I was sitting in Mr Enigma's cube one day when he said, "I like your shirt. Did it cost a hundred dollars?" Which was sweet of him to say especially considering the less than sweet things he has said in the past and his utter fearlessness in telling me when an outfit makes me look fat. But the thought of me paying a hundred dollars for a shirt ranks right up there with my sister Lauren's accusation that I got up in the middle of the night and made bread in her kitchen. Which is to say, ridiculous. The shirt that I personally would pay a hundred dollars for is as yet undreamed of in my philosophy, though I know the opportunity exists because I saw some costly little numbers on display last Friday night at the Fiducia Fashion Show.

And what can I say but that Fiducia is not hard to figure out. Oh, the designers may have their eccentric whimsies, like keeping a barber around (Howard Hughes, one may recall, did the same), but they are not a complicated ball of wax. On Friday, they proved that with a collection so purely sexy that when the model Partrique came swinging down the runway in navy polka-dot leather jeans and a matching bikini top, on could almost swear the retail bosses in the front row were lifted right out of their shoes. The grins! Well, all right Fiducia is one company who knows how to work within a narrow groove--good old corn-fed American sexiness. The thing is, you can imagine people wearing these clothes, which can't be said of a lot of what goes down a runway. The look is exactly like the clean, racy minimalism seen on fashion editors--skinny pants, sexy heels. Except Fiducia had the good sense to view it as a woman from the Midwest might--from a safe distance.

Okay, I confess: I plagiarized the above from The New York Times coverage of the Ralph Lauren show. But I don't know how to write about haute couture (which means "high sewing," by the way, which could win you about a hundred dollars of Ben Stein's money), and Partick strenuously objected to my characterization of the models' make-up as being Oompa-Loompaesque, so I thought I'd steal from a source not likely to find out and print some pictures from a source not likely to mind to give you an idea about the clothes.

I did come to the Fiducia show somewhat prepared having previously met some of the participants. I had met Stefano, the head designer for Fiducia. "DO NOT CROSS YOUR LEGS," he said to me when my cousin Laurelyn and I sat next to the floor level catwalk, then "STAND STAND STAND STAND," when we moved back a row. His motives for saying these things remains unclear. I had also met the other designer and former Toro (not fat, though) Khoa. I don't remember him ever saying anything. Oh wait, he did say he was stabbed once. I had met the make-up and clothing pit boss (and independent designer for Minimal Clothing). She was the hostess of the party where I met Stefano and Khoa and some others. She said, "Hello, you," and I was relieved because I couldn't remember her name either. Later, Partick reminded me that it's Nichole.

Nichole's brother Danny is sort of an unofficial Fiducia attache. His real job is with the Arizona Prosecutors' Office, and if you ask him what do you think the prospects are of so-and-so winning such-and-such a case against the stat he will say, "They will lose." He will say it with regret, as if it were a sad fact unrelated to Justice. Given his leftist druthers he would rather release people from jail, but apparently Fate did not intend him to be a Public Defender at this time. He will go on to ask your opinion as to whether Attorney General Janet Napolitano, is a lesbian. At least that was his m.o. at the party. He also said, "Oh my God can I wear your pants?" to a surprising number of girls, at least one of whom relented.

After the Fiducia show, he got drunk and foolish enough to start asking strangers how old they though he was. Shelly, whose hair is cut by the woman who was the stylist for the show (we are all connected in the Great Circle of Fashion) guessed thirty-four. Danny is thirty-one. If you were wondering what that howling was last Friday night, that was it. He licked his wound until Shelly left for the evening, then screamed, "DIRTY %^#$^!! WHORE!" I bade him relax, he was very youthful looking. He said I wouln't understand and skeptically asked how old I was. I told him I had recently celebrated the fourth anniversary of my twenty-seventh birthday myself, and he made a bid deal of seeming comforted and relieved. "Because," he said, "you look sooo much older than me." "DIRTY %^#$^!! WHORE!" I screamed.

But I digress.

