spot on his own. Then I tossed out Victorian because even well tailored Victorian has a tendency toward frumpy, as Marcus discovered when he took in a number of my own jackets for daily wear. I ruled out the Medieval after some debate because the clothes are just a bit shapeless, as well, and the blokes on the current line rather serious.
So that left Cavalier or Renaissance. Both sets of models for these lines are deliciously hilarious and handsome, and the clothes are equally gorgeous. So, I procured some looks from each and tried them on at home to see how Marcus responded, as I also like to look well for him. He appreciated the Renaissance, but the Cavalier duds inspired a rather wolfish grin, and so that settled it.
I had one further person with whom I had to clear the decision–Marc’s assistant designer and junior partner in JS Designs, John Smythe.
John, you see, is a Puritan.
I know what you might be thinking–but he works in fashion and with Marc of all people. How does he handle the constant allusions to battle and sex and paganism and sexy pagan battles??
Well, it turns out that John is such a phenomenal craftsman and truly good person that Marc keeps it all toned down for his benefit. And it also turns out that John is a rather progressive Puritan–he still uses antiquated speech and dresses quite simply (loose white shirts, khaki capris with lots of hooks for tools, and tall boots) but he also enjoys seeing his visions play out on the runway, giving away the money his leather-work brings in, and living in some comfort with his husband, Benjamin, also a Puritan. I’ve also heard him drop the F-bomb. Granted it flew out of his mouth when he was nearly hit by a car, and he submitted to a week of penance over the whole deal, but he still said it.
Anyway, Puritans and Cavaliers are like water and oil, and I very much didn’t want to offend him with my choice, even if it is just a playful one. So, I went to ask him his permission.
He gave me a very tight lipped once over and said, “Do what you wilt.” And then a bit more kindly he added, “Thou art a good man. Clothing is but clothing, after all.”
I nodded and said, yes, it’s all just a bit of fun.
This concerned him. Fun. How suspicious. So he added, “But as thou partake of fun, do be wary. Thou shouldst take care not to let the Cavalier ways of mind and manners of person affect thee. They are a lascivious lot.”
And I said, John, darling, the H.M.S. Lascivious set sail years ago. Which got another tight-lipped once over with a bit of a wince thrown in, but he just shook his head and waved me off. “Go and have thine…fun” he says.
(I desperately want to play “Cards Against Humanity” with him.)
In any case, now all that’s left is to sign with my new designer–Rrrrrrichard–and then it’ll be mustard coats and armoured breast plates and a vast number of boots.
Quite looking forward to it.