The famous designer was hidden from the audience by a heavy, tasseled curtain. The host ran a hand though his green spiked hair and smiled widely. “Madame Chaussure, please tell us a little bit about your fall collection,” the host said. He held the microphone up to the curtain.
Madame Chaussure spoke in a high-pitched, raspy voice through the curtain. “Darling, my collection is all about growing up. Children dress up in high heels and power suits as though they were wearing symbols of responsibility and talent. Bah, anybody could balance their weight on three-inch heels or tie a half-windsor. Fashion has to be earned.”
The host looked down at his lavender tie and well-cut charcoal pin-striped suit. “Right,” he said. “I’m looking forward to your vision of fashion for the truly talented.”
“Of course you are,” Madame said. “Start the music.”
A choir began to sing something about rain and stars. “Is this the right music?” the host asked.
“Of course it is,” the designer said.
“Right. Carry on,” the host said. He ran his hand through his hair again and smiled. The lights dimmed, and the first model came out. She sashayed down the catwalk on three-foot stilts, while wearing a pencil skirt that went past her knees. Her wrap-around tunic was tied with complex celtic knots.
“Are those stilts attached to her shoes?” the host asked.
“Of course they are,” Madame said. “Where would the challenge be otherwise? You can’t take the heels off high-heels either.”
“How long does it take to tie those knots?” the host asked.
“It depends on your talent,” Madame said.
More models on stilts came through, each walking down the catwalk as though they were wearing flats. “How much practice did it take for them to learn to walk like that?” the host asked.
“It depends on the model,” Madame said.
“What was the average amount of time?”
“Two months. Practically nothing, really.” Madame chuckled. “Those truly dedicated to fashion could probably master it in an evening.”
Bagpipes started to join the choir. “Does that mean it’s time for your men’s collection?”
The first model came out hopping gracefully. He was wearing two neckties that were woven into the lacing of his suit coat. The weaving and knotwork was complex and lovely.
“Why are they hopping like that?” the host asked.
“Because their shoes are connected,” Madame said. “I’ll probably add springs for my next collection.”
“In the spring?” the host asked. “Is that a joke?”
“I never joke about fashion,” Madame said. “That would be irresponsible.”
“But who would want their shoes connected like that? It’s not safe,” the host said.
“Well, if you want to be safe, I’m sure you can find something practical at your local department store,” Madame said.
“Right. What was I thinking?” the host said.
Several more models hopped by. The host ran his hand through his hair. Half of it was lying flat now. He sighed. “It was another innovative and beautiful collection,” he said.
“I know. I’m a genius,” Madame said.
The models all came out for a last round of applause. “Madame, would you like to come out and join them?” the host asked.
There was no response.
“Madame?” the host said. The models filed through the doors at the back of the stage.
The host peeked around the curtain and then pulled it back. There was no one there. “She couldn’t have left without anyone seeing her,” the host said. “Right?”