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For Charity

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The secret to fashion is in the manner of perception. If a designer claims he or she is an artist, then a portion of this precious secret eludes them. Fashion is a novel; the designer is an author.

When someone cracks open a book, they begin a journey. Models and characters display their strengths and weaknesses, putting on whatever fragments and pieces represent their personalities, and casting aside the stitches and scraps in a great purge of what they want to change. It is a reflection of self. The sleek dress suit is the cold dramatic enigma filled with archetypes, double entendre, and irony. The elegant evening gown is the romantic allusion teeming with foreshadowing and foreplay. Fashion is an endless stream of words in which the viewer learns some universal truth. It is a conversation between creator and viewer that allows the metaphorical reader to respond by donning one truth here and another moral there, constructing their own exquisitely unique story made from the tales of countless others. Certainly, fashion is art but not some empty, hollow beauty. It tells a tale. To dress a woman is to know her.

This…stuff?

“Stop.”

The photographer lowered his camera in defeat, knowing full well the shoot was less than perfect. Less than mediocre.

Young Nigel stepped forward and instructed the models to take a rest. Apparently the inability to perform one’s job was exhausting. I slowly walked towards the set, the click of a heel heavily punctuating each step. It was never the height of the Prada that mattered but the authority behind that delectable sound that I always admired.

The exposition was dynamic and acceptable; young Nigel had worked well with the other directors in producing a worthy futuristic and apocalyptic wasteland exposition. The motif of the science fiction battle seemed suitable. What was missing? Andrea would have looked stunning in the leather couture.

Andrea would have loved this shoot.

We had been crammed in an elevator on the way to meet a potential investor. She always seemed to have a predisposition to ramble nervously whenever I allowed her to join my presence in the mechanical box.

“We’re meeting in Suite R2, Room D2,” she said with a laugh, “Ha, R2D2, that’s awesome.”

I felt my eyebrow arch in amusement.

“You know, R2D2. From Star Wars…you probably haven’t seen Star Wars,” she mumbled, looking around the elevator. “I dressed as Princess Leia for Halloween once.”

Her fidgeting in the silence that followed was, for lack of a better word, incredibly adorable.

As the doors opened, I think I may have fried her pretty little head when I finally responded.

“I always had an admiration for Darth Vader, actually. Rather…awesome.”

I glanced over at the models daintily sipping from bottles of water.

Hire the smart, fat girl.

“Nigel.”

A tall head of raven hair appeared beside me.

“These models look unable to lift a gun, much less shoot one. Is it really so arduous a task to find me a model that has at least an ounce of muscle?”

 


 

“Operation Smile called. They want to issue a public statement in gratitude of your donation of five-thousand and one dollars.”

I swept past Emily’s desk without so much as a backwards glance.

“A representative from the AIDs foundation also wished to speak to you regarding the seventy-five hundred and one dollar gift,” Emily continued, following behind me into my office. An invisible smile touched my lips.

“The New York Times requested a comment regarding the four-thousand and one to Make-a-Wish, the ten-thousand and one to the SPCA, and the nine-hundred and eighty-one to,” Emily squinted at her notepad, “the Bug and Insect Life Appreciation Club of New York City.” An almost inaudible ‘bloody hell’ followed her final point.

I calmly sat behind my desk and slid on my reading glasses.

“Did you issue the same comment as the others?”

“Yes, Miranda.”

“Then why are you bothering me with this information?”

Emily’s impersonation of a deer in headlights was always my second favorite visual whilst at the Runway offices. Andrea in those Chanel boots had most certainly been my first.

“That’s all.”

It took approximately twelve minutes before I had come to the conclusion that reminiscing over a particular assistant in a very specific pair of tight, leather footwear was a dreadful mistake. I found her body a very distracting subject, and it had been even more unbearable when she was just outside my door. Or bending over to retrieve something off my desk…

In some twisted form of self-preservation, my train of thought quickly averted to the cold pragmatics of my situation, instantly relieving me of a newly acquired heat. Pondering the current track of my plan, the probability of her rejection was a little higher than I preferred. Statistically, my ability to woo was exceptional and almost always successful. Obviously my two marriages didn’t end well, but they fulfilled their purposes. Yet this was the first time I was so emotionally invested.

