Double Dream Fashion Italia: The Third Appointment
by Richard Mason
As he moved her chair, their fingers touched and an electric shock made her lookup. Green eyes sparkled maliciously, framed by blonde hair. This was not gay.
Helena sat down and focused her attention on Allan. He had imagined that dominating a rich mature man, in a way that would shock all his childhood friends, would be intoxicating: a demonstration of his own power. But as Allan spoke – and spoke and spoke – of the burden of having inherited enormous wealth, he discovered that the power he wished to demonstrate was over the head waiter.
The young man, violating every unwritten rule of the trade, positioned himself at a point that gave him a direct view of Helena. She found that whenever his eyes drifted away from Allan’s face, those of the head waiter were there to meet them. The third time he did, the head waiter smiled. Her clumsy toothy smile immediately made her want to have sex with him. She was only thinking about this while she and Allan shared a pineapple souffle. Then she excused herself and went to the bathroom, moving slowly through the restaurant, aware of the way her dress declared her sex appeal without screaming.
Helena chose a path that led her directly to pass near the head waiter’s position and as she approached, he took a step forward and handed her a ticket. “Your wardrobe receipt,” he said. But as soon as he was in the bathroom, he saw that on the lower part he had written, with the childish and discontinuous handwriting of a generation that grew up texting, “I finish at midnight. Don’t go far. ” And his number.
She felt insanely alive as she sent a one-word message to that number: Helena.
Helena returned to the table with the waiter’s ticket burning in the inside pocket of her silk dress. Allan was still talking, and when he suggested a walk she agreed. He had dined with Allan and owed him something from Sugar Baby. As they walked up Fifth Avenue, he began to feel ashamed. He felt that everyone who passed by knew about his motives. When Allan tried to take her hand, he withdrew it and kept it away from his.
When they stopped in front of Cartier’s shop window, he felt ill at seeing the reflection in the glass of Allan’s sweaty face and his eager eyes. It was ten minutes to midnight and it was time to make an apology. The boutique was oddly open. When he started talking, Allan said he urgently needed to get in touch with his associates in Oman and let her enter the shop. He was quieter at Cartier than on the street, and she waited politely as he called.
Helena was so lost in thoughts about the head waiter that she barely recorded the removal of a crocodile-shaped emerald brooch from the window. When Allan was now slamming his credit card on the counter, his emphatic but useless protests came. And while he pinned the pin on her chest, she was struck by the disgusting certainty that she had passed the Sugar Baby line: now she would have to kiss him, at least, if not to have sex.
Read Richard Mason’s full story in the May issue of Fashion Italia and his “male” version of L’Uomo.
Steven Meisel, Fashion Italia, October 2003.
Life after Divorce
by Jessica Fellowes
Rebecca Young had been hired in Aberdeen’s Fettercairn castle to take care of the archive. There were family mysteries that needed to be solved. Among the old receipts, the servants’ payrolls, those of the guests full of unpronounceable Scottish names and hundreds of letters, on a foggy day he discovered a bundle of letters tied with a yellow ribbon. They were addressed to the count, his late father’s employer. On the tartan of a loose armchair, he began to decipher the filiform writing.
25 Rutland Mews, Knightbridge
September 14, 1946
My dear Dominic,
After the divorce, we will get married.
We won’t do great things, a simple ceremony in the Chelsea offices and lunch at the Ritz, you and me alone. Before summer Michael will still be in boarding school and, in case, it would be too complicated to let him have a day off, so don’t worry about him.
I want to marry you, but I don’t care about weddings. In the first there was no lack of lace and the organ, the bridesmaids and the flowers, which made everyone sneeze, but it didn’t help much, it seems to me. And with these thoughts I remembered our first meeting. Do you remember? It was a horrible reception in Chelsea that I didn’t want to go to. The guests were boring, but I was alone, because Bill, as usual, who knows where he was. Two years of marriage and I had nothing but bruises in my arms and a red boy screaming. However, I had decided to have fun, and with the black silk dress, buttoned behind with a row of white pearls, which, although out of fashion, wrapped my breasts and hips, I knew I liked men. Did I already have a lock of white hair? I think so, after that fall from the stairs for an accidental time, and not for drunkenness. Young and married, and in many ways naive, I knew that men often wanted to take me to bed. And quite often, my dear, I wanted too (never as much as with you). I find your sex adorable: incurable romantics as you are, it is impossible not to feel compassion. At twenty-three, a guy shut me in a room saying that if I didn’t agree to marry him, he wouldn’t let me out and commit suicide. There was a wonderful party downstairs, but since he had pulled out the loaded pistol, I thought it was better to take it seriously. I put on a record – Louis Armstrong – and telling him not to be a fool I offered him something to drink. I poured him some glasses of whiskey, a finger to me, and I drunk him. He fell asleep and I took the room keys from his pocket.
Read the full story by Jessica Fellowes on the May issue of Fashion Italia and its “male” version of L’Uomo, both on newsstands.