1 - Get ready its Fashion Week in
am a free lance runway photographer for some of the top
modeling houses in
. Its spring in
and the Italian fashion shows have been keeping me busy
non-stop for the past month and I’m ready to spend a
few days of R&R.
I was putting away my camera equipment when I got
a call from my agent and good friend Jennifer LeSalle.
Hayden speaking” I said pressing the button on my blue
tooth and continuing to put my equipment away.
It’s Jennifer. You got a minute? The familiar
got a hot project here in
and the client asked specifically for you. Can I
gonna owe me Jennifer. I was going to take a break
and take my sail boat out for a week.” I said looking
at the picture of it on my blackberry.
know. I’ll make it up to you I promise. The
client has a new model and he wants you assigned to her
for her runway portfolio shots.”
problem. Send me an email with the details and
I’ll see you in
. Talk to you later.” I hung up and took the last
sip of my Merlot before finishing my packing.
is the city of
fashion, fine dining, and drop dead gorgeous women from
around the world. The fashion show Jennifer
scheduled me for is the Mode A’ Paris Haute Couture
fashion week. It’s a fashion photographer’s
dream project. All the top couture designers from
around the world will be attending to display their
latest designs using the top models from around the
world. The super wealthy, celebrities, and
international buyers will be in attendance as well.
took a early morning flight to
fingering through the magazines in the back seat in
front of me I came across a Vanity Fair. The
hottest new model Mishka Strova from
is on the cover. She’s tall, slender, with shoulder
length jet black hair, deep brown eyes and single. I
flipped through the pages until I got to the article
about her. She was discovered in
two years ago and has been moving up the hot model list. This
year she is in the top twenty most sought after in the
world. The article when on to say that she has
penthouse apartments in
. She’s very private when not modeling,
independent, wealthy, and doesn’t date rich boys and
that she’s looking for a “well balanced regular guy
that will appreciate and love her for who she is as a
person, not as a super fashion model.”
in mid afternoon. After I checked in and went up to
my room, and made dinner reservations for Jennifer and
me at Au Trou Gascon for eight o’clock to go over the
details of the shoot. It’s one of my favorite
restaurants and well off the beaten tourist track. It’s
overseen by celebrated chef Alain Dutournier and his
wife who runs the dining room. He does a refined take on
the cuisine of
-- a region renowned for its ham, foie gras, lamb, and
duck. Most popular with the regulars are the
surprisingly light cassoulet (all the meats are grilled
before going into the pot) and a superb duck comfit.
went down to the lobby and out to the street to wait for
Jennifer to pick me up for dinner. The night is
calm and the city is bustling with fashion industry
people. I heard my name being called as I was
watching for Jennifer’s car.
Michael, over here”. Its Paul LaGassi a top
couture designer from
and a very good friend of mine waving at me from across
Paul you here for the show?” I shouted back. He
crossed the street and came over to me.
I have some pieces I’ll be showing. I am fitting
the new hot model Mishka Strova” he said pointing at a
picture of her in a magazine featuring one of his
out! I am doing her runway photo shoot all this
week.” I said with a big smile then gave him a high
she is gorgeous and has a body like a dream goddess. My
dresses are fitting her like a glove. I can’t
wait to see her in them on the runaway.” He said
looking at the magazine again. I could see
Jennifer’s Mercedes coming down the block towards us.
my ride. Call me tomorrow. You got my
number” I said waiving at Jennifer and stepping off
talk to you later” he said waving and walking back
across the street.
2 – Day 1 at the Fashion Show
having a café latte and breakfast pastry, Jennifer
picked me up at 9 am and we headed to the fashion show. We
arrived at the
where the fashion show is being held. Models,
designers, stylist and prop people were moving about
with a precision flare.
move faster people, we only have four hours until
show!” shouted one of the coordinators clapping his
hands behind the models and stage hands.
over here darling” came a voice over the moving crowd. A
tall gentleman in a dark Armani suit with a bright pink
polka dot silk tie was motioning for us to come over to
where he was.
