Sunday, August 23, 2009
“We are not designing swimwear,” I declare to the sleepy-eyed beauties stitching together hand-made gold lamé bikinis on my floating atelier, “we are designing dreams!”
We have been working hard. The whole team is pushing late enough each night to watch the stars visibly rotate in the sky. I am thrilled to be working again, making great pieces and finding new answers to old questions that come drifting to me in the night like the distant echo of a siren’s song; I am seduced by design, that much is certain.
You can only push a team so far before the mood starts to crack. I knew I had to do something if I was going to keep working the team as hard as I was, so I arranged for a little team-building relaxation event.
The girls on the team are die-hard fans of a certain famous fashion designer. I have never let on to the team that he is a friend, but instead called him in secret and arranged for him to send a few things. He sent samples from the last few seasons, including a few dresses from Spring 2009 – as he knew these were my favorites – and I happily hid them on the boat while I got everything ready. As I thank you, I sent a small group of fake resort wear to him that included a pair of swim trunks with his face silk screened on the front with the nose right where the nose ought to be. I also included a ridiculously luxurious swim wrap. In addition I sent two cases of his favorite champagne, just in case he didn’t appreciate the swim trunks, and a very nice vintage rolex watch with pink gold accents and the numbers rearranged by a jeweler to be in the "wrong" order (my standard thank you gift).
The team is crazy for some show called Gossip Girl, so I had the sailing crew adjust the main rigging so that I could use the sail as a giant screen. I caught the team staying up late at night watching the last two seasons in preperation for the season premiere, which is still a few weeks away. I called my friends from Brown who work for College Hill Pictures and somehow managed to get a copy of the season premiere a little more than a month early. The only part of the deal is that I had to fly out a member of the studio to the yacht who would monitor everything to make sure that no one copied it, as well as take notes on the crowd reaction – which I guess means that my crew is now some sort of focus group? This is standard practice in Hollywood for films, so I’m not surprised that TV does the same thing. It was adorable seeing the studio guy try to dress “upscale resort” for the party. I knew this was what he was trying to do, because that’s how he answered when I asked him about his outfit. He was actually a nice guy, particularly once he saw how much it meant to the team that they got to see the premiere early. BTW – don’t even think of asking me about the show – I signed a stack of Non-Disclosure documents and you won’t get a word out of me.
We have a helicopter landing port on the boat – which sounds like an extravagance, but is actually the only way to keep everyone safe – how else could we get to a hospital if someone got hurt? So in addition to flying in the dresses and food and drinks and studio execs, I used the heliport to bring in friends. First on the list was JJ. Jabez Jr. flew in to do the music and brought a new DJ he was promoting. He awkwardly brought his own helicopter, however, which was a real problem because there really isn't room for two. So we had to push all of the life boats into the water and tow them behind the boat so that his helicopter had somewhere to perch.
I worked everyone especially hard in the morning. Getting everyone up early and pushing through with only the slightest lunch break imaginable. I then kept demanding more and more changes and fittings and drawings. The team was started to get agitated, but I knew that they were also starting to catch on, because the kitchen crew was working overtime and we had had three extra shipments of “supplies” that morning. Just before sun down, I sent the two helicopters out for the guests and everyone freaked out when their friends started to arrive. At that point the team knew exactly what was about to happen. I flew in boyfriends and girlfriends of the team, and brought a few extra former models and up-and-coming artists, musicians and literary scholars for those without significant others. Inside his or her closet on the boat, each team member found a dress or a suit designed and a hand written thank you note for all of their hard work.
Tako surprised me by showing up (she had originally said that she couldn’t make it – but then flew in at the last minute with the College Hill exec). I was so happy to see her that I slipped and fell on deck running to embrace her.
With the golden light of the sun just sliding into the open mouth of the ocean, JJ started in on the music, as an official call to start the party. We served food and drinks and danced and laughed until I called everyone onto the center of the deck and announced that although the party was fun, we still had some work to do, and that we had some required research still left for the evening.
In the middle of everyone's groans, the projector flipped on and blasted video up onto the mainsail while the theme song to the GG season premiere played over the speaker system. The response was enthusiastic to say the least.
While the show played, Tako and I slipped away to the back. I was so happy to see her. Why do we spend so much time apart?
She had tons of news: she had been kicked off of a medical drama for fighting with the director (this makes sense, as Tako, in addition to being a talented actress and a stunning beauty, also went to medical school – my guess is that she made one too many corrections on set…). She also asked if I’d be willing to hear an idea. She wanted to propose something to me. I wonder what she’s cooked up now?