She saw the horror on their faces even before she heard the snap. All at once the loud, pulsating thud of the music in the hall seemed to hush, and it was the only sound that thundered in her ears, the sound of the snap of her bodice strap giving way.
She had been striding the ramp with all the elan of someone who knew she was the best. The world’s best cat-walk model and the showstopper for a leading designer at the Paris Fashion Week. The dress she was show casing could possibly pay the down payment for the flat she now rented. Her hair had taken the stylist over three hours to get just right, and she had been asked for more selfies than the designer himself.
Back-stage ten minutes ago, she knew she had arrived. She had indeed reached the top rung of the ladder she had climbed so arduously for over three years.
The buzz in the dressing room had been all about the Hollywood producer who was here in the audience looking for a new heroine for his next block buster. Annie knew she was in the reckoning and was going for the kill tonight. Her career as a model had peaked and Hollywood was the obvious next step.
It was with this inner confidence that she stepped on to the ramp one last time, in this ethereal creation, to bring to a finale the high voltage week which was already being touted as one of the finest Fashion Weeks in Paris. It would all be over soon, she thought as she twirled gracefully, before walking back to bring the designer onto the ramp.
That twirl cost her dearly. The fine gossamer silk tassels which held the sequinned and bejewelled brocade bodice of her gown gave way to the stress of the moment, and it was a few seconds before reflex kicked in and her hands went up to shield her modesty.
Those seconds were enough for the Page 3 photographers to go into a frenzy of clicks, for the picture of the week.
In the wings waiting to step out into the limelight of an adoring audience, the designer watched in agony as half his creation was now bunched up in his model’s hands. The horror seemed unreal, and he locked eyes with the girl who was in obvious distress. He walked out to her, and with a flamboyant bow to the cameras, he whispered in her ears,
‘Milk it, darling, make it work for you.’
Annie was nothing if not a professional, she understood immediately what Sebastian was trying to say. Rearranging her expression from distraught to her usual stage face, haughty and amused, she twirled again, bowed with him, and amidst thunderous applause, beckoned to the other models for the well-rehearsed finale. The cameras went mad again.
She saw the producer sitting right in front, saw his enchanted expression and winked at him. A naughty sultry acknowledgement of a wink. And she knew all was not lost.
Paris newspapers the next day ran the same headline – The Wardrobe Malfunction and a Star is Born!