Jeffrey. How are you?” said Jennifer as they both
cheek kissed each other.
darling, just fine. You know this show is nearly driving
me crazy!” he said fanning himself with his matching
pink and black custom hand made fan.
looks like it. Jeffery, this is Michael Hayden my
photographer. He’s photographing the new model
Mishka Strova for Victor Sheldon” said Jennifer
picking up a glass of Mimosa champagne from a passing
with me honey” said Jeffrey. “Mishka Strova?”
Jeffery said with an arched brow “She is so hot now
and the girl looks good in anything she puts on! Michael,
you will be the envy of the photo gang on the runway
ramp” Jeffrey said sipping his champagne and pointing
at me with hand fan.
me and I’ll get you two all setup with your seat and
full access passes” he continued as we followed him to
greeted and complemented Jeffery as we strolled down the
hall to his office. He clearly is the shaker and
mover of the fashion show industry. He seemed like
the type of person that if he likes you, you’re in
good company. If he doesn’t, then you might as
well pack up and go home.
you go, one for you and one for you, now call me if you
have any trouble Jen, you have my number. I’ll be
around, so don’t be shy. Michael, it was a
pleasure and let me know when you have an opening in
your schedule for a photo session for me. I need to
update my portfolio” said Jeffery handing me my
you, just call Jennifer and she’ll setup an
appointment for you. It will be my pleasure” I said
slipping the lanyard over my head with the passes
headed out of his office and went to the main floor near
the runway to check where our seats were. Jennifer
looked at me with a big smile.
don’t know how lucky you are to be selected to do his
photos. He is one of the most powerful people in the
industry and when he talks, everybody listens. You
are on his good list!” she said. I looped my arm under
I guess we’re even on that favor you owe me.”
seats couldn’t have been more perfect. One third
of the length down the runway and on the front row! I
took out my camera and panned it a couple of times to
get a feel for my shots.
is perfect Jennifer, absolutely perfect” I said
clicking off a few blank shots.
nothing but the best for the best” said Jennifer
sitting down and scrolling through her email on her
blackberry. “I got to make a call Michael, I’ll
be a minute” she said standing up walking a few feet
I’ll just hang out here” I said adjusting my lens.
saw Jeffery giving some instructions to one of his many
legions of help. I decided to take some candid
moment shots figuring it would flatter him to see
himself in action. He looked up, saw me and came
you are creative, candid shots, I love it. Please
take more throughout the week.” He said fanning
himself with his hand fan.
will. I think it would be good to show the working side
of you so your clients can connect to you and your
work” I said putting in a new flash memory stick.
simply excellent darling. Well it seems you’re
just in time, here come the girls for a test walk”
said Jeffery pointing at the curtain with his fan.
3 – At last - - Mishka Strova
then a string of beautiful models came out onto the
runway strutting like Egyptian Queens. As I watched
them one by one come out to the end of the runway stop
and turn on a dime, Mishka Strova stepped out from the
curtains. I was spellbound. My mouth was open
as I watch her slowly strut across the stage in long
fluid strides. Her legs were long and perfectly
formed. Her hips swayed in perfect modeling form
with her slender arms. Her eyes were like emeralds
and her smile soft and innocent. I poised my camera
up at her and focused her perfect body in my lens. I
snapped shots in unison with her steps. She stopped
in front of me, looked down, smiled, waved with her left
hand, and then pivoted away.
can close your mouth now honey” said Jeffery tapping
my forearm with his fan.
told you, she is as beautiful as a dozen pink tulips.
I’ll see you two later darling” he smirked and began
to walk away to meet with some arriving designers.
“So you got to meet your girl” said Jennifer
watching the spellbound look on my face fade away.
and she is one beautiful woman and I mean beautiful” I
said still staring at her perfect apple bottom swishing
away from my sight and dissolving into the curtains.
we have a meet and greet with Victor Sheldon in half and
hour, so stay close by. I have some more calls to
make and some clients to chat up” said Jennifer
checking her blackberry.
I’m going to stay here and check lighting and shot
angles. Call me if things change” I said looking
through my lens at the stage clicking off some shots.
was looking in my camera case for my wide angle lens
when I heard a soft female voice from over my shoulder,
are Michael, yes?” said the soft voice.
