Long ago in the dim recesses of time- you know the late seventies- I had an encounter in New York that dear Al inadvertently reminded me of the other day. I thought it might give him a smile.
I had more or less bailed on my very proper upbringing and ventured off to the wicked city to pursue my dream of being the next Gelsey Kirkand. Well, let’s just say that knees are a very poorly designed body part and we’ll leave it at that, shall we? Well yours truly was pretty much having a ball. Working hard at dancing, doing the occasional modeling gig to make some cash and partying my ass off more or less. I lived in a second floor walk up on Christopher Street. Yes, really. Myself, two anorexic psychotic models and a drag queen named Ramon/Ramona shared a two bedroom apartment. I opted to room with Ramona because the other two pretty well annoyed me. Let’s say it was a learning experience. All I know about makeup dears was learned there. I still miss you R..
I had met a quite fetching young man that I rather liked and he invited me to a very fancy gathering that his parents demanded he attend, a schmoozing thing for the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Well, as he was quite good looking, and let’s be real- completely loaded in the trust fund sort of cash reserve way, I accepted. Give me a break, I was flat broke and he was actually quite a nice guy in spite of the trust fund.
Well this did pose a bit of a problem. I had decamped to the metropolis with the leotards and such, the punk princess wear and the disco queen stuff. I had nothing even vaguely appropriate. So, I did what any sensible girl would do , I called my Mamma..
Well bless her heart, she called a shop she was quite well acquainted with and made an appointment for me to acquire something appropriate. While I never did learn what the conversation actually consisted of, I have a deep and abiding suspicion she said something to the effect of “put her in something by Monsieur de Givenchy- period.” Yes, I ended up with the quintessential Givenchy “little back dress”. And she naturally sprang for shoes and a bag, she was like that. You were indeed the best Mamma..
And it was a smashing dress. Very simple, immaculately tailored and I felt like a princess the moment I put it on. Trust fund boy and I arrived for this big soiree and I felt a rising sense of panic when we walked in. All the women were doing the late seventies pre “Dynasty” thing.. I felt like the ugly duckling in a room full of peacocks. Thus, I was feeling very awkward and quite out of place as the simple southern deb in her black dress and pearls.. The pater and mater were quite charming truthfully, and I proceeded to have actually a relatively pleasant evening.
And then it happened. The one and only Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis showed up. I must say I did consider fainting as an option. Really. While trying to be cool and not stare while she was making the quick rounds of the various loaded patrons, and I wasn’t the only one, I was literally captivated watching her.
She approached the mater and pater and did the quick, how lovely of you to come bit, and went to move along. She looked at me and smiled and gave that regal little head incline thing and gave me a quick little wink. I think my smile must have lit up the entire upper east side.
At that moment I realized we were actually the only two women in the room wearing the proverbial “simple black dress”.
I made the most expensive collect call of my life that night..