Shopaholic takes manhattan – part 17

Two Months Later

OK. SO IT’S TWO PRESENTATIONS, one to Saatchis, one to Global Bank. One awards lunch with
McKinseys, and dinner with Merrill Lynch.”
“That’s it. It’s a lot. I know.”
“It’ll be fine,” I say reassuringly. “It’ll be fine.”
I scribble something in my notebook and stare at it thinking hard. This is the moment of my new job I
Love the most. The initial challenge. Here’s the puzzle – find the solution. For a few moments I sit without
Saying anything, doodling endless small five-pointed stars and letting my mind work it out, while Lalla
Watches me anxiously.
“OK,” I say at last. “I have it. Your Helmut Lang pantsuit for the meetings, your Jil Sander dress for the
Lunch – and we’ll find you something new for the dinner.” I squint at her. “Maybe something in a deep
Green.”
“I

can’t wear green,” says Lalla.
“You can wear green,” I say firmly. “You look great in green.”
“Becky,” saysErin, putting her head round my door. “Sorry to bother you, but Mrs. Farlow is on the
Phone. She loves the jackets you sent over – but is there something lighter she can wear for this
Evening?”
“OK,” I say. “I’ll call her back.” I look at Lalla. “So, let’s find you an evening dress.”
“What am I going to wear with my pantsuit?”
“A shirt,” I say. “Or a cashmere tee. The gray one.”
“The gray one,” repeats Lalla carefully, as though I’m speaking in Arabic.
“You bought it three weeks ago? Armani? Remember?”
“Oh yes! Yes. I think.”
“Or else your blue shell top.”
“Right,” says Lalla, nodding earnestly. “Right.”
Lalla is high up in some top computer consultancy, with offices all over the world. She has two
Doctorates and an IQ of about a zillion – and claims she has severe clothes dyslexia. At first I thought she
Was joking.
“Write it down,” she says, thrusting a leather-bound organizer at me. “Write down all the combinations.”
“Well, OK. . . but, Lalla, I thought we were going to try to let you start putting a few outfits together
Yourself.”
“I know. I will. One day I will, I promise. Just. . . not this week. I can’t deal with that extra pressure.”
“Fine,” I say, hiding a smile, and begin to write in her organizer, screwing up my face as I try to
Remember all the clothes she’s got. I haven’t got much time if I’m going to find her an evening dress for
Tonight, call Mrs. Farlow back, and locate that knitwear I promised for Janey van Hassalt.
Every day here is completely frenetic; everyone is always in a hurry. But somehow the busier I get, and
The more challenges are thrown at me – the more I love it.
“By the way,” says Lalla. “My sister – the one you said should wear burnt orange. . .”
“Oh yes! She was nice.”
“She said she saw you on the television. InEngland! Talking about clothes!”
“Oh yes,” I say, feeling a faint flush come to my face. “I’ve been doing a little slot for a daytime lifestyle
Show. ‘Becky from Barneys.’ It’s a kind of New York, fashiony thing. . .”
“Well done!” says Lalla warmly. “A slot on television! That must be very exciting for you!”
I pause, a beaded jacket in my hand, thinking, a few months ago I was going to have my own show on American network television. And now I have a little slot on a daytime show with half the audience of
Morning Coffee. But the point is, I’m on the path I want to be.
“Yes, it is,” I say, and smile at her.



Shopaholic takes manhattan – part 17