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In case you haven't noticed, the celeb thing is totally rampant. I mean, everyone wants to be one. Everyone except me, that is or so I thought. I never wanted to be a celebrity. I just wanted to be a star.
It all began one warm summer night. As I reached out to open my bedroom window, something caught my eye. Nestled on a blanket of black velvet sky was a star, glittering like some flawless five-billion-carat Cartier diamond. It was so much more brilliant than all the others that I simply couldn't take my eyes off of it.
From that night on I'd climb into my bed and gaze out at the sky as my little star put on its nightly show, twinkling away just for me. I loved it so much, I vowed to be just like it when I grew up: beautiful, radiant, a shimmering light more dazzling than all those around it. But then one evening as I tucked the covers under my chin, the unthinkable
happened my star had disappeared. For weeks I searched the sky for my shining companion, but to no avail. At first I was heartbroken; it felt as if I'd lost my best friend. But strangely, even though my star was no longer visible, I could still feel its presence, silently guiding me through all the events in my life. That star held my destiny.
I never shared that belief with anyone. Not even Evie, who knows just about everything there is to know about me and then some. You see, in my heart of hearts I knew that one day my star would reappear; that fate would come calling, and when it did, something glorious would happen. Though truth be known, I never thought it would happen quite so soon.
Copyright © 2008 by Lisa Barham
- Evie and I arrive at LAX airport and obtain cool rental car. (Pulling up to The Ivy in a Hummer H2would be completely diabolical.) - Exit airport. Get nearly run off the road by an army of rogue Priuses. - Pick up star maps from roadside stand. - Scout L.A. trends, then onward to our spring break destination: Fashion Fantasy Camp!
- Evie and I arrive at LAX airport and obtain cool rental car. (Pulling up to The Ivy in a Hummer H2would be completely diabolical.)
- Exit airport. Get nearly run off the road by an army of rogue Priuses.
- Pick up star maps from roadside stand.
- Scout L.A. trends, then onward to our spring break destination: Fashion Fantasy Camp!
A searing blast of hot desert wind hit me as I twirled out of Barneys' revolving door into the glaring Southern California sunlight. Toy dropped his stuffed animal (Boo Boo II) and panted. Evie had Toy's water bottle, and I was getting a bit concerned. Maybe the "divide and conquer" approach to our fashion scouting mission had been a mistake. I flipped down my sunglasses and frantically slurped the remaining icy morsels of a Starbucks macchiato in an attempt to stave off Spontaneous Dehydration Syndrome a mummylike malady peculiar to West Coast dwellers, where just crossing the sidewalk could prove fatal to one's skin tone.
It was two fifteen, and Evie was late. Toy glanced up at me and sighed. I had to get him some water soon. There was a deli across the street, but with my luck Evie would show up as soon as I went inside. Though I really had no choice.
No sooner had I stepped off the curb than a red Mini Cooper convertible careened down Wilshire Boulevard. The car jerked into a sudden U-turn and screeched wildly across two lanes of oncoming traffic, nearly causing a multicar pileup. It skidded to a halt scarcely an inch in front of me. I scanned Toy and myself. Thankfully we were still alive and undamaged.
"Yo, moron!" someone shouted from a passing car. "Where do you think you are? New York?"
I cringed with secondhand embarrassment. To say that Evie's driving skills were unappreciated by the locals would be an understatement. Unfortunately, there was nothing I could do about it. We'd made a pact to share the driving and today was her day.
"Girlena!" Evie cried, oblivious to the grumbling onlookers who were forcibly detoured around her illegally parked car.
She waved a brand-new Malibu Barbie over her head. "Barbie says get in the car!"
We may have outgrown Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny, but Evie and I still secretly believe in Barbie. Well, Evie does anyway.
Evie cleared the candy wrappers and star maps off the front seat as I loaded my shopping bags. No trip to L.A. would be complete without shopping, and I'd charged a few trendy samples to my Hautelaw expense account. (More on that later.) The rule of thumb in trends is, the minute you know about a trend, it's as good as over. Even before a single stitch of clothing is sold, we fashion forecasters are two years down the road onto the next phase. I mean, What's next is preprogrammed into our DNA.
