Saturday, August 10, 2013
Ida T. Heurtze and the Italian fashion house
As she cleared her desk at the Nark Ark following her battles with the editor and the incident with the tethered sheep she happened upon a letter from the Italian design house Luigi Scavadore, which she’d all but forgotten about.
It was an invitation to travel all expenses paid to Italy to view their latest collection, which the marketing department, Alfonso, was sure would appeal to the Scottish market, which the label had neglected up until that point.
The House of Scavadore was the most traditional design house in Italy, only starting to display their latest lines as recently as 1978, and tracing their roots back 300 years, having specialised in camel hair underwear, which they supplied exclusively to the Catholic Church and monasteries Worldwide.
The change in 1978 came about when family Patriarch, Alberto passed away and his flamboyant son Luigi decided to display their new designer ranges at Milan fashion week. The label remained obscure due to the limited appeal of camel hair undergarments, although there had been a certain amount of interest among the English public school fraternity.
The timing of the invitation to the Nark Ark was fortuitous being for the following week, so Ida packed her things into an envelope and travelled by first class post to the village of Milan in the Italian district of abroad.
She arrived to find the House of Scavadore in a state of mild panic, the latest camel hair gusset having left the catwalk models hired for the show with a disturbing looking rash, but Alfonso, son of Luigi, was immediately taken with the exotic looking Ida with her pink, home knitted stockings, and tweed blouse.
He immediately fell for her rugged charms and begged her to be one of the catwalk models for the new collection, which he assured her, would compliment her size 16 frame beautifully.
It took several bottles of Chianti and several evenings of romancing to persuade the Scottish seductress to agree, and by the night of the launch she had been promoted to become the main face of the reclusive design house.
The audience were almost predominantly buyers from the various international branches of the Roman Catholic church, a few nuns and Ida recognised Archie McTaggart of the Clan McTaggart, and fashion writer for the Inverness Fury, as she strutted along the catwalk with her white pasty skin contrasting nicely with the beige camel hair long sleeved vest and knee-length knickers.
There was a gasp and some giggles from the nuns at the daring design with elastic and buttons replacing the traditional need to hand sew yourself in to the scratchy garments.
The rest of the range brought similar reactions, with the monks being particularly impressed with the range of hemp socks, which were based on a traditional design usually made from old sacks.
It was regarded as a huge success, and Ida got to keep the clothes she had worn to such acclaim on the catwalk. Her relationship with Alfonso was to blossom into an affair lasting a whole twenty minutes, with the seductress deciding to stay in Milan in an apartment her Italian admirer had provided for her.
Word quickly spread and Ida’s modelling career took off with other design houses vying for her services. Italian Vogue did a photo shoot with her wearing the latest designs including a barbed wire belt and bottle top earrings from House of Scavadore along with their horsehair dinner dress.
She was courted by sportsmen and jealous suitors would fight for her affections, with the World chess champion Ivan Bovanovic coming to blows with Paulo Dicanza, the third choice goalkeeper for a football team Ida hadn’t heard of in Milan, at an event laid on at a local brothel.
The high life took its toll on the Scottish woman though. An addiction to pizza and Swiss chocolate led to her falling into ever deeper depths of depravity, her dreams of being a journalist fell by the wayside after several unsuccessful affairs, and it got so bad she almost considered a move to the Spanish Costas where she could indulge her hunger for chips and British beers.
She was saved when an Italian film director cast her as the lead in his adaptation of a British comedy Pride and Prejudice and she received great critical acclaim when the film debuted at a French village called Caan.
It led to a new career as an actress, and several whirlwind years when the name Ida T. Heurtze became was associated with some of the biggest films in Italian cinema.
But that’s another story…
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