Rapturous applause echo through the Kodak Theatre. To me though it sounds like a distant humming, dull and solid in my ears. I’m still sitting but everyone around me elevates themselves from their seats, including those who opted for bodice structures across their abdomen inhibiting their ability to breathe and stand up unaided. In body, I am sitting, upright, poised as I was taught. As my mother watches on I hope she’s proud of my posture if nothing else tonight. I’m staring ahead, my gaze meets the top of the seat in front of me which is occupied by someone I have seen in captured in motion picture many times, but at this very moment I can’t name anyone in close proximity to me. I’m asking myself if this is what shock feels like. My eyes blink slowly, heavy with mascara which I was told was guaranteed not to dislodge or journey its way down my rouged cheek. As my eyes open once more, I take note of my tensed palms laying on my duchess satin clad lap. Something in my brain rolls back to my days in fashion and tells me to remove them or I am going to massacre this luxurious fabric which obviously does not belong to me. Alber told me that the fabric is strong but delicate and it would be best to avoid red-based drinks for the night. So far, Mr. Elbaz has been obeyed.
The dull sound in my ears has started to increase and progresses from a background to a forefront noise. Suddenly I am more aware of my senses now. Shock must only last a few seconds I am realising. This experience is like an education in my body’s reactions as it is a recognition of my recent achievements. A hand is now on my back which feels as if it’s encouraging me to move. My brain tells me to look to the left. The row to the left of me looks like an ensemble of some kind. Ah but it is. It maybe time to stand. My toes are pinching in the red soled shoes I am wearing and although they are buried beneath this masterpiece Alber made, I am suddenly aware of the pain. Pain. That did it. The pain in my toes ignites me; I plummet to reality. The noise gets louder, I hear screaming but not of fear, it’s of joy. My legs want to move now. My hands move to the arm rests and push me and the 10 kilos of fabric upwards.
Suddenly I am rising, quite far above the well known face in front of me, which sends a small ripple of disappointment through me. I thought he was taller. That’s it, I’m there, standing with the crowd. Their eyes have not left me in this split second. My emotions start to follow their lead, my eyes feel alive and my face is alluding to the happiness which I think I’m feeling. I make a small manoeuvre to the left and my trusted side kick, kisses my cheek and tells me to say what I feel right now and not to make it sound like the rest. Oh I see. I’ve won this thing. It’s sinking in.
The faces still looking at me, watch me in what could be awe but could be confused with jealously. In the hazed state of my mind, I can’t tell the difference. I ease out of my seat to the walkway which is laid in red carpet and leads to what looks like something from the Wizard of Oz or Phoenix. My slow steps are coupled with the pain my toes are emanating right now. But it’s this pinching that is keeping me aware of where I am and what I am about to do. The actor to the right is way better looking in real life. He smiles at me. It seems genuine so I’ll file that thought in my mind to recall later.
This feels like an uphill climb despite the descent of the walkway which ends in a set of golden steps. Alber said that the lining is slightly long so I needed to lift the dress a little higher to avoid any mishap when I walked to the stage. He was so sure and now he is right. Those steps he spoke of are now upon me. This does not feel like a very stable structure beneath the red sole shoes. On TV I assumed the steps were made of some revolutionary high gloss material but right now the sound of wood is making me nervous. I feel weak suddenly. I’m not used to climbing steps with the extra weight of this creation I’m wearing. Composure, however, is what I need to focus on. If you were to look at me right now it would look like I was gliding across the stage towards a podium. But I am actually making small steps, in an effort to avoid the lining of the dress and to give my feet some comfort in this crazy, out of body experience. The two faces greeting me with the affection I was told to expect, are locked in a smile and it signals to me that I should probably do the same.
I smile back and I am somewhat aware of what they say, but the noise in my ears is now at full throttle and the cheers seem more astute. I have to drop the fabric on the floor now as the two characters try to hand me a small golden structure. It looks like a man I think, that has been poured with gold, making his skin tone even and fluid. I take it and it’s heavy. I ease myself forward to acknowledge those creating the clamour. I turn to face the maddening crowd and all I can think of is my Mum telling me to remember to stand up straight. At the most watched moments of our lives, it’s amazing how the simplest of memories are all that seem important.
“I’d like to thank……
Oh and Gwen was my favourite in Tom Ford. A dress ahead of it’s time.