Inspector Chameau was front row at the Balenciaga show when they told him he was needed in another tent. A model was dead. “Seal the doors,” he said. “Our murderer must not be allowed to escape.”
“There are no doors,” they said. “It’s a tent. It only has flaps.”
The good detective stroked his beard. “May God have mercy on our souls,” said he.
The murder weapon was an eyeliner brush, lodged in her jugular. With his magnifying lens, Chameau examined it closely. “I can tell you right now who committed this murder. She has left her calling card. Officers, bring me Estee Lauder.”
When everyone just stood there, he said, “What? Go on. I’m not getting any younger.”
“Listen, lady,” someone said. “Estee Lauder’s dead too.”
How convenient. Inspector Chameau twiddled his moustache and gazed around the tent. Then he saw her. She was propped against a rack of clothing, drinking champagne through a straw, wearing a gown the color of ashes. A vision from his past. La belle dame sans merci. She was gaunt, haggard, fabulous. He remembered how it felt to have her sticklike limbs bent around him, the jabbings of her elbows, the way he used to eat grapes from the hollows between her vertebrae.
She walks for Lanvin. She walks for Chanel. She walks the cold hill’s side.
The case went unsolved. Chameau was found a week later, horribly disfigured. An APB was issued for Bobbi Brown.
Calf-skin jacket. Bias-cut silk gown. Style is a debt we must all repay. Price upon request.