it was raining in Paris, a warm July rain that sent pedestrians racing along the street for shelter or looking for nonexistent taxis. Inside the auditorium of a large gray building on a comer of Rue Faubourg St. Honor6, there was panic. A dozen half-naked models were running around in a kind of mass hysteria, while ushers finished setting, up chairs and carpenters pounded away at last-minute bits of carpentry. @veryone was screaming and gesticulating wildly, and the noise level ' painful. In the eye of the hurricane, trying to bring order out of chaos,,was the maitresse herself, Kendall Stanford Renaud. Four hours before the fashion show 4s scheduled to begin, everything Nyas falling apart.

Catastrophe: John Fairchild. of Wwas unexpectedly going to be in Paris, and there was no seat for him. Tragedy: the speaker system was not working. Disaster: one of the top models was ill. Emergency: two of the make-up artists were fighting backstage and were far behind schedule. 75 Calamity: all the seams on the cigarette skirts were tearing. In other words, Kendall thought wryly, everything is normal Kendall Stanford Renaud could have been mistaken for one of the models herself, and at one time she had been a model. She exuded carefully plotted elegance from her golden chignon to her Chanel pumps. Everything about her - the curve of her arm, the shade of her nail polish, the timbre of her laugh - bespoke well-mannered chic. Her face, if stripped of its careful make-up, was actually plain, but Kendall took pains to see that no one ever realized this, and no one ever did. She was everywhere at once.

"Who lit that runway, Ray Charlest ' want a blue backdrop ..." lining is showing. Fix it!" don't want the models doing their hair and make-up in the holding area. Have Lulu find them a dressing room!" Kendall's venue manager came hurrying up to her. ', thirty minutes is too long! Too long! The show should be no more than twenty-five minutes.' She stopped what she was doing. ' do you suggest, Scott?" could cut a few of the designs and '. I'll have the models move faster.' 76 She heard her name called again, and turned.

"Kendall, we can't locate Pia. Do you want Tami to switch to the charcoal gray jacket with the trouserst '. Give that to Dana. Give the cat suit and tunic to Tami." about the dark gray jersey?"

"Monique. And make sure she wears the dark gray stockings.' Kendall looked at the board holding a set of Polaroid pictures of the models in a variety of gowns. When they were set, the pictures would be placed in a precise order. She ran a practiced eye over the board. ''s change this. I want the beige cardigan, out first, then the separates, followed by the strapless silk jersey, then the taffeta evening gown, the afternoon dresses W) th matching jackets ...' Two of her assistants hurried up to her. ', we're having an argument about the seating. Do you want the retailers together, or do you want to mix them with the celebritiest The other assistant spoke up. ' we could mix the celebrities and press together.' . Kendall was hardly listening.

She had been up for two nights, checking everything to make sure nothing would go wrong. ' it out yourselves,' she said. She looked around at all the activity and thought about the show that was about to begin, and the famous names from all over the world who would be there to applaud what she had created. I should thank 77 my father for all this. He told me I would never succeed ... She had always known that she wanted to be a designer. From the time she was a little girl, she had had a natural sense of style. Her dolls had the trendiest outfits in town. She would show off her latest creations for her mother's approval. Her mother would hug her and say, ''re very talented, darling. Someday you're going to be a very important designer.' And Kendall was sure of it. In school, Kendall studied graphic design, structural drawing, spatial conceptions, and color coordination. ' best way to begin,' one of her teachers had advised her, ' to become a model yourself. That way, you will meetall the top designers, and if you keep your eyes open, you will learn from them.' When Kendall had mentioned her dream to her father, he had looked at her and said, '? A model! You must be joking!' When Kendall finished school, she returned to Rose Hill. Father needs me to run the house, she thought. There were a dozen servants, but no one was really in charge. Since Harry Stanford was away a good deal of the time, the staff was left to its own devices. Kendall tried to organize things.

She scheduled the household activities, served as hostess for her father's parties, and did everything she could to make him comfortable.