Somewhere between the heated eye contact during meetings, accidental hand grazes when exchanging coffee, revealing evening gowns, small jokes and smiles in the town car, and even the rare moments of weakness and comfort, Andrea had invaded my life. Somewhere between occasional compliments, spontaneous working dinners deep in the night, and lingering meetings after dropping off the Book, she invaded my heart too, or at least whatever rested where my heart should. I fell in love with Andrea Sachs, and I hated her for it.

I had no time to be nervous or uncertain. I, Miranda fucking Priestly, was going seduce this woman. The question of how was simply a creative work in progress.

Suddenly, the soft thud of glass doors shutting preluded an overly dulcet, falsely high-pitched voice.

“‘Has the Ice Queen’s heart finally melted? Fashion matriarch Miranda Priestly spotted dropping a few thousand on various charities this Tuesday. Probably a mere fraction of the hasty divorce settlement, the Devil herself has left huge money gifts to charities with all amounts ending in a single dollar. Quantities range from 501 to a whopping 50,0001. Is the funky number a witch’s curse? The only statement coming from the office of La Priestly: Every dollar counts. Is our naughty leader finally going nice?”

Nigel tossed the paper on to my desk. “Page Six doesn’t know what to do with you.”

“Even I am tiredly amazed with myself, Nigel. It’s quite exhausting being this impressive.”

“Careful. Wouldn’t want that humble pie spilling on your Armani jacket. Snaps on those power pinstripes by-the-by,” he replied, relaxing into the armchair before my desk.

“I am a prime example of humility,” I said, carefully brushing aside a front lock of hair and raising my chin.

“You’re outdoing every good-doer that was ever mentioned in Six’s column by one dollar to the exact same charities just to get her attention. The epitome of an angel,” Nigel smirked, removing a peppermint from his pocket.

“Merely the beginning,” I sighed nonchalantly, lightly repositioning my glasses.

“Oh?”

“Indeed,” I almost hissed.

Nigel glanced up from his methodic untying of plastic. “I see. You think I’m a double agent for Miss Sachs. No worries. I’m a vault.”

My lips pursed in response.

“Fine, fine. Tell me how my replacement, fair Jeremiah, is performing,” he said, popping the mint candy in his mouth.

I sat back in my chair and crossed my legs. It was unfortunate this was only the primary phase of my plan to seduce Andrea. The slit in this skirt would have been incredibly expedient.

“Hm. Petite Nigel is…manageable,” I said with a frown.

“In Miranda speak, that’s a raving review.” My smile turned almost evil.

“You could say I’ve been in a giving mood.”

 


 

“What is the way to a woman’s heart?”

Patricia cocked her head playfully.

“I am well aware pleasing you is immeasurably simple,” I state, continuing to rub my pet’s stomach, “I am more specifically referring to Andrea.”

The St. Bernard had sprawled herself on the floor of my office a few minutes ago, and I had honestly welcomed the distraction from the Book. I currently sat beside her with a glass of pinot noir.

“You bonded with her at some point I believe,” I muttered before taking a sip of wine, “Any insight to her personality would be helpful.”

The large ball of fur rolled over and placed her head on my lap.

“If you drool on my silk Versace lace-lined robe, I will personally ensure you never work in the household canine business ever again.”

My threat fell on deaf ears that I began to scratch. I often wondered if I would be considered nicer among human society if it was composed of people who maintained the personality of dogs. I would certainly be happier. All I ever demanded of my staff is that they pushed their limits to perform to the very apex of their abilities. A dog always obeyed simply to see their owner’s approval and did their absolute best in every instance. The typical human response was to suggest I was a complete and utter bitch. With people, there were hidden motives and cutting corners abound. Meanwhile, Patricia’s big, brown eyes were always open, honest, and ready to please.

I’ve only witnessed brown eyes like hers in one other face.

You are very fetching. So, go fetch.

“Well, I do believe I’ve had enough wine if I’m comparing my love interest to a dog,” I said, placing my empty glass on the table.

“Although, if all you require is to be fed and occasionally pet to be content with life, wooing Andrea can’t be that problematic.”

A small whine sounded from below.

“Oh, hush. You’ll still remain my favorite,” I state, standing up, “though, I’m rather certain ‘petting’ Andrea will be a completely different experience.”

I heard panting as I turned to leave the room.

“I’ll explain when you’re older. Come along, Patricia.”