I – You are not on the list !

So Garaaaaaaaaance! What are you gonna wear to Carine’s party? Anna asked me. Wait, Carine is having a par… wait, what? What party are you talking about? I dunno… I… I don’t think I was invited.

And that was the first time I heard about the masquerade ball celebrating Vogue’s 90th.

I – You are not on the list !

Alors alors alors Garaaaaance ! Tu vas mettre quoi pour la fête de Carine ? M’a demandé Anna. La fête de C… Quoi ? Mais de quelle fête tu parles ? Je ne sais pas… Je… Je crois que je ne suis pas invitée.

Voilà la première fois que j’ai entendu parler du bal masqué des 90 ans de Vogue.

First time that I realized that this week would end in a crescendo of frustration. The dress code? Black tie. The host? Carine Roitfeld. The locale? Karl Lagerfeld’s Parisian apartment. The theme? Eyes Wide Shut. It was the only things on everyone’s lips.

Everybody was super excited :

> IRL : “Oh my god Garance, you’re not going to recognize me Thursday night. I’m going to be more incognito than the phantom of the opera.
> E-mail : “GARANCE!!! Do you think I’d be crazy if I made a stop over from New York to Paris for a quick two day stint just to go to Carine’s party?
> Telephone : “Shiiiiiiiiit Garance I don’t know what to wear!!! Everyone’s gonna be to the nines! Get over here and we’ll go shopping? Wait, what? You’re not invited? What’s this about?

After about a week of it, I didn’t even react anymore. I just had that sour feeling of being the only one not invited. Poor little Garance, the entire world has left her behind. Boooooo… And even after all that, you know, yeah, I kinda super wanted to go to Carine’s fancy ball.

The day before the party, the frenzy was palpable. People would share adresses of the stores that sell Venetian masks. Girls would be exchanging dresses by text message and everyone left the runway shows to go find the finishing touches to their outfits.

Except for the Balmain show, T minus three hours before the party. Just like magic, everyone was there. It was packed, electric, and in every corner of the room, only one subject : The masquerade ball. You could literally see on peoples’ faces who was invited and who wasn’t. I was commiserating with a friend of mine who was not on the list just like me when suddenly, Carine walks in, accompanied by Scott. And she looks like she’s in a state of shock.

“Why didn’t you call me? Someone just told me you weren’t invited. Of course you’re invited. It’s just been hell the past couple days. Imagine trying to keep track of a guest list 600 plus. What do you mean you’ve got nothing to wear? What do you mean it’s too last minute? C’mon, you’re coming! They’ll be giving out masks at the door. You’re coming!”

I took my seat at Balmain totally petrified. Julia, Carine’s daughter, turns to me and says, “So what’re you gonna wear?!”

II : So, what’re you gonna wear?!

Arg. I have no idea, Julia. Oh but I didn’t care and I wasn’t about to start whining. I was so excited! There was only two hours for me to find an outfit that everyone else had three months to get ready for, but I’d find one, oh yes I would. And if I didn’t, well, I’d go naked and bring a whip. It’s Vogue Paris, right? Carine? Not so much?

After Balmain, I met up with Scott at a café. Battle plan. He didn’t have a tux. They were all in New York. As for me, I didn’t have any dresses I could wear to level of party of the century. But I wasn’t about the get down. I’d find one. I’d find one.

We decided to make a quick run around Printemps, the Paris mutli-brand store. A half-hour, no more. We only had two hours before all the shops closed and we had to find… well…. everything. We had to find EVERYTHING.

I went zooming through the aisles. A YSL pant-suit? A Lanvin dress? A jumpsuit from Stella? Every time I thought of something, Scott made a face. I wanted to strangle him just a little. I was getting hysterical. But I trust him so there.

After 10 infuriuating tries, he cries out : I have an idea!!! What if I bought you a nice black trench at Burberry? And then you leave it open just right to show your legs and decolleté, then put on some amazing lingerie and super high heels… Whaddya think? It’s the ideal outfit for the Cool French Girl. And then all you have to do is be confident and be the Cool French Girl. You would even be able to smoke, ahah.

A trench coat and a pair of Lanvin heels later, I just needed to find my inner Cool French Girl, oh, and the amazing lingerie. I waved a symbolic goodbye to my bank account, and a literal goodbye to Scott would was off on a mission to find a pair of shoes. All alone, I made my way to the basement of Printemps.

Direction : Agent Provocateur.

I get to the little corner all pink and black. I see the two hostesses fussing over a rather pretty girl. And on her nose, a silver mask.

I cry out, “You’re going to the Vogue masquerade ball! I just know it!!!

She takes off her mask, gives me a big smile and says, “Yeah! You too?!”

Before I can even open my mouth to say yes, I let out a cry. Oh yes, this girl is pretty. Sublime even.

It’s Crystal Renn.

———

Okay, I’ll be back soon to let you know what happened after this, because it’s all too funny. You ready for the next novel?

Translation : Tim Sullivan