Dazed and Dazzled by Dior

Submitted into Contest #145 in response to: Set your story at a global fashion event — or a carnival ball.... view prompt

3 comments

Fiction Romance Urban Fantasy

Dazed and dazzled by the Dior collection of haute couture at the Dallas Museum of Art, Dorian experienced a liminal moment of decided, delirious spiritual bliss. In this state, he could hardly remember his own name or why he had come again (his sixteenth visit to the exhibit in 19 days—oh, why, why were they closed on Mondays?) 

Bumping into a young woman who stood with a sketchbook in front of a dazzling gingko-leaf printed draped masterpiece, his drawing diary disengaged from his arms, and a dozen sheaves of watercolor paper descended, bedecked with his latest inspirations. She gasped and bent to help him collect them, and their eyes and beings met. He had never connected this way with anyone; few had understood his drive to decipher and create art. 

"What, what is your name?" he stammered, drawn to the decorous outline of gingko shapes on her sketchbook. 

She looked at him through the longest (false) eyelashes he could remember seeing. She didn’t look down at him disdainfully or up at him as a demigod, but directly at him as an equal. 

“Dolores.”

In his mind he finished her name with “del Rio,” his favorite actress from the Golden Age of film. “My name is . . . ” he stammered, distraught.

“Dorian,” she finished for him as she studied the signature on one of his sketches. “These are deft, daring, dramatic, and dynamic!”

“Dare I see yours,” Dorian asked, “over dessert?”

“I'd be delighted.”

They continued to walk, each aflame with anticipation. While their eyes surveyed the exhibition, they clutched hands instinctively and devoutly as they came upon a supremely delectable dress, then drifted to the café as if floating on clouds. 

During dessert, they confessed their desire to spread to the world their love of fashion and Dior. They dreamt up ways to demonstrate this goal: 

“We could rent a dirigible and fly over Dallas, dropping Dior exhibition guides to the masses hungering for beauty.”

“Yes! Much like the Italian Decadent poet Gabriele D'Annunzio—the lover of the Italian star Eleonora Duse—as he dropped pro-Italian leaflets over Vienna from an airplane.”

What would the future hold for these two nascent stars of the dress, stars who might one day shine diamond-like in the firmament as Dior did now?

While Dolores sketched designs in her notebook, Dorian diligently contributed details to them, adding embellishments with markers and colored pens. 

“A decisively productive rendezvous,” she murmured, batting her lashes demurely. 

Returning to the exhibit, they swooned over the Dior gowns as if in the cathedral of Notre-Dame on the tragic day of the fire, taking in every detail before its spire, ablaze, collapsed and the dismayed public was asked to leave.

Dorian remembered his first inclination to observe, design, and make women's fashions, at the age of 4. He had been eating lunch with Donelle, his best friend at kindergarten. Donelle took as little interest in her lunch as he had. Instead they took a few bites of their sandwiches and then began folding and tearing their paper napkins and brown paper bags, not trying for the intricacies of origami but rather fashioning their paper products into miniature garments of great sophistication.

Making clothes from real fabric would be next. At Donelle's house, the two went into her mother's closet, where a dizzying array of velvets, silks, chiffons, and other fabrics beckoned. With scissors, they cut out only diminutive sections of the most alluring garments to design new clothes for her Barbie, a petite Fashionista model with brown skin, one of the new more anatomically natural permutations of Barbie. He himself was not allowed to have dolls, and his dire disdain at his growing collection of trucks, cars, guns, and action figures was defeating. Why was he not allowed a doll to dress? 

When Donelle's mom discovered her debauched, defective clothes, she shrieked, cursed, moaned, and demanded he leave their home, failing to appreciate the dexterous, delicate new outfits they had designed. O, the Dantesque plight of being an artist! And that was not the only relationship that had deteriorated at the merest hint of aesthetic discomfort and discord. Would this duet too, end in disaster and destruction? 

At 5 pm a dour but diplomatic guard dutifully informed them that the DMA was closing. How Dorian despised this inevitability, wishing that they could hide and sleep among the manikins. 

“You’ll come tomorrow?” he beseeched Dolores. 

“Of course. I visit daily.”

He gazed at her intently. Was she his Muse? A long-lost twin? Design partner? Someone with whom he should declare love? An imaginary deity conjured by his deranged state?

Disrupted from his ruminations, Dorian was distressed to note that the last of the stragglers at the exhibit had departed. The restless art guards were circling ever closer.  Dispirited, Dorian said good-bye to Dolores, promising to see her in the morning. 

At home, Dolores nibbled on dried fruit, musing over her sketch book. As she flipped through her sketches that Dorian had augmented with technical details and phenomenal flourishes, she could vividly sense the production capabilities of a collection taking shape.  Would Dorian entertain the idea of a collaborative design collection?  She assembled their sketches and design specs into a folder, her heart racing with discernible, Dionysian delight.

In the morning, Dorian arrived dependably before the DMA opened, waiting by the fountain at the museum entrance. Fountains had always attracted and mesmerized him—watching the perpetual descent and ascent of contending water droplets reacquainted him with the hope embodied in starting over. Dolores approached with an elegant yet determined trot.  

“Fifteen minutes before opening. Darn,” declared Dorian. 

Dolores, flushed with determination, responded, “I organized our designs; Interested in seeing them?”  

“Decidedly!” exclaimed Dorian.  

They sat on the exterior wall of the fountain. As Dolores displayed and described her concepts one by one, Dorian added a direct suggestion for each. Dolores discriminately captured notes in the margins of each design. 

Distracted, they were not aware that the museum had opened. Though dazed and dazzled by Dior, they now had something divine to devote themselves to:  Their own dynamic design duo. 

May 06, 2022 16:57

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3 comments

Holly Guy
08:34 May 20, 2022

This is such a lovely story, Anne. Very good! I look forward to reading more from you :) I respect any story which is set in an art gallery, it's such a difficult task with the description!

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11:03 May 16, 2022

Anne this was very clever 😆 but also the story was just wholesome and sweet! While I enjoyed the cheeky rhymes, I also enjoyed seeing the relationship grow!

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Chris Morris
13:44 May 14, 2022

Well, this reader from Dundee delightfully devoured your delicious short story with d... Ah, I'm not very good at that. But you are! I really enjoyed the use of alliteration here, I thought you used it perfectly - never overbearing and always added just the right touch of humour. Also just a really lovely little story about two people discovering one another. Excellent writing, well done.

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