missmalini.comHuman beings are remarkable.
Remarkable for their creativity, intelligence, resilience and sheer existence.
But human beings are most remarkable for their ability to adapt.
Once upon a time, from the eyes of a child, an impossibly glamorous scene in a movie will appear to be just that: a fictional event that happens to other people, far, far away.
I was 12 in 2006, a wee tot named Gavin Davies in Year 8 when Ugly Betty aired on Channel 4.
It was a secret indulgence of pleasure, frightfully embarrassed to be caught watching it (as sitcoms about fashion and fabulosity is NOT for boys… “I was trying to find the cartoons, Dad.”
A glittering land of fantasy, ultra grown-up and wholly unimaginable for someone raised in the grimmest of Victorian terraces the uncouth and close-minded North West had to offer. This was a world where, much like in The Sundays Times‘ Style magazine that I read, the listings of £2000 high-heels and handbag clashing with the sound of my father’s horseracing channel babble.
It was a London world, a New York world.
A big city world that was as real to me as Venus or Neptune.
16 years old, my mind momentarily distracted by worrying why I wasn’t being invited to the local town centre to enter the sticky-floored clubs illegally or whether I would achieve the ‘right’ amount of GCSES.
At home, alone in my world of PC pixels, I had discovered the furs, the glitter and the jewels of Dynasty. The couture suits, the ludicrous glamour of a red contoured cheek and wide brimmed hat. To hold myself as they do in their middle age, the unspoken knowledge that if one’s alligator skin purse has its home under the arm, it is obvious the out-stretched hand will hold one’s gloves.
The confiance totale to sip champagne and eat caviar, with no thought that one doesn’t deserve to be there or is not sophisticated or elegant enough to exude opulence
20 years old, the life of Gavino di Vino a clouded fantasy, speckled with the red pain of leaving a life behind that had not been kind, my new life of completion in London awaiting.
An early rise, buoyed by someone filled with the nervous energy of doing something utterly bizarre: attending a Vivienne Westwood fashion show.
To normalize the imaginary is to live the life you deserve, and to live I am determined to do!
The tantalising ritual of queuing to get inside, despite holding tickets in our nervous hands, beckons, the door bitch ruthlessly feeding any gatecrashers to the dogs! (Disclaimer – no dogs or gatecrashers were harmed during VWAW16)
The most intimidating part of any fashion show is not the door bitch, the officious PR girls dealing with seating or even the snarling editors who are convinced you have stolen their seat.
No: it is the big flashbulb monster that lies at the end of the runway, the lack of attention they pay you for not being Cara de le Bon sending you into an unending spasmodic chasm of irrelevance (at least for a few seconds.)
A pouting fashion blogger saw my fabulous look and thought me worthy of his digital camera space, but sneered and lowered his lens when this wasn’t the case.
The chit chat ends and the show begins.
The champagne fizzed and the conversation bounced, but it is important to not get ahead of yourself and believe that the exclusive world of fashion adheres to normal conventions.
I approach Vivienne Westwood as she chats with Martina, the German lady who got me the ticket to the show.
The planned conversation is as follows:
“Hello! Sorry to interrupt, but I’m leaving now and just wanted to say how inspiring it is to see someone else from the North West do so well in London. It’s Gavino by the way.”
How it went:
Me: “Hello! Sorry to interru-”
Vivienne Westwood: “Yes. Thank you for interrupting.”