It’s Toronto Fashion Week, and the fashionistas race from show to show, like a group of turbo-powered dolls. Their hard-soled shoes click on the floor as they take their seats in the front row, watching - and critiquing - the latest offerings from the City’s creative couturiers.
The Versace show, which closes off the week, is the event of the season. The invites are VIP only. If your name isn’t on the list, then you won’t be making across the velvet rope.
My name is on the list.
Arriving at the site, my date and I enter and take a seat on the lounges. Bottled service if offered, but we decline. In the centre of the room, there’s an elevated aisle, covered in black lacquer, surrounded by two rows of upholstered chairs.
While the club is filling up with the stylish set, my date and I talk and gawk while slim shadys glide past us. After a while, everyone blends into the same person due to the omnipresence of the colour black and the mood lighting.
When the show starts, a series of 10 female and 2 male models strut down the catwalk in the latest Versace designs. The cameras flash multiple times. There are the occasional oohs and ahhs in the crowd as swaths of fabric fly by the faces of the audience.
Everything is fabulous: the clothes, the hair, the makeup, and the both of us.
Soon after the show ends, my date and I decide to go home. It’s getting late and both of us have to get up early the next day.
On our ride home, a steady snowfall covers the City and it surrounds us in a blanket of white.
**Below is an alternate take on the same night.
After getting the wrong directions for the venue, my date and I quickly leave the Bustle show ($9 for 9 minutes of parking) to make way to the Versace event. As we drive through on the slippery streets, we’re lost for a few seconds, but find the location in the City’s hip, west end.
The car is parked, but the parking meter doesn’t accept my credit cards. Into my wallet I go to find loose change. There’s just enough for a couple of hours and to avoid a hefty ticket.
While resembling two people who were caught in a Columbian cocaine storm, both of us enter the venue and I walk up to the sign-in desk. My name isn’t found on the list. I find it and stab the page with my fingernail, despite the fact that I’m reading the paper upside down and backwards.
Since my date isn’t “registered” (even though I have a plus one), she has to pay to get in. This is not amusing to me or her. I can try and bitch my way around it, but I’m too tired. Being the gentleman that I am, I pay for her ticket.
Even though the doors opened at 9 p.m., I think we’re late when we enter at 9:15. We’re not. The place is empty. Vacant. We look around and find a place to sit. There’s a lounge area upstairs but it’s all reserved, so we sit on a sofa-cum-extended-ottoman.
For a while, things are fine. We entertain ourselves with stories about our lives, but we stop when we have nothing else to say.
Around 11:30, the club gets crowded, the music gets louder, and the fashion parade doesn’t stop with most people wearing the editorial uniform of tits and ass.
The people sitting next to us sample the bottle service, making my date and I wonder how much money people in retail must make to afford approximately $500 worth of Moët. We must be in the wrong business.
The show starts at 12:15 - three
hours after we arrive. The clothes are not from the latest Spring/Summer ’07 collection, but from the resort collection. There is only one bathing suit (on a misshapen girl), no Oscar dresses, and an endless supply of black leather jackets on the two male models (who the fuck wears black leather jackets in the summer?
After 15 minutes, it’s over. Both of us want to go home. We're tired since we’ve had busy weeks at work. Her fatigue is compounded by the fact that she has an hour’s worth of driving to do.
On the way home, the snow doesn't stop and other drivers have a penchant for braking at inopportune times. It freaks out the both of us. I try to make my fate feel better by telling her that I should come with her to a club so she can watch me dance to calypso music (it works and I can move my body like no other white boy).
By the time she drops me off at the station, I have to clean a few layers of snow and ice off my car before I can drive it. When I get home, I strip my clothes off on the way to the bedroom, don't bother to take a shower (even though I smell of smoke) and climb into bed feeling dirty.