I murmured back as I found the lens and began connecting
it to my camera then stood up to see who is talking to
I am Mishka Strova. Are you photographing me today?”
she said looking intently into my eyes.
was stunned. There she was standing right before me
like a gorgeous genie that popped out of a bottle in a
pink plum of smoke with a soft gaze that melted me.
yes I am, I will be here all day, yes I’ll be
photographing you” I struggled and stammered to answer
her. She broke into small smile.
I am pleased to be meeting you Michael. Victor my
designer told me about you and your work. I am sure you
will be making beautiful photographs of me” she said
in the cutest broken English laced with a soft Hungarian
do my best Mishka” I said with a bashful smile.
I will be seeing you around then, yes?” she said
walking backwards then turning away.
heart is pounding as I watched her walk away. I am
surrounded by beautiful women all the time in my line of
work, but Mishka just rocked my world. Everything
about her shook me to my core. It’s going to be a
long week and I am getting paid to look at her and take
her picture. It doesn’t get any better than this
I thought to myself. I took some more pictures and
did some light testing before putting away my camera. I
checked my watch. It was getting close to meeting
time with Victor and Jennifer. Now that I met Mishka up
close, I can now somewhat talk intelligently to Victor
about his star model.
4 – “Take good pictures of my Mishka”
and I went to meet with Mishka’s agent Victor Sheldon
to discuss the photos he wants for her portfolio and
website. We arrived at his private modeling suite
promptly at 11:30am.
in, come in my friends” said Victor in a slightly
heavy Swedish accent putting out a cigarette while
blowing out his last puff of smoke.
to see you. Victor this is Michael Hayden the man
with the magic lens” said Jennifer extending her hand
Mr. Hayden. So good for to be seeing you, please
sit down you two” he said with a bright smile pouring
himself a shot glass of Vodka.
be my guest, this is the best Vodka from my homeland”
he said setting out two more shot glasses. I followed
Jennifer’s lead on this one.
you Victor, to Mishka” she said raising her glass. I
followed suit, “To Mishka”, I said raising my glass. We
all toasted our glasses. I must say it was very
smooth and mellow.
Mr. Hayden, have you been to the runway area for to see
where you will be sitting yet?” asked Victor.
we have. Jeffrey set us up with our passes and
seating assignments. I must say, I have a great
position for taking pictures of Mishka. I met her
shortly after her test walk” I said still feeling the
smooth silky Vodka caress my throat.
she is very, very beautiful yes!” he asked arching is
brow and leaning back in his chair.
Victor, no doubt she is a knock out” I said.
yes, she is beautiful knock out. I told Jeffery I
wanted you to have the best seat and position for taking
photographs” he said lighting another cigarette.
you mind if I smoke?” he asked realizing that we are
go ahead Victor” said Jennifer.
you for your understanding. I know this is bad
habit. Mishka hates it when I smoke. She is
always getting on to me about it. Perhaps one day I
will stop” he said taking another drag.
am having private cocktail and dinner party at my suite
after the show tonight, you will come yes?” said
Victor taking his last drag of his cigarette before
putting it out.
of course Victor, I will be there” said Jennifer
standing and shaking his hand.
good and you to Mr. Hayden?” he asked while shaking my
I will. I will be looking forward to it Victor” I
said releasing his hand.
I will see you later at the runway and thank you again
for coming by” he said opening the door for us.
you Victor. See you later” said Jennifer as we
5 ~ The Fashion Show – Day 1
were traveling around on palm supported platters
drifting from guest to guest like honey bees pollinating
flowers in spring. Everyone is dressed to the
nines. It was twenty minutes until show time when
we got to our seats. I got out my camera gear and
setup for my first round of photos. Victor is two
seats down from us smoking a cigarette and sipping his
be right back” said Jennifer looking intently at her
Black Berry. “Okay” I said setting up my
tripod. A waiter approached me with a silver platter
lowering it towards me as he got closer.
Hayden?” he asked in a professional butler voice.