78 She was longing for his approval. Instead, she suffered a barrage of criticisms. ' hired that damned chef? Get rid of him." don't like the new dishes you bought. Where the hell'is your taste ... 9" told you you could redecorate my bedroom? Keep the hell out of there.' No matter what Kendall did, it was never good enough. __1 It was her father's domineering cruelty that finally drove her out of the house. It had always been a loveless household, and her father had paid no attention to his children, except to try to control and discipline them.

One night, Kendall overheard her father saying to a visitor, ' daughter has a face like a horse. She's going to need a lot of money to hook some poor sucker.' It was the final straw. The following, day, Kendall left Boston and headed for New York. Alone in her hotel room, Kendall thought, All right. Here I am in New York. How do I become a designer? How do I break into the fashion industry? How do I get anyone even to notice me? She remembered her teacher's advice. I'll start as a model. That's the way to begin. The following morning, Kendall looked through the yellow pages, copied a list of modeling agencies, and began making the rounds. I have to be honest with 79 them, Kendall thought.

r1l tell them that I can stay with them only temporarily, until Iget started designing. She walked into the office of the first agency on her list. A middle-aged woman behind a desk said, ' I help yout '. I want to be a model." do I, dearie. Forget it."?"'re too tall.' Kendall's jaw tightened. ''d like to see whoever is in charge here."'re looking at her. I own this joint.' The next half a dozen stops were no more successful. ''re too short." thin." fat." young." old." type.' By the end of the week, Kendall was getting desperate. There was one more name on her list.

Paramount Models was the top modeling agency in Manhattan. There was no one at the reception desk. A voice from one of the offices said, ''ll be available next Monday. But you can have her for only one day. She's booked solid for the next three weeks.' Kendall walked over to the office and peered inside. 80 A "Man in a tailored suit was talking on the phone. '. I'll see what I can do.' Roxanne Marinack replaced the receiver and looked up. ', we aren't looking for your type." Kendall said desperately, ' can be any type you want me to be. I can be taller or I can be shorter. I can be younger or older, thinner Roxanne held up her hand. ' it." I want is a chance. I really need this.' Roxanne hesitated. There was an appealing eagerness about the girl and she did have an exquisite figure. She was not beautiful, but possibly with the right make-up ... ' you had any experiencet "Yes. I've been wearing clothes all my life.' Roxanne laughed. ' right. Let me see your portfolio..' Kendall looked at her blankly. ' portfolio?' Roxanne sighed. ' dear girl, no self-respecting model walks around without a portfolio. It' s your bible. It's what your prospective clients are going to look at.' Roxanne sighed again. ' want you to get two head shots - one smiling and one, serious. Turn around."

"Right.' Kendall began to turn. '.' Roxanne studied her. ' bad.

I want a photo of you in a bathing suit or lingerie, whatever is the most flattering for your figure."'ll get one of each,' she said eagerly. Roxanne had to smile at her earnestness. ' right. 81 You're ... er ... different, but you might have a shot." you."'t thank me too soon. Modeling for fashion magazines isn't as simple as it looks. It's a tough business."'m ready for it."'ll see. I'm going to take a chance on you. I'll send you out on some go-sees."'m sorry?, ' go-see is where clients catch up on all the new models. There will be models from other agencies there, too. It's kind of a cattle call." can handle it.' That had been the beginning. Kendall went on a dozen go-sees before a designer was interested in having her wear his clothes. She was so tense, she almost spoiled her chances by talking too much." really love your dresses, and I think they would look good on me. I mean, they would look good on any woman, of course. They're wonderful! But I think they'll look especially good on me.' She was so nervous that she was stammering. The, designer nodded sympathetically.

