By now I am cowering in the bathroom, clutching a pile of skimpy, skintight Pucci frocks. I seize one at random—a silk jersey minidress in an abstract leopard print. Rihanna, I suddenly recall, was photographed in a Version Of This Dress; So Was Hayden Panettiere. I Yank It On And Rush Into The Living Room, Where Dundas Awaits Me Beside A Full-Length Mirror. He Goes About His Work, Straightening Seams And Pinning Hems, While I Try Not To Breathe. Afraid Of What The Mirror Will Show, I Try Not To Look. Afraid Of What The Dress Might Reveal, I Try Not To Weep. And Then The Room Goes Black.
MERCER HOTEL. TIME INDETERMINATE.
A prickling on my upper thigh brings me back to reality. Dundas is kneeling next to the hem of a dress I have no recollection of putting on, and using straight pins to make its already micro-miniskirt even more micro. Anticipating how much more of my thighs and hips this adjustment will lay bare, I listen for the arrival of my old friend self-loathing. Nothing.
I wait for my wounded ego’s lament. Still nothing.
I am just about to speak on their behalf when a funny thing happens. I look in the mirror, at Dundas’s reflection and my own. He hasn’t changed—he’s still beautiful—but somehow I’ve become beautiful too. For starters, the dress is a triumph of luxury craftsmanship: a sapphire and black velvet number lavishly embroidered with jet and gunmetal beads and studded with black paillettes cut to resemble feathers. (A closer examination of the fabric reveals an intricate Pucci-esque pattern woven directly into the velvet.) It is also a triumph of Dundas’s ingenious tailoring. Proudly he shows me how the cut “goes as high as it can possibly go on the leg, and as low as it can possibly go in the back…so that it is provocative, but noble as well,” he says. “Noble” is right. Transfigured by this dress, every curve of my body looks resplendent. I am a queen of hotness, seated on a throne of pulchritude.
It dawns on me that this transformation is exactly the point of Dundas’s Pucci. Not for the first time tonight, I fight the urge to kiss him. But this time my desire springs from the fact that—like the attentive lover he has invoked—he has made me feel sexy. Against all odds I look, and feel, flawless. Roitfelds, here I come.