I am Michael” I said looking up.
you sir” he said extending the silver platter. On
it were three tulips tied together with lace and a note.
you” I said handing him a five dollar tip. It was
addressed from Mishka. I opened the partially
am wishing good luck for you today Michael. I look
forward for to seeing you tonight at Victors party. Always,
Mishka Strova.” I was speechless. I broke
into a big smile. I couldn’t believe my eyes.
words lay delicately in my hands as I read them again. I
looked up at the stage and scanned it starting from the
far left. There she was peeking out looking right
at me. I raised the tulips and note card up to her
and mouthed “Me too” with a smile. She smiled
and faded into the curtains.
well, where did those come from?” asked Jennifer with
a “I bet I know” smile.
secret admirer” I said putting the note into my camera
it seems as though you’re getting off to a good start. Can
you stay focused enough to pull off your first day?”
she asked knowing the answer.
sharp as cupid’s arrow” I said turning on my flash
and focusing my camera at mid stage.
lights went low as a plum of white smoke creped across
the stage. Purple and pink lights danced through
the plum of smoke. A big flash of magician powder
burst at the tip of the stage then out came Prince
playing “Let’s go crazy” (the theme of the first
day of the fashion show). The place roared with
cheering guest clapping their hands and dancing as
Prince performed live like it was his first time on
stage. It was a fantastic opening. I took
pictures of him in his usual awesome presences.
After his performance the lights went low again. The
stage is softly lit with plums of smoke hovering like a
and gentlemen, I give you Mr. Jeffery Ashton” said a
low slow deep voice. A spot light slowly pierced
through the cloud filled stage and made its way to the
center of the stage. There in all his glory stood
Jeffery in a solid purple suit with a pink satin shirt
and matching signature poke a dot tie and hand fan. He
is stunning. The crowd burst into a loud applause
as he stood taking it all in. I started taking
pictures of him as he stood in his Bill Blass couture
you, thank you. You are all too kind” he started.
“Welcome to the first day of our annual spring
fashion show. I guarantee you will be as stunned as
I am over the next few days at the fashions that these
wonderful top designers have in store for you. And
now without further a due, the fashion show is
officially opened” he said fanning him self and cheek
kissing Prince who started playing Let’s go crazy
The first models began to come out and strut across the
stage. They looked like a string of the world’s
most expensive pearls as they come out one by one. Thirty
minutes had passed by until the lights went dim again. Andre
Bocelli music began to play (Canto Della Terra). The
crowd is quite and intently watching the stage.
stage lights slowly began glow. The heavy velvet
curtains opened slowly, then out strolled Mishka Strova. Her
beauty is breath taking. The crowd watched in awe
as she strutted out in synchronized steps of Andre
Bocelli wearing “Red Diamonds”, an exclusive couture
design of Paul LaGassi.
walked with elegance wrapped in grace. I took what
seemed like endless frames of pictures. She turned
on a dime at the end of the stage then stopped. Turned
again and posed for the hundreds of photographers and
the attending guest. The crowd burst into the
loudest applause I have ever heard. She stood in
all of her elegance posing like a Greek Goddess frozen
in time. The flashes from the photographers kissed
her image like a dozen tinker bell ferries with magic
wands. Jeffery was clapping his hands so hard I
thought he would break his wrist. Victor is smiling
from check to cheek as he knew he had the number one
model that had captured the world.
broke her posed and walked a third of the way down the
stage and stopped again right at my waiting camera shot. She
smiled and winked at me then assumed her Greek Goddess
pose again. I took picture after, after picture as
I smiled looking up at her. There was no denying
it, I was hooked even after she had left the stage I
couldn’t get her out of my mind. The rest of the
fashion show went without a hitch. Victor is happy,
Jennifer is smiling and I was looking forward to the
after party and seeing Mishka.
6 ~ The After Party
first day was coming to a end and what a day it was. The
show went off without a hitch. The designers were
writing orders and sketching new designs in a frenzy. The
crowd slowly strolled out gabbing about the pieces they
liked sipping the last of their cocktails while valets
were rounding up their Limos, Mercedes, Ferraris, and
was it as good for you as it was for me?” asked
Jennifer sipping a Cosmo walking towards the valet with
that and then some, I got so many great shots of Mishka
and Jeffery” I said toasting her glass.
