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Friday, 4 June 2010

The curious tale of Lester and Cynthia - a model love affair

I have a strange and most wonderful anecdote to share with you about a long distant great aunt of mine, Cynthia.

Living in New York during the 1930s, she was the muse to an avant-garde sculptor, Lester Gaba. Lester was by profession a soap sculptor! What a marvellously eccentric occupation in itself. Super talented and mixing in all the right circles, he was commissioned to sculpt a set of mannequins for a store window. These stylish debutante type figures became an instant hit. A marked departure from their predecessors (heavy, lumpen grande-dames from a bygone era), they became known as The Gaba Girls and every hip store wanted one.

Lester (feeling the Victor Frankenstein urge I suppose) was compelled to create his ultimate dream-girl, my auntie Cynthia, a beautiful socialite mannequin, beguiling yet detached, she was always posed to model perfection with a cigarette constantly held aloft.

Lester and Cynthia were the toast of New York society. So much so that Lester could not bear to be separated from this gorgeous creature. Ever the romantic, she became his constant companion and was transported with him wherever he went........Dates to the opera, The Stork Club, rides around the city on open top buses, nothing was too good for Aunt Cynthia. He and all of New York were truly besotted. Cartier and Tiffany lent her jewels to wear on their outings. Couturiers rushed to clothe her for their various jaunts. They were like the Posh and Becks of their day, feted wherever they went.

What’s wrong with all that you may think? Well, Aunt Cynthia may have appeared a modern girl on the outside (all light, fluffy and vivacious), but the terrible truth be told.....she was infact made of plaster! 3 men had to be constantly on hand to shift her from venue to venue. Running repairs were a constant nightmare, to say nothing of the fear of damp weakening her joints! Her health began to deteriorate. The tale takes a downward turn here, along with her health. The love affair ended in disaster, when Cynthia visited a beauty salon with Lester and dramatically slipped off a chair to be shattered into a hundred pieces. Poor Lester, he was never the same again!

A cautionary tale I think. Let me advise you……..be very careful about your fittings and more importantly, the company you keep.

Good day.

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