Sunday, August 17, 2008

...make a wish, girl we've been waiting for...17 august 2008 gratitudes







so i just don't even know where to begin telling this tale... i hope it is told and re-told, again and again, as it shows the magnitude of human kindness and generosity. here is the abridged version...

nikki is the darling 14 year old girl who won pete, chelsea, and my heart when we met her through a fashion and achitecture collaboration at Savannah College of Art and Design during our senior year. her mother, laraine, was the architecture professor whose passion and enthusiasm made all of us fashion kids fall in love with her. following this collaboration, chelsea and I went on to tutor nikki-chelsea in sewing, I in fashion illustration and collection development. she became our little sister and we continued to be penpals after we moved to new york, always looking forward to the heartfelt letters and incredible photos of her portfolio progress. our walls becoming an ever growing collaged record of our correspondence.

while we were in new york, nikki discovered lumps on her lymph nodes, which were immediately treated. a few weeks ago i received a heartbreaking voicemail from her mother, telling me the cancer had come back and they were about to begin a long battle with surgery and a more aggressive form of radiation. feeling so far away from savannah, i felt completely helpless. until i called laraine with an idea.

as the biggest advocate of positive thinking and the healing powers of happiness, i convinced her to let pete, chelsea, and i fly nikki up to new york so we could give her our fashion tour of the city. and much to my surprise-she agreed! when we asked nikki what she wished to do in new york, her greatest hope was just to see the superheroes exhibit at the met...which we knew would be the least we could do. little did we know...

by mentioning this story to a few people, a spark was created. pretty soon it seemed the whole fashion community was coming together to be a part of this magic. the women at W Magazine and WWD arranged for her(and her mother and pete, chelsea, and myself) to

*have a tour of the marc jacobs showroom to view the Resort 08 collection and see all the different aspects of the company from design to production to PR and sales.
*have a shopping trip at the bleeker street marc by marc store where she was able to select a dress, a pair of shoes, and a handbag!
*attend a taping of ugly betty where they met america ferrara and squealed, "sisterhood of the traveling pants!!!!!!!!!!!"
*model for a WWD photoshoot in central park where they created a mock-up cover of a WWD issue featuring nikki on the cover.
*have a tour of cartier and a gift of one of their charity love bracelets.
*attend a market appointment at philip crangi, where he personally gave us all a tour of his studio and went into great detail about his collections. we were all in awe of him. he was so inspiring and every word that came out of his mouth flowed perfectly and sequentially without hesitation or awkward pauses. his studio alone was an alcove of treasures and collectibles that made us all drool.
*attend a market appointment at alexander wang. i think we all were quietly trying to hide our excitement as he guided us around his studio. meeting him felt like the equivalent of meeting marc jacobs back in the 90s. he represents the young "cool kid", styling creative icons of today. and he is absolutely adorable and magnetic. we all wanted to hug him. and he gave nikki a one-off sample dress that never got made in production! so unreal.
*attend a market appointment with zac posen at his studio.
*attend a market appointment with brian bradley of tuleh.
*shop at lord and taylor with a $1000 gift certificate. we had the most fun trying to run around the store snapping up all the best pieces(we only had 30 minutes!) every piece nikki tried on looked like it was meant for her. she is so beautiful and clothing falls so beautifully on her.
*see a showing of the broadway play, hair, at central park. it was such a bawdy throwback to the sixties. we were giggling and singing and wiggling in our seats. at the end, the performers started pulling audience members on stage to dance with them to "aquarius/let the sun shine in". pete, chelsea, and i grabbed nikki and leapt over seats to make it to the stage where we danced and sweated til the music ended. it really was euphoric.
*have a private tour of the met's costume archives. we were able to see where historic pieces are preserved and the types of processes used during the archival process. we saw tiny chinese bound slippers; huge 18th century wigs and hats; and all sorts of treasures. we saw lauren davis' olivier theyskiens wedding dress. the famed ysl elephant dress. original chanel suits. mondrian dresses. paper dresses. roger vivier shoes. oh my!
*have a personal tour of the superheroes exhibit with a very eccentric and hilarious guide. very french and very naughty. he kept us in stitches.
*attend an alexis bittar market tour at his brooklyn studio in dumbo. he was so charming and fun. he took us down to the jacques torres chocolate shop and bought us all truffles and then took us down to the river to show us the waterfalls exhibit. he showed us how every piece is handcrafted in-house. each piece has so many layers of production and is touched by so many different hands with such care! we all kept deciding which position we wanted if we worked there...the handpainter, the gold leaf gilder, or the jewel placer. so utterly romantic and refreshing to see an artist who has kept control over his product. in a time when many luxury brands are opting for cheaper, poorer quality production means-he has stayed true to his artisanal craft. and at the end he gave nikki a giant bag of his beautiful accessories and even let her pick a piece from his PR closet. walking into that closet felt like the moment when dorothy walks out of the house into oz and everything goes from black and white to glittery and colorful. heavenly.