"This is your first job, isn't itt ', sir.' He had smiled. ' right. I'll try you. What did you say your name wast ' Stanford." She wondered if he would make 82 the connection between her and the Stanfords, but of course, there was no reason for him to. Roxanne had been right. Modeling was a toujlh business. Kendall had to learn to accept constant rejdction, go-sees that led nowhere, and weeks without work. When she did work, she was in make-up at six A. M., finished a shoot; went on to the next, and often didn't get through until after midnighl,, One evening, after a long day's shoot with half a dozen other, models, Kendall looked in a mirror and groaned, 11 won't be able to work tomorrow. Look how puffy my eyes are!' One of the models said, "Put cucumber slices over your eyes. Or you can put some camomile tea bags in hot water, let them cool, and put them over your eyes for fifteen minutes.' In the morning, the puffiness was gone. Kendall envied [email protected] models who were in constant demand. She would hear Roxanne arranging their bookings: ' originally gave Scaasi a secondary on Michelle. Call and tell them that she will be available, so I'm moving them up to a tentative.' Kendall quickly learned never to criticize the clothes she was modeling. She became acquainted with some of the top photographers in the business, and had a photo composite made to go with her portfolio. She carried a model's bag filled with necessities - clothes, 83 make-up, a nail-care bag, and jewelry. She learned to blow-dry her hair upside down to give it more body, and to add curl to her hair with heated rollers. There was a lot more to learn. She was a favorite of the photographers, and one of them pulled her aside to give her some advice.

"Kendall, always save your smiling shots for the end of the shoot. That way, your mouth will have less creasing.' Kendall was becoming more and more popular. She was not the conventional drop-dead beauty that was the hallmark of most models, but she had something more, a graceful elegance. ''s got class,' one of the advertising agents said. And that summed it up. She was also lonely. From time to time she went out on dates, but they were meaningless. She was working steadily, but she felt she was no nearer to her goal than she was when she had first arrived in New York. I have to find a way to make contact with the top designers, Kendall thought. ' have you booked for the next four weeks," Roxanne told her. ' loves you." ...", Kendall?"

"I don't want to do this anymore.' Roxanne stared at her disbelievingly.

"What!" want to do runway modeling.' 84 Runway modeling was what most models aspired to. It was the most exciting and the most lucrative form of modeling. Roxanne was dubious. ''s almost impossible to break into and ''m going to.' Roxanne studied her. ' really mean it, don't you?".' Roxanne nodded. ' right. If you'fe serious about this, the first thing you have to do is learn to walk the beam." Roxanne explained. That afternoon, Kendall bought a six-foot narrow wooden beam, sandpapered it to avoid splinters, and placed it on her floor. The first few times she tried to walk on it, she fell off. This is not going to be easy, Kendall decided. But I'm going to do it' Each morning she got up early and practiced walking the beam on the balls of her feet. Lead with the pelvis. Feel with the toes. Lower the heel. Day by day her balance improved. She strode up and back in front of a full-length mirror, with music playing. She learned to walk with a book on her head. She practiced changing rapidly from sneakers and shorts to high heels and an evening gown. 85 When Kendall felt that she was ready, she went back to Roxanne. ''m sticking my neck out for you,' Roxanne told her. ' is looking for a runway model. I recommended you. He's going to give you a chance.' Kendall was thrilled. Ungaro was one of the most brilliant designers in the business. The following week, Kendall arrived at the show. She tried to seem as casual as the other models. Ungaro handed Kendall the first outfit she was to wear and smiled. ' luck."

