I made an unnerving discovery this week. Much to my own chagrin, it appears that my job as stylist is not dissimilar to that of, ahem, a chat line operator, shall we say.
Just the other day, I found myself nipping into the changing rooms of a preeminent retail establishment to take an emergency call from a client. The audio behind the curtain went something like this, “So what are you wearing?” “Really?” (insert inflection here). “Oh, I prefer you in that little red dress. Can you put that on?” You get the picture.
Upon exiting the velvet drapes, I realised just how loud I am and how a phone conversation out of context can render innocent bystanders speechless. Note: this folks is how rumours start. Oddly enough, it got me thinking that there are parallels to be made. In fact much of what I do involves coaxing a client from a sartorial rut through role play and visual stimuli – a theatre of the mind. It just so happened on this occasion to sound like the kind of theatre where one pays for a private booth.
Slightly mortified at my incident behind the arras, I took solace in a few glasses of Pinot with some friends. “Ever thought of changing from 02 to an 0800 number?” enquired one. “You may as well work that premium rate,” agreed the other. “Why not rebrand yourself as The Clothes Whisperer?” joked the third. “How supportive of you,” I sneered pouring another glass. “I’m so glad I came.” “Ah now, that’s what your clients are supposed to say.” Cue: much in the way of inappropriate laughter.
And with that coup de grace, the flashbacks started. Purring loudly whilst stroking shoes in Harvey Nichols (I’ll be having you Jimmy Choo!), audible noises heard from the Pauric Sweeney concession in Brown Thomas (that would be me), the explosive ‘Oh God!’ each time I see a Tom Ford ad campaign (can’t be helped) – this is all part of my DNA; it just so happens to serve me well in my job.
“So, I’m basically a fashion whore,” I exclaimed somewhat proudly. “Don’t flatter yourself sweetie,” quipped one of the lynch mob. “I’ve seen your underwear drawer. Marks & Spencer 5 packs do not qualify for Belle du Jour status. Nothing like a few supportive words to stroke a gal’s ego.