the final and jaw dropping moment was the lunch at oscar de la renta's studio with andre leon talley. oscar is probably one of the dearest men i have ever had the honor of meeting. he is a fashion icon, but most of all he is a man beloved by all. everyone of his employees and colleagues smile and glow in his presence. he was so kind attentive to nikki. she kept covering her mouth in awe! he showed her his latest collection, encouraging her to touch the garments and ask him questions. he made himself so accessible and he endeared himself instantly to her. he had her try on a beautiful party dress complete with gorgeous high heels and a python bag for all of us to ooh and ahh over. all of this was happening while the fit model walked up and down the studio, wearing designs from his current collection for spring 2009! we saw andre leon talley critiquing designs that are works in progress for his show that is coming up in the next few weeks. at the end of the tour, oscar told nikki that she got to keep all that she was wearing...and thats when we all started to cry.

the looks on nikki and laraine's faces are forever etched into my memory. words can't even describe the feeling. nikki and laraine are two of the most incredible people i have ever met. they extend goodwill and kindness to every soul they meet. they touch every soul they encounter and are the living example of how all humans should be. so much so that we are all convinced they are angels living on this earth. too good to be true. and new york proved to be filled with many unexpected angels.

i am forever grateful for this experience. for the people who made this happen. for my restoration in humanity. for the hope i have for the future of the fashion industry. for the confidence in nikki's future.

and this is why i still believe in magic.

60 comments:

Lady_V said...

Oh my god! That is amazing. Mainstream media is so negative and it's rare to hear about uplifting stories like this.

Just wow.

Congratulations on being able to pull this all together. =]

I send her my luck&love to a healthy recovery.

p.s. She looks very Alice-y in those pictures (Alice in Wonderland)

Natalie* said...

oh miss g,

i wish i would have known!

we, at GREASE, would have loved to have her as our guest backstage.

next time.

remission party in nyc?

thank you for sharing this lovely story. what a lucky lucky lady!

Krista Beth said...

Ginny, I don't believe in magic or humanity but this story was genuinely touching. I think I'm going to consider believing.

"hi, i'm ginny branch and i love love." said...

oh you have to believe! its the most beautiful, surreal story. i believe in magic, fairy godmothers, the whole bit. especially after this.

cara. said...

how beautifully unexpected. it IS magic!

hayliebird said...

oh thank you ginny! this is so wonderful & beautifully written, i have been waiting and checking in for this post every single day since Nikki left new york! it sounds perfect. you know i'm a believer and i believe that you are magic, my dear. you have brought so much goodness into so many lives. keep spreading your love & faith. especially your faith in good people, they really are all around us, even in new york & in philly!!

as for nikki & laraine-
i am keeping you in my thoughts always and spreading your story further each day! best wishes and i can't wait for the day that you move to NYC to join G,C,& P in the world of fashion!!

xoxo

Miabella said...

This is such an amazing story. Bravo to you and your friends for helping this happen!!! How enchanting, what a wonderful story to read to start my week, thankyou!

amy kathryn said...

she looks beautiful- my prayers will be with her. what a fantastic story!

coco+kelley said...

oh my goodness!... tears in my eyes as i write this, what an amazing story of the kindness of human hearts. inspiring and amazing what we can do with a few positive thoughts and pure love. thank you for sharing such a wonderful story!

katrina said...

this is the sweetest story in the world
my gosh
i don't even know what to say

*L said...

this is an awesome, awesome story. this little lady is LOVED.

Joanna Goddard said...

oh my goodness, ginny, that is so amazing. you are like her fairy godmother! so glad she had a wonderful time. joannaxo

Danielle said...

wow. this is so great. i hope nikki does well throughout her treatment. she'll have a place in my heart for certain. also, i'll spread the kindness!

Danielle said...

i hope you don't mind....
http://sexietime.blogspot.com/2008/08/spreading-love-spreading-words.html

peace and love!

"hi, i'm ginny branch and i love love." said...

y'all keep brightening my day with your sweet comments. i wish i could hug every last one of you!

thedirtyknitter said...

what a beautiful story!

distracted by shiny objects said...