Without further ado, I scooped up Toy and clambered into the car. Having found his bottle underneath my seat, I poured said water into an empty Pinkberry frozen yogurt dish. Toy slurped gratefully, and I buckled the two of us in. Evie hit the gas and my eyes rolled heavenward. I prayed I'd told my
parents I loved them before I left. I mean, whenever Evie was behind the wheel of anything beyond a tricycle, my thoughts invariably turned to life's tenuous nature how one should always strive to live every day as if it were one's last.
I shouldn't complain though. Were it not for Evie, I'd be spending spring break home in Greenwich, slogging through the dreary late winter slush, passing my days watching reruns of The Hills, and hosting my own private pity party over the MIA status of my boyfriend. Paolo would be physically unavailable no matter where in the world I spent spring break, due to the fact that he'd be studying for midterms over the next two weeks. Talk about frustrating!
I felt like I was going through some weird mid-teen-life crisis or something. I mean, out of the blue, questions had begun to bubble up from my subconscious. Questions like: Does Paolo really love me? Will our relationship last forever? Why are sample sales always on Mondays? Should I get a goldfish? And it was getting worse by the day. Evie said that if I didn't do something about it, I'd be in danger of losing my glitter, not to mention my sparkle, shimmer, and shine.
"It's time to recapture your la dolce vita, girlfriend," she announced one night while devouring a croque monsieur at Meli-Melo. "You know," she said, munching, "get your joie de vivre back...reconnect with your inner self."
I figured she was onto something, because as she
continued her analytical exploration of my psyche, I noticed that I'd cut my crepe up into a series of little frowny faces and scattered them around my plate.
"Worry not, dearest girlena." Whenever she says that, I know I'm doomed. "I have just the cure."
That's when she sprang it on me. Her dad was opening a new restaurant in L.A., and he had scored two of the hottest (according to Evie) spring break tickets in the fashion universe: Fashion Fantasy Camp, an exclusive new venture started by one of his patrons.
Whatever Fashion Fantasy Camp was, it contained my two favorite words: fashion and fantasy. And far be it for me to squander a potentially life-altering experience. I mean, if there's one thing I'm not, it's a squanderer, though Lord knows I come from a long line of them.
The more I thought about it, the more I realized that Evie was right this could be just the thing to snap me out of my funk. Not to mention reinforce my reputation as the fashion-forward go-to girl-about-town. (A moment of clarification: In addition to writing a fashion column, "Daily Obsession," for my school newspaper, I, Imogene, also intern at Hautelaw the glammiest fashion forecasting company in the world.) I mean, in Greenwich where the trick-or-treaters accept credit cards on Halloween exclusive, firsthand experience is compulsory! Plus, Fashion Fantasy Camp would provide two weeks of best-friend bonding time in the land of gorgeous beaches, trendy spa treatments, fabulous nightlife, and nonstop celebs. So you see, I just had to say yes.
So where was I? Oh yes, zooming down Wilshire Boulevard on our way to the obligatory stop at Pink's (Evie's nothing if not a fast-food worshipper).
While Evie ordered our Lord of the Rings onion rings and Star Wars Dogs, my phone vibrated an incoming text message.
"Please be interesting," I prayed to the iPhone gods. To my complete euphoria, it was Paolo, the one and only love of my life. I mean, don't get me wrong, I've had crushes (I refer specifically to my long-held infatuation with Orlando Bloom), but the minute I laid eyes on Paolo, that was it. Gone! Of course, it didn't hurt that he is totally sexy and totally Italian, and made gangly ol' me feel totally beautiful from the very first moment we met. Yes, I know that sounds like some cheesy old movie, or some trite romance novel, but that's exactly what made it so special. I mean, I was definitely not the type of person who believed in love at first sight. But the rules that make up the game of love are full of exceptions, and in my case, Paolo was definitely the exception.
Hautelawgirl: Lol! That's your job. You're the 1 studying to b a filmmaker my life is fashion, remember? PGlam: You never know. Hautelawgirl: Ha-ha. Like that wld ever hapn. PGlam: Just don't 4get the little people when yr on top. And while you're out there, shld u happen to run into any agents, pls give them my#. Hautelawgirl: I'll certainly keep my eyes peeled for 1 on my next trip to Spago. (As if!) PGlam: Miss u amore...
PGlam (as in Paolo Glamonti): Greetings from NYC, mi amore! Have u been discovered yet?
