Zippers on garments, hems on skirts, and last minute buttons on jackets. Kylisha did all those things and more to help Deshawn meet the demands of putting together her very first fashion show.
Though tonight’s show was slanted to be a small presentation in front of mainly family and friends, it was still pivotal to Deshawn’s future since it was priming her for bigger and better things. The fact that the Rozier basement had been turned into a sewing/design room showed how serious Deshawn was about her profession.
Based on personal tidbits Kylisha garnered in the company of Deshawn, the family basement wasn’t the only thing the twenty-one-year-old had changed since graduating from design school. To show her dedication to her career of choice, Deshawn did a lot of personal changing, too.
Though Deshawn was still very sassy when she wanted to be, she was not quite as loud as before. She also no longer wore tight flashy clothes, decorative hair extensions and long sculptured nails. These days Deshawn tried to draw a different kind of attention to herself, particularly to her fabulous designs.
“Your designs are truly unique, Deshawn,” Kylisha said as she finished a decorative hem on the last skirt of the pile she’d been given earlier. “I think your show is going to be a hit.”
“Thanks to you it will.” Deshawn smiled from the other sewing station. “I really appreciate your help today, Kylisha. As you know, the females in my family were all either too busy with their children and husbands or didn’t have the right skills to help me with my designs. I needed somebody that could come in and hit the ground running. Somebody I didn’t have to teach technique to.”
As Deshawn spoke, she leaned over her sewing machine to inspect the fancy stitching on the hem Kylisha just completed. She nodded in approval. “Case and point. Look at that stitching. It’s in perfect unison with the pattern I gave you,” she said, tracing the design with a thimble topped index finger. “Had it been my mother helping me out, she would’ve second-guessed herself every other stitch, Grandma’s arthritis would’ve probably gotten in the way in this cold basement, and my sisters would’ve gotten distracting calls from either their children or their husbands.” Deshawn snapped her fingers and added, “So you know I was too happy when you came along.”
Kylisha laughed at Deshawn’s sassiness. “Fortunately, I don’t have any of those ailments or distractions in my life, and I’m not easily intimidated by new projects.”
“I can see that.” Suddenly Deshawn’s silver and gold watch went off. She looked down at it. “I can also see that it’s time for you to be getting out of here. I wouldn’t dare make you late for tonight’s party. Daddy Mitch would probably kill me.” She chuckled, revealing her exaggeration at the end. Mitch was too sweet to kill anybody. However, he wasn’t above scolding Deshawn for making his secretary late to her very first company social.
Kylisha looked down at her watch, too. “Time sure flies when you’re having fun. Do you need me to help you tidy up before I go?”
Deshawn shook her head. “No. The only thing I need you to do before you skedaddle is try on your dress and see if it fits okay.” She pointed to a red satin dress draped around one of the brown mannequins’ neck.
“My dress? That dress is for me?” Kylisha stood up from her sewing station with green eyes full of surprise. She’d never worn anything that sexy in her life. And yet there wasn’t an indecent thing about the sleeveless garment. In fact, it was just as wholesome as the conservative black evening gown Kylisha had waiting for her back at her apartment.
The neckline of the red garment wasn’t a plunging one. Rather it had a modest V-shape that sloped into an elegant bodice. Furthermore, the only skin Kylisha would show in that dress was her shoulders, the top of her back, and her calves since the hem of the dress stopped just below her knees.
“Of course this dress is for you.” Deshawn stood up as well. Since Kylisha was in too much shock to remove the garment from the mannequin herself, somebody had to. “I made it two days ago as a thank you gift for volunteering to help me out. That’s why I asked what size you wore the other day,” Deshawn continued as she brought the dress over to her newfound friend.
“I wondered about that, but I just figured most designers were concerned about people’s sizes.” Kylisha touched the dress with trembling fingers. The black dress she bought yesterday was a forgotten entity now.
“Well, wonder no more.” Deshawn paused, cocked her head to the side, and zoomed into Kylisha’s hair. “By the way, are you married to that long hair?”
Noting how much Deshawn looked like Gene with her head cocked to the side like that, Kylisha almost got sidetracked from the question at hand. “Uh…no, I’m just so used to wearing it long,” she said, touching a few long strands as she spoke. “Why? Do you think I should cut it?”
Kylisha actually considered cutting her hair back in college. But after voicing that possibility in front of her grandmother and getting such negative feedback, she quickly changed her mind. Mrs. Greene ranted and raved for a whole day about how a woman’s hair was her glory and how Kylisha needed to keep her tresses long, despite how unmanageable her thick mane became at times.
Kylisha had wanted to fire back with the fact that some women’s hair never grew long. She even had a great example in Shareen Burley, her ex-college roommate. Shareen’s short locks never quite made it past her ears though she tried every hair care product she could find to stimulate growth. Yet nothing seemed to help.
To obtain that lengthy look she sought, Shareen frequently wore hair extensions, weaves, and full wigs. At the end of sophomore year she finally decided to let that long hair dream go and just learn to love her hair just the way it was. Though Kylisha had that excellent example to refute her grandmother’s argument, she held it inside—the way she did most of her opinions when it came to her grandparents.
“Honestly, I think your hair is long overdue for a cut,” Deshawn replied, snatching Kylisha back to the present. “I also think you should let me show you a ten-minute makeup routine that will have you looking like a model every time.” Deshawn took a step back and assessed Kylisha’s tall, 5’10 frame. “Matter of fact, with your bone structure, slender figure and height, you probably could’ve been a model.”
Kylisha blushed. “Thanks, Deshawn.” No one had ever told her that before.
“You know what, since you helped me make such good time today, how ‘bout I help you get ready for tonight?” Deshawn looked down at her watch again. “We got at least three free hours to burn before the show.”
So ready for a change, Kylisha quickly accepted. She might even splurge on some red lipstick tonight instead of her usual clear lip-gloss.
An hour later, Kylisha looked like a new woman. She felt like one, too. Now her vivacious outside finally matched her effervescent inside. She was so pleased. Now if Kylisha could only get her mind to stop wondering what Gene was going to think about her new look.
© 2006 by Suprina Frazier
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