Wilhelmina was on the phone to her older sister, Vincenza. Apparently she’d gone overdrawn again buying baubles in Yves Saint Laurent. “Which,” Wilhelmina thought to herself, “wouldn’t have happened if my darling sister weren’t so cheap. How is one supposed to live if one’s sister only deposits £35,000 in one’s account every month? That barely covered the Harrods caviar bill, let alone clothes.” Yes, Wilhelmina had heard minimalism was all the rage, but to her that meant a nude Tribute platform pump and a matching Cabas Chyc tote worn against a canvas of nude cashmere. Or red, or any other colour for that matter. To Wilhelmina minimalism meant maximalism, but in one total colour and accessorised with something gold, like an Arum choker. And maybe the matching bracelets, too. One on each arm. She liked to keep her look symmetrical. She and Yves had spent many nights discussing this point in finer details after he’d discovered her at the age of five and declared her his muse. Vincenza had always been jealous of their friendship. Willy took her stripping-bare cues from Joan in the 1980s, not Vincenza, who was practically trying to turn her out on the street. “Jackie never tried to cut off Joan,” she thought to herself as she opened another tin of beluga. Ever since Vincenza had begun this cheap streak she’d had to open her own tins as she could no longer afford staff. “So, what did I buy?” asked Vincenza, interrupting her train of thought. “Well, I bought everything,” said Wilhelmina. “In four colourways. Red, black, nude and aubergine. It’s part of my new minimalist look. I bought the Cabas Chyc bag and matching clutch and purse, too, of course. I mean, if your purse doesn’t match your bag or outfit, then you’re not minimal and minimal is really important to me. And anyway I was thinking about my future and how, well, I can’t rely on you anymore for my financial security, so I’ve decided to invest your money. I wasn’t shopping at Yves Saint Laurent, dear sister. I was investing. Leather so soft only appreciates in value. As you should well know. Wasn’t it you who said better to invest in an Yves Saint Laurent accessory than property? That way, when you have to flee the continent because of a jilted lover, you can take your investments with you. Well, I listened.” Vincenza babbled, lost for words. Wilhelmina decided to grab the moment and ask for just one last teensy favour. “There’s this bag. It would be the crown of my portfolio if you were to let me off just this once. It’s tiny. Really no bigger than a purse. A mini Muse on a gold chain in a soft cerise leather,” she said, and she picked up her other line to ring Vincenza’s card details through to the Sloane Street boutique.
by Natalie Dembinska