Friday, January 4, 2008

In which the Author Drops some Names



When I worked in Manhattan, one of the perks was meeting some of the fabulous fashion/beauty names I’d read about only in magazines.

When Frederic Fekkai was promoting his now-defunct-but-then-new line of makeup, I had a consultation with him at Saks’ flagship store. I thought it was fitting because some four years earlier, when I was a graduate student in the Midwest, I had made an appointment with him to cut off my very long hair.

I had seen his work on Isabella Rossellini in the late great Mirabella and loved the way he shaped hair around the nape of her neck. So, with summer vacation in sight and graduate student paychecks to hoard(!), I made an appointment with him at Bergdorf Goodman, where his salon was then located. I cannot emphasize how much I looked forward to this appointment, this one-on-one with the current NYC hair darling known for his flattering cuts as well as his own good looks.

So I don’t need to say how horrified I was when the FF salon called me about a week before my appointment and cancelled it. FF had been skiing in Gstaad and broke his leg or twisted his ankle—I didn’t even hear correctly because my hope at having fabulous hair was dashed. The hair guru was seeing only limited clients because of his injury and I was quickly rescheduled with his protégé, Mark Garrison, the super-charming and lovely stylist who now has his own eponymous salon.

But back to the makeup. The textures and colors of FF’s line did not thrill me, so when Bloomingdale’s was offering a chance to meet Bobbi Brown, whose lip stain and gloss I love, I jumped at the chance. Her advice was to go to a good brow shaper for some definition and recommended Bliss in SoHo. At that time—1996—Bliss was still a beauty sanctuary in the city, so I gladly heeded her advice and miraculously found a lunchtime appointment for the next day.

After my brow shaping, I went to the waiting room to settle up, and began feeling quite hungry, as I’d skipped lunch in the name of beautiful brows. To my right stood a woman with a plate piled high with mouth-watering fruit and other delicacies. I felt like I was looking in the Patimkins’ basement refrigerator in Goodbye Columbus, so desirable was this plate of food. I gazed at the woman’s plate, wondering how she had procured it, when I felt a pair of eyes upon me.

Glancing to my left, toward the door, I saw a very tall man in a suit standing with legs apart, hands folded behind him, watching me watch the plate. And then it struck me. Just as the woman with the food was accepting two spa goodie bags (two!!) and was saying how “maaarrrvelous” her Bliss experience was, I realized that I had been staring down Oprah Winfrey’s plate of food and that her bodyguard was having none of my bad behaviour.

Off then I went, sans goodie bag or lunch bag, back to my publishing office, in search of a perfect NY bagel on the way.

What are some of your name-dropping encounters??

1 comment:

allie in c'ville said...

Ooo...hard to top an Oprah encounter. But, I do have an annoying little name dropping habit that I recently aquired. While purchasing a scarf at Calypso(drop) in East Hampton(drop)I asked the manager to educate me on how to tie it the way all the other swanky Hamptonites seemed to be wearing theirs. Well, turned out she learned this specific little knot tying trick from none other than Calvin Klein(drop, drop) himself. So, of course, everytime I execute said knot I make sure to pronounce to anyone within ear shot the origin of my skills. I'm sure I've grated on more than one nerve!