I’ll drop you off so you can get ready for the after
party and pick you up say around 8:30?” she said
tipping the valet.
for me” I said slipping into the passenger seat.
tux was waiting for me in my room when I arrived. I
hooked up my laptop and logged on to my email to check
on messages and download the day’s photos from my hand
full of memory chips. I poured myself a drink and
casually watched the pictures download as I unwound. Mishka’s
pictures began to pop on the screen one by one. I
took slow sips of my cocktail as I watched her pictures
appear and slide into another. She is as beautiful
as the moments I spent taking them.
making sure all my pictures downloaded, I finished off
my second Jack & Coke and got dressed. Jennifer
had just pulled up to the hotel when I got to the front
door. The night was perfect and calm.
Hubba” said Jennifer smiling as I got into the car.
It’s just a tux” I said putting the coat in the
backseat smiling back.
a tux, ha, looks like a Jack Victor “Estrato” to me.
Am I right?” she asked waiting for the stop light to
you’re right. You been in the business too long
Jen” I said adjust my tie in the visor mirror.
and I know when a man is dressing to impress a lady and
not just any lady” she quickly answered back.
I kinda have my eye on someone.”
me guess, your secret admirer with the tulips?”
you could say that.”
is her name Mishka by chance?”
guess. How you figured that?”
told me she wanted to make sure that you would be at the
you’re being ever the accommodating host” I laughed
turning up the music.
drove through downtown to the Castille Paris hotel which
is located in the rue Cambon nestled in the exclusive
1st arrondissement amidst the haute couture
houses and boutiques of the
fashion district noted for having housed the couturier
Channel since 1910. The Castille is nothing short
of fabulous. The valet greeted us as we pulled up
to the grand entrance.
are here for the Victor Sheldon party” said Jennifer
tipping the valet.
Miss LaSalle, through the double doors and to your
right, he’s expecting you.” The valet responded.
We went in as instructed. Guest are lined up being
greeted by Victor and Jeffery personally.
my friends, I am so pleased for to be seeing you” said
Victor with a glass of Vodka and a cigarette in one hand
while extended his other one to shake.
Jeffery” said Jennifer greeting them both with cheek
at you girl, turn around and let me see that Donna
Karen. I am liking it!” said Jeffery fanning himself. He
is decked out in a Yves Saint Laurent black tux.
you look at you Michael in your Jack Victor
“Estrato” tux. I am impressed” he continued
with his review of us
you Jeffery. Your first day was nothing short of
spectacular.” I said as we followed them both into the
were everywhere with cocktails in hand gabbing about the
have a toast” said Victor signaling over his personal
waiter. “For you Miss Jennifer and for you
Michael” said Victor handing each of us shots of
this wonderful day and my friends” he said clinking
our drinks and throwing back his first.
here” we chanted back throwing back the shots.
please, go mingle, I will be around” said Victor
lighting up a cigarette nudging us towards the crowd.
he’s happy” said Jennifer as we headed for the bar.
and you’ve got one big client to add to your growing
wouldn’t be where I am today without my friend and
best photographer on my team”.
like they say, it takes two and I got you babe”.
laughed and talked about the show as we sipped cocktails
and snacked on passing platters of delightful finger
food. Jennifer floated away to chat up her clients
as I held up the bar for another round of Jack and Coke.
I had just finished off my drink when I heard a sweet
I am so pleased to see you are here”.
turned to the delight of seeing Mishka standing with a
slender fluted glass of sparkling
in her hand smiling with bright beautiful eyes.
you were stunning today on the runway” I said
adjusting my bow tie.
got many photographs of me today? Did I look
good?” She said looking down at your glass then back
up at me.
you were a goddess on the stage. I looked at your
pictures before I came to the party and they all were
excellent. Your poses were spot on and everything
you wore fitted like a glove.” I said looking at her
begin to smile.
really think so?”
know it without doubt.”
order another drink and celebrate with me” she asked.
We toasted our glasses and walked out to the patio over
looking the city.
night air is perfect, the stars shinning and the moons
glow lit Mishka’s face and smile.
being surrounded by so many women you must be popular
guy and have many girl friends, yes?” she asked
leaning back pushing her hair away from her face. I
took a sip of my drink and looked up at the sky then
back at her.
yes, popular, I don’t know about that, but there is no
one special. It’s hard to find someone stable in
the fashion business. They either have drug
problems, an eating disorder, or too full of
themselves.” Her smile faded.
you think I am these terrible things?” she said
in a low voice looking down.
