Once upon a time, I almost killed Anna Wintour. Yep, that one. Editor of American Vogue, the world’s most powerful woman in fashion. It’s possibly a slight exaggeration, but I would never let boring facts cheat you out of a good yarn, dear reader, so here’s what happened. I think the year was 2004. It was during my days of persisting with vertiginous heels so that date feels about right. I was at the bi-annual fashion shows in Paris. Hordes of us were exiting the Musée d’Orsay after Tom Ford’s Yves Saint Laurent show. Tom, being a stickler for sleek chic aesthetics, had blanketed the cobbled pathways in jet black carpets. It was already dark and not lit. I found myself walking just a few paces behind Anna, who was deep in conversation with every Vogue editor’s favourite photographer of the day, Mario Testino.
Chatting to friends, glued to my Blackberry, trotting along in very high heels, I did not notice that the black carpet was now covering two or three descending stairs, rather than flat ground. I went flying. As will happen, my hands reached out in desperate flailing as I stumbled, tripped/ran and tried to right my balance, while my ankles twisted beneath me. I am telling you, there was the tiniest sliver of air between my hurtling body and Ms Wintour. Another millimetre and I’d have tumbled, full force, on to her, probably snapping her tiny frame in two. I actually saw my fingers scrape the air just short of her back. I shudder to think of what would have ensued. At the time we worked for the same company. Legend has it people have been fired for looking at Ms Wintour the wrong way. What would happen to someone who’d shattered her kneecaps?
This wasn’t my first brush with fashion disaster, either. I once found myself at the opening of a huge new Emporio Armani store in London. Again, some time ago. Mr Giorgio Armani himself was in attendance and personally greeting guests at the door. When it was my turn to say hello, he extended his hand for what I assumed was a handshake. To my great surprise, he pulled me in for a hug. The new store floor was very shiny and very polished. Caught off guard, I tripped, slid and sort of… fell on to him. We both stumbled around for a few seconds, grappling each other, trying to stay upright. To this day I don’t know how he didn’t fall backwards on to that cold ceramic floor. Again, I shudder to think what I nearly made happen to that poor man’s skull. Good grief, he is responsible for most of Italy’s GDP.
This is why I happen to think there might just be such a thing as guardian angels. In my case, they have not only saved me from career suicide, but clearly know a lot about who’s who in fashion. I’m being facetious, of course, but our story today about a real-life angel medium, Kyle Gray, made me look at these experiences in a new light. Maybe, just maybe, it wasn’t dumb luck that stopped my clumsiness from killing my career – and innocent fashion bystanders – but divine intervention.