The show was held at Axis/Radius where Pazzport plays every Tuesday, which is Partick's home away from home that night. Actually, several of the Fiducia crowd were at Axis a couple of Tuesdays ago, including Stefano and Khoa. That was when I met Giovanni, a friend of the designers and (this is really cool) the person who animated all of the sparkly bits in Anastasia. He insisted I dance with him, an error he won't be repeating soon (though I understand he is recovering nicely). For the show he sculpted six or seven knee high wire "doodles" which were circumnavigated by the models on the catwalk, and a couple of larger pieces made of curved metal tubing that stood beneath the stark, black-on-white Fiducia sign. Before the show, he told me how nervous he was and wore a house shaped digital clock pin on his shirt collar. Did I mention he is Italian and makes floppy gesture with his hands? Well, he is and he does.

Nearly all of the models in the show were new to me. Partick I knew, and this other guy who was in the catalogue whose name I think is either Patrick or Chris. Let's go with Chris just to make things easier. Maybe it's Steve. (Actually, it's Matt. -ed note) Anyway, the one I was curious to see was Marcos, who had been described as looking like Partick only younger, taller, and better looking. I found the only the first tow applied. Marcos has a nose like a parrot's beak, but it works. At the beginning of the show, he had this baffled, wide-eyed look like Patrick Muldoon in Starship Troopers. Eventually, he settled into the groove of the who, adopting the blank-as-a-coat-hanger look characteristic of most runway models. Partick never quite got this look, remaining watchful and maybe a little test. Could it be he is too intelligent to model? Almost certainly. Still, it's a nice contrast.

Well, let me take that back. Not the Partick is intelligent part, but the implied connection between looking blank and being blank, because Lee gets that look on his face sometimes while riding the bus or subway and I wonder to myself, "Where did Lee go?" Then he turns to me and asks if I noticed that the woman sitting across from us is reading Tom Sawyer in Parsee. This is the kind of thing I never notice because what if I accidentally made eye contact with the woman, my goodness wouldn't that be awful. So I suppose some people just take in loads of information and process it without registering it facially and perhaps that's what these models were doing. In their heads they could have been curing cancer just as easily as thinking, "heel toe heel toe." Another model I liked was named--get this--Thor. I know a joke about the god Thor, but as it is of a questionable nature (and dubious humorous content), I will make it available only upon request. Thor the model bore no resemblance to Thor the superhero (I will not speculate about his resemblance to Thor the deity as it could lead to an ugly religious controversy and I can't afford to get my funding cut), but rather looked like a weedy little mod. I could easily imagine him plunging over a cliff with a Vespa scooter. I didn't get to meet Thor, but Partick says he's a cool guy.

I didn't get to meet any of the female models. They were all perfectly expressionless, and I thought moved around the catwalk rather well. Although one who wore an especially prohibitive skirt shuffled like a geisha. Laurelyn (biologist, model, and cousin) wasn't fooled for a second, though. "Untrained," she would sniff as they passed.




Janet Napolitano

Cobra, with Stefano, Khoa, and Matt

The show ended with cheers and champagne...and scandal. It seems that sometime last week, the president of Fiducia, Khoa's brother, fired Stefano. Khoa immediately resigned in a gesture of designer solidarity.

So what happens to a fashion firm that has just lost its fashion designers? Well, that remains to be seen, but for some reason Partick became a hot commodity and could be a vice president before you know it and will probably try to make us all call him sir.


Mean while, Laurelyn was harassed by a drunk on the dance floor. It could have been worse though--this guy was picking girls up, not like hitting on them...he was picking them up. Then, that guy joins this other guy, Pacho, who had us evicted from our table because he is a regular. That was rather devastating to Danny who had become quite attached to that table in the preceding hours, and was in fact forming a conspiracy to steal it. He was enticing Laurelyn, who can bench press 265 lbs. and has biceps like a VW Bug, and Partick, who has a truck and was working on getting other guys to help out (Danny, you see, is tiny) when Partick, Laurelyn, and I left for Club Mecca. That is where Barry works. Barry is hands down the coolest guy in the Valley. He is the Phoenician Fonz. When he went to New York for a few months this summer the cool quotient in the area dropped dangerously low. We're suffering 100+ temperatures in October as a result.

Anyway, we headed out to Mecca, but Partick left his keys on the seat of his locked truck after changing into his shiny silver shirt. We decided this was a bad omen. Laurelyn headed home, and I went to charm the Mecca bouncer out of a wire hanger. By the time I returned with it, Partick had destroyed the antenna from my car and my umbrella trying to get them out. Models.

(Written by Sharon C. McGovern)

From Vol. 11
Back to Cobra Fashion