Mishka. I don’t think you are any of those
things. Today on that stage I saw a beautiful
confident woman. I smiled as I watched your
pictures float across my computer screen. I
couldn’t take my eyes off you. I was wondering
what type of guy could win your heart and how lucky he
would be if he ever did.” I said looking intently into
smile came back. She sat down her drink and moved
so close to me I could smell her perfume. Our hands
moved towards each other.
there you are!” said Victor taking a puff on his
cigarette before putting it out. “I have been
looking for the two of you. Dinner is being served
in five minutes. Come, come now and join me. I
have much to discuss with you for my little Mishka’s
broke our gaze as Victor hugged us both and walked us
back to the party and to the dinning room.
7 – “I can’t get her out of my mind”
was awesome and the moments with Miska last night
wasn’t long enough I thought to myself as I sipped my
latte while reading the reviews in the paper about the
first day of fashion week. They were all ten stars
on the new designer collections and models. The
reviews about Mishika and Victor were very good.
The reporters were dead on about how beautiful and
graceful she was in every since of the words. The phone
rang breaking my trail of thoughts.
is Michael” I said rubbing my eyes.
morning Michael this is Mishka Strova” said the sweet
and potent voice. My heart pounded as I prepared
Mishka, is everything alright?” I asked fearing
something was wrong. I couldn’t figure out any
reason why she would be calling.
everything is alright. There is no problems.
I was calling for to ask if you are needing a ride this
morning? I could come pick you up.” She said in
a hopeful tone. I broke into a big smile, did a
fist pump before answering.
would be great. What time are you coming by?” I
an hour if that is good for you” she asked.
be ready and waiting outside.” I said doing
another fist pump with excitement.
I will be seeing you then.”
hung up. I went to the closet and franticly pulled
out different outfits trying to figure out what to wear.
“She’s picking me up in an hour” I blurted out
loud as I set aside a semi dressy casual outfit.
With five minutes left, I went downstairs and out to the
street in front of the hotel. After a couple of
minutes had passed I could see her driving down the
block towards me in an awesome red Ferrari F430.
She looked hot as she pulled up stopping in front of me
smiling with black Gucci glasses, a simple black DKNY
one piece mini dress, with a silk red and black polka
dot scarf draped around her shoulders. I opened
the door and slipped into the luxurious butter soft
morning Mishka” I said with a big smile looking at her
morning Michael. Are you surprised for to be
seeing me” she said pulling away shifting into second
is a very pleasant surprise Mishka. I am glad I
get to see you before the hectic day starts.” I said
I wanted to be the first girl you saw this morning.
We didn’t get much time together last night to talk
with all the people around and of course Victor was
consuming you with all of his details.” She said
pulling up to the stop light.
seeing you now is the best way I can think of to start
my day” I said wanting to lean over and kiss her
is best way for me too.” She said looking at me
in the moment then back at the road smiling. We
looked at each as we as if we both realized at the same
time that our attraction to each other is becoming
apparent to us. I reached out for her hand.
She shifted gears then placed her soft delicate hand in
can’t deny it Mishka, you are a beautiful woman and I
am very attracted to you. I have been thinking
about you a lot and more so when we are apart.
When the fashion week is over I would like to spend more
time with you.”
said not believing the words that were coming out of my
mouth. I was terrified of what she would say.
Did I reveal my feelings too early I asked myself?
pulled her hand away, shifted gears again then put her
hand back in mine. My heart is pounding. She
looked at me smiling then back to the road.
would like that Michael. I would like very much for us
to be spending time together. I was hoping that you
would very much be feeling that way. The truth is
I was feeling somethings inside me for you when I was on
the runway” She said smiling, spreading my fingers
with hers and slipping them between mine.
that moment on, I knew I was on my way to falling in
love with a Runway girl named Mishka Strova. The
rest of the week went smoothly. Day after day we
were inseparable at the cocktail parties. On the
runway she would wink at me and every day I wore a pink
tulip to let her know that of all the beautiful girls in
world she was the girl for me.
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