"Thanks.' When Kendall went out on the runway, it was as though she had been doing it all her life. Even the other models were impressed. The show was a big success, and from that time on- Kendall was a member of the elite. She started working with the giants of the fashion industry - Yves Saint Laurent, Halston, Christian Dior, Donna Karan, Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, St. John. Kendall was in constant demand, traveling to shows all over the world. In Paris, the haute couture shows took place in January and July. In Milan, the peak months were March, April, May and June, while in Tokyo, shows peaked in April and October. It was a hectic, busy life, and she loved every minute of it. 86 Kendall kept working and she kept learning. She modeled the clothes of famous designers and thought about the changes she would make if she were the designer. She learned how clothes were supposed to fit, and how fabric was supposed to move and swing around the body. She learned about cuts and drapes and tailoring, and what body parts women wanted to hide, and what parts they wanted to show. She made sketches at home, and the ideas seemed to. flow. One day, she took a portfolio of her sketches to the head buyer at I Magnin's. The buyer was impressed. ' designed theset she asked. , did! ''hey're good. They're very good! Two weeks later, Kendall went to work for Donna Karan as an Issistant and began to learn the business side of the garment trade. At home, she kept designing clothes. One year later, she had her first fashion show. It was a disaster. The designs were ordin4ry and nobody cared. She gave a second show, and no one came. I'm in the wrong profession, Kendall thought. One day you're going to be a very famous designer. What am I doing wrong?

Kendall wondered. The epiphany came in the middle of the night. Kendall awakened and lay in bed, thinking, I'm designing dresses for models -to wear. I should be designing for real women with realjobs and realfamilies. Smari, but comfortable. Chic, but practical. 87 It took Kendall about a year to get her next show on, but it was an instant success. Kendall rarely returned to Rose Hill, and when she did, the visits were dreadful. Her father had not changed. If anything, he had gotten worse. ''t hooked anybody yet,, eh? Probably never will.' It was at a charity ball that Kendall met Marc Renaud. He worked at the international desk of a New York brokerage house, where he dealt with foreign currencies. Five years younger than Kendall, he was an attractive Frenchman, tall and lean. He was charming and attentive, and Kendall was immediately attracted to him. He asked her to dine the next evening, and that night Kendall went to bed with him. They were together every night after that. - One evening, Marc said,'Kendall, I'm madly in love with you, you know.' She said softly, ''ve been looking for you all my life, Marc." is a serious problem. You are a big success.

I don't make anywhere near as much money as you. Perhaps one day -" Kendall had put her finger to his lips. ' it. You've given me more than I could ever have hoped for.' On Christmas Day, Kendall took Marc to Rose Hill to meet her father. ''re going to marry him?' Harry Stanford exploded. ''s a nobody! He's marrying you for the money he thinks you're going to get.' If Kendall had needed any further reason to marry Marc, that would have been it. They got married in Connecticut the following day. And Kendall's marriage to Marc gave her happiness she had never known before. ' mustn't let your father bully you,' he had told Kendall. ' his life, he has used his money as a weapon. We don't need his money.' And Kendall had loved him for that. Marc was a wonderful husband - kind, considerate, and caring. I have everything, Kendall thought happily. The past is dead. She had succeeded in spite of her father. In a few hours, the fashion world was going to be focused on her talent. The rain had stopped. It was a good omen. The show was stunning. At its end, with music playing and flash bulbs popping, Kendall walked out onto the runway, took a bow and received an ovation.

Kendall wished that Marc could have been in Paris with her to share her triumph, but his brokerage house had refused to give him the time off.

89 When the crowd had left, Kendall went back to her office, feeling euphoric. Her assistant said, ' letter came for you. It was hand-delivered.' Kendall looked at the brown envelope her assistant handed her, and she felt a sudden chill. She knew what it was about before she opened it. The letter read: Dear Mrs. Renaud, I regret to inform you that the Wild Animal Protection Association is short Of funds again. We will need $100,000 immediately to cover our expenses. The money should be wired to account number 804072-A at the Cr6dit Suisse bank in Zurich. There was no signature. Kendall sat there, staring at it, numb. It's never go M*g to stop. The blackmail is never going to stop. Another assistant * came hurrying into the office. '! I'm so sorry. I just heard some terrible news.' I can't bear any more terrible news, Kendall thought. ' ... what is it?" was an announcement on Radio-T616 Luxembourg. Your father is ... dead. He drowned.' It took Kendall a moment for it to sink in. Her first thought was, I wonder what would have made him prouder? My success or the fact that I'm a murderer? Copyright 2016 - 2023