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BYMARCUSCOBBItsallabouttheapproachShewasbyfarthemostbeautifulyoungwomanIhadeverseenatleastthatyear.Evenamidstthemyriadofotherfashionmodelscharismaticalpha-dogentrepreneursamboyantdesignersbottlesofchampagneandeardrumshatteringhousemusiceveryonenoticedher.ThemusicwassoloudeveryconversationwaspunctuatedwiththeoccasionalWhatHuhAndyetnoonemindeditwasreallyaboutpeoplewatchinganyway.Seeingandbeingseen.ScanningtheroomforinterestingcharacterswhilesomeonewasyellinginyourearandyouregivingthecordialIhavenoideawhatyouresayingheadnods.TwoyearsagoIwouldhaveneverapproachedher.CandidlyIwouldhavebeentoointimatedshyandafraidofrejectionbeneathmycondentexterior.Thisgirlwaswayoutofmyleague.Butinafuturenottoodistantfrommeetinghershewouldbestandingnakedinfrontofmeandmyeyeswouldbegenuinelyxedonhersaswetalkedaboutloveandloss.AsbeautifulasshewasthereweresexywomeneverywhereTheeveningweatherwasperfect.ItwasthekindofsummernightthatmakesChicagosummerslegendaryanditwasanalmostsurrealbackdropforthisinvite-onlysoire.TheguestlistwasfullofpeoplewhothoughttheywereimportanttotheChicagofashionsceneandsomewhogenuinelywere.Wewereframedinahigh-fashionboutiquewithitsoor-to-ceilingglassstorefrontandthesmellof400blazers200loafersand500eveningdressesintheair.Agrandopeningcelebrationandeveryonewasdressedtoimpress.Butwhenyoulookedatheraswealldidthemusicseemedtofadeouttimesloweddownandshecameacrossasapproachableandunimpressedasyourgeekyfemalebest-friendinseventhgrade.Stilltherewasnothinggeekyabouther.Shewasa5-foot10in.natural-bornLithuanianwithairbrushedskinlong-darkhairandpiercingblueeyes.Herskintightdresshadtheaudacitytobemodest.HerlipswouldmakeAngelinaJolieenviousandherbodywouldmakealingeriedesignerapproachheraboutmodelingforhisnextphotoshoot.SoIdid.IncontrastIwasdenitelyageek.Acomputer-geekbytradewhoaftersomeentrepreneurialserendipityfoundmyselfdesigninghigh-endintimateapparel.Inmytransitionfromtyping120wordsperminuteofsourcecodetosewing120stichesperminutewomentookonaverydifferentroleinmylife.SureonthisnightIwasdressedinchicstylerivalingmosteveryoneelse.Myswagwasonandmycondenceradiated.IwashavingagreatyearwithmylingeriebrandandwhetherIwasimportantorjustthoughtIwasitfeltgreattobeme.ButatmycoreIwasageekandfashionwasjustanotherproductIwasproducingwithmymindandhands.NowallowmetodigressforjustamomentasIsayfashionchangedmylife.Beyondcourse-correctionitliterallyelevatedmypsychetoaplacewherethoughtsyasthebirdsdo.ThisisespeciallyimportantbecauseIwassurroundedbylingeriemodelsforaliving.Iwastheguywhodeterminediftheymadeitintothenextfashionshoworcatalog.IronicallyeventhoughInowhadmoreaccessthaneverwomenwentfrombeingconqueststogenuinemuses.Simultaneouslymanyofmyinner-mostinsecuritiesmeltedaway.Iwasntamodel.Ididnthavethenicestbody.Iwasntthewealthiestguyintheroomoreventhetallest.InfacttherewerealotofthingsIwasnt.HoweverasadesignerIwassomethingexceptional.Iwasanartist.Idesignedhigh-endintimateapparel.Literallyintimateapparel.AndsomehowImanagedtodosowiththeclassandsophisticationmycustomerswanted.TheyweremymusesandIreciprocatedwithdesignstheycoveted.EvenstillwhenIsawthisbreathtakinglygorgeousgirlmyinnergeeksoughttoremindmeoftherealityofleaguesandthefactthatIdidnothavetheVIPtickettohers.Almostinstantlymydesigneralter-egosaidFuckIt.WhatdowehavetoloseWejustwanttoshootwithheranyway.Sothecompromisebetweenbothvoiceswastoaskthefemaledesignerwithmetogoaskherifshewasamodel.NoyoudoitSheretortedinhereryArgentinianaccent.Imnotgoingtoaskhertomodelforchu.Itookadeepbreath.PutonmyIfearnorejectionsmileandwalkedovertoher.Itsallabouttheapproach.Beforeyousayawordshecantellbyhowcloseyougetthelookinyoureyesyoursmilewhetherornotyouengageherfriendtenthousandbodylanguagesignalsinstantlytellherifyouareafriendorfoecompatibleornot.Hiexcusemeladiesinmymostcondentdeeplyprojectedvoice.ButareyouoneofthedesignersoroneofthemodelsheretonightIcouldtellbythebashfulgigglestheywereneitherandIsuddenlyfeltlikeIwasincontroloftheconversation.Noafriendinvitedusshesaid.HerLithuanianaccentwasasexymusicalblendsomewherebetweenRussianandSpanish.TogetrighttothepointIdontknowifyoumodelorifyouwantto.ButImadesignerhereandIdlovetoworkwithyou.IllsendyoumyworkandifyoulikewhatyouseeIllseteverythingup.Shegavemehercontactinformationalmostinstantlyanditwouldbenearlysixweekslaterbeforeweactuallyconnectedinperson.Therstobservationwasalmostcommonsense.Condenceisthecurrencyofcourtship.Ifyourunoutofeverythingelsendmorecondence.WomenrespondtopersistencethewaytheUniversedoespersistencewinswheneverythingelsefails.Iwentfromwonderingwhothiswomanwasasanoutsidertoschedulingalingeriephotoshootwithher.Ittookafewmomentsofcourageandafewmoreofcondencebuttheriskwaswellworththeaward.BecauseeverythingIthoughtIwasntshedalreadyhadandwaslookingforsomethingnewandreal.NoyoumaysayfromtheonsetHeyitwasntyou.Itwasthepromiseofmodelingfameandfortuneetc.Icantellyoufromexperiencethosearethingspeoplepromisegorgeouswomenallthetime.Whethershechoosestoworkwithyouornotitstillcomesdowntohowyoumakeherfeelinagivenmoment.Shehastobelieveshewouldactuallyenjoybeingaroundyouagain.Nomatterhowsubtle.Nomatterhowsubconscious.Itsallabouttheapproach.WhenInallysawheragainforthephotoshootallIrememberisthelookthephotographersface.IknewatthatmomentIhaddiscoveredsomeonespecial.ObservationsofaLingerieDesignerPart119WWW.FLIPMAGAZINE.NETOCTOBER2014