Saturday, October 27, 2012
I fidgeted in the small black chair with x-legs, trying to figure out what to do with my hands. I can't believe I'm about to see her... I thought.
One hour prior to the event, I had gawked at the outdoor display of Garance, beautiful and striking in its simplicity. Dallas's skies threatened to thunder and storm, and after grabbing the camera from the car, looking both ways across the road, and running up toward Neiman Marcus in my black heels, I tripped on the uneven asphalt. @#$^!! Am I really going to fall all over the place before I even get inside? Now cautiously walking in order to avoid unwanted falls, I snapped a few photos of the display, jogged back to the car, and tossed the camera back into the trunk.
Huddling myself against the wind, I made my way to the glass entryway and pulled the heavy door open. Neiman Marcus was filled with designer fashion...things I loved to look around at, but caused me to wince in pain with after checking price tags. I wonder if this coat...$1,795. Nope, never mind. I'll just have to wander around until the event starts and refuse the lure of the clothes.
After hovering around all three levels of the store, every so often trying on baggy cashmere sweaters, checking tall floor-lenth mirrors to make sure my black pants were lint free, and cursing the barely visible stain on my denim shirt that I most likely acquired during the fast food stop, I check my watch and realized that I needed to get up to the third level to claim a seat.
I skipped to the escalators, hanging onto the black plastic rails. Gingerly stepping from the escalator step onto the glassy surface of the tiled floors, I noticed that the rolled out carpet leading to the stage labeled with Garance's name was flanked with servers dressed in black, holding white champaign and wine. Gripping my sketchbook and purse close to my body, I politely refused the drinks, and made my way toward the seating arrangement.
Now here I was, back in my seat. I checked the chairs around me, filled with fashionable women. Some were sitting in groups, others alone, like myself. I was, in fact, waiting for my friend I had known from college to show up. Annnytime now. There were interesting people all around me: a woman in a khaki trench coat who was in marketing, another who was filling in for her fashionista daughter, who was unable to attend, and two friends; one with perfect eyebrows wearing her Versace blouse while occasionally sipping champaign from the slender glass, the other in a stunning black dress, fire engine red lipstick with a tint of orange, and a black ponytail. We all talked about Garance, our jobs, and our interests. I felt a small tap on my should, and was elated at the arrival of my friend.
"Sooo good to see you!!" Anna said, embracing me. We glanced around the room, trying to look for open spots in order to sit together. After finding open seats, I waved at the women around me, we quickly exchanged business cards, and Anna and I ducked into our new seats.
Just a few seconds later, following the stylish interviewer sporting black-rimmed glass, red lips, and a high bun, Garance appeared, wearing her designer navy blazer, short flowy skirt, and pointed heels. Contrary to her usual signature bun, her hair was let down in dark, shiny curls pushed behind her ears.
Yes, she was everything and more I had thought she was. Beautiful and humorous in person, she was also humble and entirely relatable, telling the story of when she received her first pair of Converse shoes as a teenager. "I'm so cool, I'm SO COOL!" she recalled, referring to her former 15-year-old thoughts, noting that her small town in Corsica where she grew up was void of any type of fashion, and that her friend's mother had brought the Converse shoes back from a trip to Paris.
I excitedly sat in my chair, ever so often snapping photos with my phone, recording short videos, and restraining the urge to grab Anna's arm out of eagerness. Before I knew it, Garance had answered all the questions asked by the interviewer, described her fashion approach displayed on the models on the carpeted catwalk, and it was suddenly time to jump in line to speak to Garance face to face. Anna and I caught up as much as we could about her life in Dallas, my life in San Antonio, and what we would say to Garance when our turn came up. "My legs are shaking," I whimpered to Anna. "Is it dorky that I made an illustration of her to sign?"
"Nooo!" Ahh. She always made me feel better, just as she had when we used to share all-nighters in the studios, editing floor plans and perspectives for our interior design finals.
Before I knew it, we had met with Garance, who was warm and supportive. There are so many positive ways to describe her, but just to keep it short, I'll just say that she is absolutely amazing.
Was the five-hour drive worth the meeting? Yes, a thousand times over.