the day we met

October 7th, 2006

© Michael Ching

That morning I listened to music while I dressed up for work and something made me notice the lyrics. Kismet is a special word, but serendipity fits better to describe our first meeting. Discovering you marked the beginning of an adventure for me. Frank Sinatra and I would have sung a duet about it.

I received bookings as a wardrobe stylist through Mario, a photographer friend. He admired the way I pulled looks together when I assisted his best image consultant, who was away on her honeymoon. He also knew I needed to keep myself busy after I quit my last job at a photo lab. Our friendship started there, when we had a discussion about the prints he ordered from an editorial he had just photographed. Between jokes and fashionista talk we formed a bond. We called each other every day since then, as if we had always been friends in an unbroken line of history.

7:15 A.M. and a cup of espresso in my hand wearing a scowl could have been turned into a postcard, considering how many times I had woken up early for Mario. We were taking photos of a new face at the agency that hired us, Stacey. Her blonde hair and gamine look reminded me a bit of Jean Seberg in Jean-Luc Godard’s film “Breathless.” Then, you appeared. Two irises of dark chocolate brown looked directly into my hazel ones and I did the same to yours; we acknowledged each other. You walked slowly toward me and said: “Hello, I am Karlie. You must be Lucius.” Those words were pronounced with a crisp undertone of imperiousness and flirty coolness. “I am here to do Stacey’s make-up and hair. It’s a pleasure to meet you! Mario raves about your styling.” I had heard of you before, but we had not worked together in a photo-shoot.

I remember your black hair with a side part cut into a sharp asymmetrical bob that grazed your chin diagonally on the left side and the rest of the hair was pushed neatly over your right ear. I noticed the hair had a healthy shine and a natural blue tint in the black strands. Minimal, precise make-up and short manicured nails with a gloss topcoat announced good grooming. Fluidity in your walk and a knowing movement of the hips made me stand up sharply to notice your stern elegance. One platinum and diamond ring in a tension setting on your left hand made me curious about its origins, but time pressed on and we needed our model to be ready.

Mario played a new CD in the sound system while you ironed and teased Stacey’s hair. The first song had a killer retro-sounding sample in an up-tempo beat to accompany a great female Soul singer’s voice. A beautiful melody and street-wise lyrics made it tough chic. It impressed me enough to ask him who the performer was and that was how I became acquainted with the music of Amy Winehouse. My feet followed the rhythm and you winked at me. I felt a jolt of wonder, Karlie. You caught me looking at the silver lariat falling into a lovely place between your breasts and smirked. I was shamelessly admiring you.

© Michael Ching

Once Stacey was ready, Mario and Luis went to work on shooting the first outfit. She eased into the “characters” she was portraying for the camera and we were all impressed by how quickly she interpreted the directions given to her by Mario. Karlie was pleased with the work, ever observant of stray hairs or any make-up retouching needed. I watched out for unsightly wrinkles and any ill-fitting garments.

© Michael Ching

How to describe the way in which we looked at each other? The naughty expression on your face met my appreciative eyes. After the session was over, you asked me out for a drink and my lecherous smile amused you. I accepted.

Text: © Lucius Bod
Images: © Michael Ching

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