Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Me and Carine.

So... a few weeks back French Vogue called.

Carine was in town to shoot an exclusive Gucci editorial with Mario Sorrenti and required my assistance -  "Ah mais oui, bien sur, pas de souci" I replied. Then they hit me with a bombshell - her main assistant in Paris wouldn't be coming - this time, Madame Roitfeld was strictly in need of MY assistance, i.e. mine and only mine, yes one-on-one, little old me and one of fashion's most powerful figure-heads. Gulp.

The day of the shoot arrived.

All samples were due from Milan and Venice that morning, which meant I was at the mercy of international couriers. Now, if you work in fashion, you will know that this is definitely not an ideal situation to be in, but it is even less ideal when you are assisting the Editor-in-Chief of French Vogue and have not been involved with the initial preparation for the shoot. All I could do was wait, pray that everything would go to plan, and nurse my fears by attacking the free breakfast.

At 9.30am, I was presented with an enormous delivery from Milan. Hallelujah!!! Time to step away from the croissants and get to work. I got down on my hands and knees, armed with scissors and tore my way through mountains of tissue paper and bubble wrap. My heart was pounding with the excitement of seeing Carine's selected pieces... and there they were, waiting patiently underneath: a treasure trove of vintage accessories, spanning from the 1920s to the 1990s.
Pure. Gucci.  Heaven.

I began laying out each piece with tender-loving care, indulging in seeing my reflection holding such coveted and iconic maroquinerie, when an amazonian goddess entered the room.

"Hi, I'm Arizona"...
"Hi, I'm short... I mean Charlene!"

(Wow. There's nothing quite like an impossibly thin model to make you regret having just scoffed a croissant).

Radiating a flawless, ethereal beauty, it's hardly surprising that this girl has been chosen as the face for YSL's SS11 campaigns - mark my words now, she is going to be huge! Besides making me feel extremely inadeqate, Arizona's presence also reminded me of a hugely worrying factor - we had a model, bags, shoes and belts - mais pas de vetements... this girl was going to be seriously naked if the second delivery didn't arrive soon.

The Lord must have heard my prayers, because then, right on cue - the second box was planted at my feet. PHEW. With a silent prayer of thanks, I opened the second box, only to find jewellery... 

I frantically dialed the office in Paris - voicemail. Sweet Jesus, please send me some clothes! It's safe to say my heart was pounding by now, Carine would be here any minute and we had nothing to dress the model in. A few calls later, I was told that the final delivery - les vetements - were stuck in customs and wouldn't be at the studio for another 2 hours at least...
Three letters came to mind at that moment. F.M.L.

And then she arrived. Carine. Wearing a vintage suede Alexander McQueen skirt, her uniform Christian Louboutins and the most SUBLIME camel cape (that's French Vogue speak for amazing). We did the standard double french kiss, she told me how much my hair had grown (did I mention how much I adore this woman?) and then it was time to break the news...

No clothes? No problem. We will shoot her naked.

And that's exactly what we did.

Buy this month's French Vogue to see the real deal.


la-chauve-souris said...

Amazing! Charlene, I am really enjoying reading your blog and getting some inside info on the industry.

Miss Dolly said...

Wow, what an amazing opportunity. The shoot looks great! Reminds me of the one Kate Moss did in LOVE for the Body Issue...issue?

Love the way the accessories actually kind of look like outfits!