Everyone hailed Hot Couture as an unqualified success.
Everyone that is, but the Creative Director. Vincent McDoom was only too happy to qualify its success. In post-show interviews, he emasculated both the Tourist Board and co-producer Mae Wayne and eviscerated Adrian Augier, confirming many people’s worst impressions of him (Augier, that is).
The St Lucia Tourist Board would probably have preferred all of McDoom’s easy, off-the-cuff criticisms to be aired in the closed conference rooms during what they like to call the post-mortem.
But Vincent McDoom is only making sure that the same thing that happened to him this year doesn’t happen again next year. From early on, he openly pegged Augier as an over-priced producer and cut his fees in every way possible. And while he did not exactly go to war with Mae Wayne, he repeated questioned her usefulness, or more specifically, whether she was worth the amount of money that Tourist Board was paying her, given that Augier was the producer and McDoom was the Creative director.
(Seriously, what was she for? What did she bring to the table that couldn’t be paid for with a tenth of the money, over the counter at the STAR?)
Insiders say that when McDoom first walked into the planning meetings for the fashion show, it was all one big haute mess.
“Well, first, they were planning an event and allocating money, but they didn’t even have an artistic director, so that was like throwing money in the air and at themselves,” one insider told The Flogg, showing agreements worth tens of thousands of dollars that were in existence months before McDoom was even called in to save the day.
“Even when they invited Vincent, they were thinking of him as a trainer or a celebrity judge or something,” another insider said. “They brought him to St Lucia and didn’t even realize that they should put him in charge of everything. They were going to spend more money on foreign designers and foreign artistic director and all kinds of nonsense, until he put his foot down.”
The Flogg has confirmed that without making a stroke of progress, the planning committee for Hot Couture had managed to agree to give spend $160,000 on two of its members. No models, no designers, no nothing of any use whatsoever.
That was in February.
Then, enter Vincent McDoom, asserting himself in ways that no one imagined, but taking responsibilities onto himself, mainly to prevent others from causing him to fail. He was working for free, so you know them – they let him work. For less than the price of Allen Chastanet’s monthly phone bill, he managed to create a successful new cultural franchise for the island.
“Within a week of his getting here, you could just throw away all the rest of the committee,” one of The Flogg’s insiders said. “They wanted to bring endless foreign designers and he insisted that if they’re not using mostly local designer then there was no point doing the show. They wanted to pay endless money for a bigger venue, but he ruled that out, saving them at least 30 grand. And then, they wanted to models to work for free, after they had given out so much money for ‘consultants’.”
“We’re giving them an opportunity,” the highest paid committee member was said to have commented.
“How are they ever going to become professional if you don’t treat them professionally and pay them,” McDoom was reported to insist.
“Ok, how much per model?” he was asked. “$75 to $150?”
“More like $700,” McDoom insisted.
“That’s too much!” he was told.
“But you’re getting $100,000, for what?” he replied.
McDoom’s practically free directorship, his single handed creation of the Hot Couture franchise and his upstaging of the jazz festival in general is part of his revenge on the establishment that abused him, refused him, exploited him, neglected him, tormented him and discarded him as a young St Lucian.
Some of those same people profited from Hot Couture way more than he or the models did. Way more than all of them combined. It is the way of the world – at least in St Lucia.
But one suspects that McDoom is aiming to change all that. First he successfully ended the career of a Speaker of the House. He toppled his abuser and reversed the disgrace, but he can’t stop thinking about other young people who are abused and neglected in endless different ways.
You could say he has a hero complex.
He sees himself in every beautiful, talented young St Lucian and he wants to save them all – or as many of them as he can.
It’s impossible of course. Too many people rely on the way things are now to just allow McDoom to change the status quo for the benefit of some dumb youths. They’ll probably put a stop to him eventually.
But for now, they need him. He’s their meal ticket, the hand that slaps and feeds them. He’s the lynchpin of a new multi-million dollar machine and they all want a piece of him, no matter how much he makes it hurt. Their only problem is that McDoom is not just some dumb fag with a bit of fashion celebrity. He’s one of the few legitimate revolutionaries of 21st century St Lucia.
And he’s giving the Tourist Board a choice.
They can go down the road of success with him, ruffling feathers as they go. Or they can stick with their hundred thousand dollar consultants and producers who overcharge for recycled stages and costumes. It’s their choice to make. He’s holding all the good cards.