Hautelawgirl: Lol! That's your job. You're the 1 studying to b a filmmaker my life is fashion, remember?
PGlam: You never know.
Hautelawgirl: Ha-ha. Like that wld ever hapn.
PGlam: Just don't 4get the little people when yr on top. And while you're out there, shld u happen to run into any agents, pls give them my#.
Hautelawgirl: I'll certainly keep my eyes peeled for 1 on my next trip to Spago. (As if!)
PGlam: Miss u amore...
The remaining text message has been deliberately censored. Sorry to omit the juicy bits, but I draw the line at e-kissing and telling.
When we finished our last bite, Evie climbed behind the wheel again, to the usual bleating horns and screeching tires as we sped west on Sunset Boulevard at Mach 2.
Not that I was paying attention or anything by then I was far too busy gaping at movie billboards as they sailed past. And from the way the car kept swerving out of its lane, I could tell Evie was enraptured by the billboards too. Between the two of us, she'd always been the more starstruck, predicating her numerous collections on old film stars. From Rita Hayworth, a little cocktail number shot with Chantilly lace; the Audrey Hepburn, a black halter column à la Breakfast at Tiffany's (my personal fave); the Sophia Loren think black lace Sicilian widow; and the Grace Kelly, a fitted bodice with fluffy layers of embroidered ballerina chiffon at the skirt à la Rear Window. The obsession is endless. And so is Evie's talent.
As for moi, I've known from birth that I wanted to be something huge in the fashion world. My original vision of my future went way beyond Coco Chanel worship. My ambition was to become the huge fashion goddess that I knew was lurking deep down in my soul. Poor Mom and Dad. I think they thought they had a real nutcase on their hands. I mean, at age three, while everyone else was making mud pies, I was reupholstering my doll furniture with collage cutouts from Vogue. By the time I'd reached third grade I had my first Chanel bag I traded Tessa Henson my mom's Martha Stewart garden set for her mom's pink and black double-C pochette. (I was a shrewd negotiator.) When I was ten, I asked for a fully let-out sable coat I didn't get one. Growing up with friends from some of the wealthiest families in the country, I was the poorest little rich girl in Greenwich. Raised in a gardener's cottage, I spent my days as the local poster child for the underprivileged, living on hope and falling regularly into the sanctuary of my own imagination (okay, so I'm into escapism, huge!), daydreaming endlessly about my future at the top of the fashion heap. But with the aforementioned onslaught of my little pre-spring break crise de faith, I suddenly felt uncertain as to which way to go. I began to wonder if there was something even bigger out there waiting for me some grand, defining purpose. And I guess, somewhere in the back of my mind, I was secretly hoping that this trip would reveal it and restore my, as Evie put it, la dolce vita. And that when spring break was over, I'd return home a bright, shiny new me.
I glanced over at Evie.
A faint smile crossed her lips when I said her name. While I was off lost in my own thoughts, she had clearly been doing a bit of musing of her own.
I nudged Evie gently to assure myself that her mind was still intact. Then, as if she'd just untangled the meaning of life she announced, "I've got it!"
Got what? Did I miss something? "Maybe we should pull over," I said.
"I can't believe it never occurred to me!"
"Picture it, girlena...me a costume designer. I mean, everyone knows that Seventh Avenue is so twentieth
"Really!" she whined, noting my one arched eyebrow. "You know I adore all things Hollywood, right? Well, combine that with my love of fashion design. Don't you see? What could be more natural?"
It actually did sound logical. Costume design was the perfect future for Evie, and L.A. was the perfect place to do it. And with the palm trees, movie billboards, Bentleys, and an eternal summer, I could see how easily someone could get wrapped up in the idea of her very own, up-close-and-personal fifteen minutes here.
Evie, still reeling from her "Eureka!" moment, placed two connected Twizzlers between her teeth, tore off one, and handed the other to me.
"A celebratory snack," she announced, giggling, "and a toast to our future. Who knows, Fashion Fantasy Camp might very well turn into Fashion Reality Camp!"
A smile finally sprang to my lips. "Here's to Tinseltown...I guess."
We slapped our Twizzlers together, beamed each other our best BFF smiles, and chewed off into the sunset.
Copyright © 2008 by Lisa Barham