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PARIS, July 2005 - When my cellphone flashed “restricted number”, I wasn’t sure who the incoming caller might be. It couldn’t be Stepmoney, since she and I had had a falling out shortly after her husband’s defeat, and her subsequent stay at a fat reduction spa near Vichy. It couldn’t be Mr. Rove, who is anxious to delete contacts these days. So I said to myself, it must be Leroy Otis Lerou (LOL) the night porter at the Mayflower in Washington calling with some salacious tidbit concerning a high ranking Republican caught with their pants down. With the image of Senator Cornpone of Mississippi in flagrante as enticement, I took the call.

Oh horror - it was Seignior Faggiolini phoning on behalf of the Godfather.

Given that my reportage concerning his first couture show had been ill received at the palazzo on Lake Como, and given my reward for that episode - dare one mention young Giambattista, who had not lasted the twelve days of Christmas before fleeing to his native Italy - I was at a loss to imagine what more the Godfather might desire.

Well, Senior Faggiolini explained: my presence was requested at his July couture show, this as a result of a dearth of pseudo-aristocracy on the guest list. There was hardly a di, da, de or della prefix to be found, which had led to a state of crisis. The Consiglieri had been called. It had been decided that I must be front row. Clothilde de Savoie was going to Valentino, and even the Princess Romario of Bulgaria was going to Dior. Talk about a coalition of the unwilling - not even a first rate star could be dragooned. Gwenyth was doing Chanel, and the best the Godfather could hall in was Tina, whose photo ops these days, shall we say, need airbrushing.

Of course I couldn’t refuse, but I did mention the unfortunately short lived episode with Giambattista, and was promised that the wayward youth would be returned, at gunpoint if necessary, in return for my cooperation.

So I put on a few dusty diamonds and headed off to the nouveau riche 16th arrondissement early on Wednesday morning - and if truth must be told, earlier than normally my eyes would have seen the light of day, earlier even than a first flute of champagne would have crossed my parched lips.

Yada yada yada, the same old thing. Brutish security guards shoved me into a corner. A set of mignon press officers, their respective noses stuck up a line of cocaine, gave me attitude. A herd of cows in town to buy new tents tried to squeeze into armchairs on the front row and look thin. High powered journalists attempted to ignore each other: there was Mr. Weenie in his one crumpled khaki suit, the IT Queen looking as if one too many bottles of champagne had crossed her path, and one editor in boots with pointed toes, apparently equipped with helium heels.

There we all were, one big happy family, waiting and waiting for the show to begin. It turned out that Ms. Unicorn held up things so she could take her seat at the last minute, this in an attempt to draw attention to her recent weight loss. Thin she may be, but the rest of her just gets in the way of glamour.

So the lights went up, and the models came down the catwalk - the world’s most beautiful women, the world’s tiniest waistlines - and still the clothes did nothing for me. I don’t know why Godfather calls it all Privé, unless you are never supposed to wear any of it in public. Be that as it may, the finale had everyone wildly applauding.

Just as I was thinking it was finally over, and that a small glass of champagne might await me backstage, an uproar ensued when three militant members of PETA jumped out of nowhere clutching buckets of red paint. From all appearances, the three weird women were most agitated over the mohair stoles the Godfather had used for his evening wear.

The Vogue woman jumped under her chair faster than greased lightening, evidently enacting the emergency plan she had readied for such occasions. The Godfather himself was on the catwalk grimacing for the cameras at this point, and Seignior Faggiolini was forced to whisk him to safety. Security guards descended on the band of militants, tripping over themselves in the process and sending one enormous hulk flying face down into the pit. A group of photographers got into a fight while photographing the episode, even as some of the matrons on the front row attempted to express surprise - an effort not entirely convincing given the amount of Botox injected into their respective visages.

While I was running for my life, towards the one and only Sortie, a nice young man, Giacomo (as it turns out, the larger and more impressive first cousin of Giambattista) came to my rescue, pulling me safely out of harm's way and directly Au Bar at the Ritz. There beneath golden chandeliers, after two bottles of Krug and a voucher for the Louis Vuitton store on Avenue Montaigne, Giacomo made the decision to expatriate.

So as I sit in my Hôtel Particulier, reading through the account of the unhappy events in Le Figaro, I take solace in the fact that my couture purchase might not last as long as the current season, but at least it will sparkle at night.


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