Magazine July 27, 2020, Issue

The Devil Wears Prada: CDC Edition

(Fabrizio Bensch/Reuters)

Fade In:

The Runway Magazine team is busily trying to arrange things for the next fashion shoot. Miranda Priestly, the imperious and impatient and withering editor in chief, sorts through the various items from the racks of couture garments. The underlings stand by, terrified.

Off to the side, Miranda’s newest assistant, Andrea, called “Andy.”

Everyone is wearing masks and staying six feet apart from one another.

Miranda waves away one of the racks.

Miranda Priestly: (Says something in an irritated and fed-up tone of voice, but because she’s wearing a mask the words are muffled and unintelligible. Her eyes are expressive.)

Subtitle: “No. And I’ve seen all this before.”

Assistant 1: (muffled, unintelligible behind a mask)

Subtitle: “Dior is trying to reinvent the sanitizer pouch, so actually it’s . . .”

Miranda Priestly holds up her hand, her eyes wide with annoyance.

Subtitle: “Where are all the other sanitizer pouches?”

Assistant 2: (muffled, unintelligible behind a mask) 

She presents some colorful hand-sanitizer pouches and clutches. Her hand is shaking in fear.

Subtitle: “Some of these work. Versace is showing a lot of florals right now.”

Miranda Priestly: (eyes rolling, withering-sarcasm noises from behind the mask)

Subtitle: “Florals? For hand-sanitizer holders? Groundbreaking.”

The assistants begin to scramble frantically.

Miranda Priestly: (muffled complaining)

Subtitle: “No. No, I just — it’s just baffling to me. Why is it so impossible to put together a decent selection of anti-COVID designer accessories? You people have had hours and hours to prepare. It’s just so confusing to me. Where are the advertisers?”

Assistant 1 shows a few pieces.

Miranda Priestly: (eyes flashing)

Subtitle: “We need more, don’t we? Oh. This is — this might be — what do you think of . . .”

She turns to Nigel, the fashion editor. She’s holding up a large plastic full-face helmet.

Nigel: (nods appreciatively and makes muffled cooing noises)

Subtitle: “Yeah. Well, you know me. Give me a full face mask and a hint of bouclé and I’m on board.”

Miranda Priestly: (questioning, huffing sounds)

Subtitle: “But do you think it’s too much like . . .”

Nigel: (definitive-sounding grunts from behind the mask)

Subtitle: “Like the Givenchy Plastic Body Boxes from July? I thought that, but no, not with the right accessories. It should work.”

But Miranda is already on to the next item.

Miranda Priestly: (exhausted tone of muffled barks)

Subtitle: “Where are the hoods for this Valentino antiviral caftan?”

The team scrambles to find them.

Miranda Priestly: (eye-rolling, sing-song muffles)

Subtitle: “Why is no one ready?”

Assistant 3 holds up three antiviral caftan hoods. They seem to be the same color.

Assistant 3: (muffle muffle muffle)

Subtitle: “Here. It’s a tough call. They’re so different.”

She holds them up for all to see. From the back, six feet from the nearest person, Andrea giggles.

 The room stops.

 All eyes on Andrea, who has realized by now that she’s made a serious mistake. She tries to hide behind her mask but can’t. Miranda has spotted her.

Miranda Priestly: (eyes flash, angry muffle)

Subtitle: “Something funny?”

Andrea: (shrugs, makes equivocating rumbles from behind her mask)

Subtitle: “No, no, nothing. Y’know, it’s just that both those antiviral caftan hoods look exactly the same to me. Y’know, I’m still learning about all this stuff.”

Miranda Priestly: (short angry bark)

Subtitle: “This ‘stuff’?”

The room freezes. Terrified assistants, eyes darting in terror.

Miranda Priestly: (a series of muffled words and noises conveying contained rage)

Subtitle: “Oh . . . okay. I see. You think this has nothing to do with you. You go to your closet and you select, oh, I don’t know, that drab blue mask, for instance, because you’re trying to tell the world that you take yourself and COVID-19 too seriously to care about what you put on your face to hold the droplets in. But what you don’t know is that that mask is not just blue, it’s not turquoise, it’s not lapis, it’s actually cerulean. And you’re also blithely unaware of the fact that, in 2020, Oscar de la Renta did a collection of cerulean face wraps. And then I think it was Yves Saint Laurent . . . wasn’t it? Who showed cerulean military nose plugs?”

Miranda holds up an antivirus caftan.

Miranda Priestly: (a soft aside muffle to an assistant)

Subtitle: “I think we need some nose plugs here.”

More assistant scrambling. Miranda returns her steely gaze to Andrea.

Miranda Priestly: (focused muffling)

Subtitle: “And then cerulean quickly showed up in the collections of eight different designers, in face helmets and body shields and plastic body conveyances and microwaveable antiviral burkas. And then it, uh, filtered down through the department stores, and then trickled on down into some tragic CVS COVID Supplies aisle where you, no doubt, fished it out of some face-mask clearance bin. However, that blue represents millions of dollars and countless jobs and it’s sort of comical how you think that you’ve made a choice that exempts you from the fashion industry when, in fact, you’re wearing the face mask that was selected for you by the people in this room. From a pile of stuff.”

Miranda turns away. She returns to the racks of items. People remain no less than six feet apart.

Fade Out.

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