Found this posting quite by accident during a Google search. Many,many blessings to all of you and may we all pay this goodness forward. Prayers to Miss Nikki and her mother.

jordan said...

Oh wow,

This is so beautiful. It made me tear up.

Tia said...

This is a beautiful story. I can tell you now that it is one I will remember forever. I myself am 14 & couldn't imagine going through cancer at my age.
Give her my love.

Alice said...

What an amazing story.

hayliebird said...

ginny- i think we should do a ballon prayer for nikki too. nie nie's family has requested red balloons in her honor, maybe we can do another color for nikki? tell me what you think.
xoxo
hbird
http://hayliebird.blogspot.com/

Schuggles said...

What a wonderful story!!
Reading this has totally made my day.

I hope you don't mind I spread the word.

laia. said...

wow. this is amazing.
i hope she is able to recover and will keep her and her family in my thoughts.

V said...

this is what dreams are made up. i hope she gets better. this is a amazing story.

CupcakeGal said...

Your story is the nicest act of love and friendship I have read or heard in a very long time! What you and your friends achieved for this young girl is extraordinary and I truly hope with all my heart that Nikki gets well soon so that she can pursue her passion for fashion!!
Thank you for telling this beautiful story!!

Holly Grande said...

This is an amazing read. I got here via Fashionista, and I thank you for sharing Nikki's story. Best wishes to Nikki, her family, and to you!

3 Column Grid said...

What a wonderful community! Good always begets good.

Here's hoping for Nikki's speedy and safe recovery. I am (and clearly many others) pulling for her. :)

peterletroisieme said...

I love you Branch, who would of thought you, Chelsea and I could have pulled this all together let alone what everyone else did for us! I still feel like it was yesterday the three of us were in our apt thinking of a way to just get Nikki to NY. I posted my version, its long, but barely scratches at everything that happened! Love you!

xo Peter

littleflour said...

Amy S.
So inspiring...people really do know how to do the right thing. Sharing the Love! Thank you for your wonderful writing! We can all keep this precious girl and her family in our thoughts and "prayers". There really are miracles in even this world if you believe.

Bibi said...

This is one of the most uplifting stories I have ever read. I am tearing up. It's true, we need to hear more positive stories like this. And it's a true one! God bless Nikki, her mom Laraine and all the fasion icons who made created a fantasy come to life for her. :)

Lauren said...

Ginny, that is truly amazing and has restored a little piece of faith that was missing from my view of the fashion community.

Lorie said...

Here by way of Fashionista. Not usually one to write but couldn't resist after reading such a beautiful story. Thank you so much for sharing. My heart is beaming with happiness right now.

Miss B said...

Such a lovely story! She is a lucky girl to have so many amazing friends.

This definitely provides a whole new perspective on the fashion industry for me. Makes me feel so optimistic about people.

Thanks for sharing!

Julia Anne said...

This story is beautiful, and it restores my faith in humanity.
I send all of my best wishes to Nikki and her family, and please please post updates on her!

Bostonista said...

Such an amazing story! It honestly brought tears to my eyes! I hope it's alright if I link this on my blog and I'll add you to my blog roll.
It's so inspiring to hear this story!
Much love to her and to everyone involved. I wish her a speedy recovery!

la petite fashionista said...

this story just goes to show how the fashion industry is not as self-absorbed and materialistic as the outside world may think. what an amazing opportunity!

Best Wishes & health to you nikki<3

Addie Rose said...

How sweet! That was such a nice gesture for her! New York City really is the place for miracles!

fklt* said...

i teared up so much when i read this. I'm actually interning at Oscar de la Renta and I remember that there was something going on at the office that day and someone had mentioned something about Mr de la Renta and Andre Leon Talley taking a girl around the studio i'm so glad i got to read the full story! :) this was a wonderful read and just made me feel so happy inside :) xoxo-kayli

i.d. said...

One of my friends was recently diagnosed with terminal cancer and I initially felt horribly helpless. But then I realized that the only thing to do in this situation is just be her friend like usual.

I'm really touched by your thoughtfulness for Nikki and her mom, and the kind gestures of everyone who contributed to her NYC experience. Life is sad but friends are the silver lining.

discothequechic said...

I can't believe how amazing this is.. the list is so long!

I always find it so comforting to hear how everyone pulls together during times like these.

I really genuinely hope that Nikki pulls through; sounds like she will go far in fashion.

you'll have to keep us updated.

and also, i've linked you if you want to trade. x

"hi, i'm ginny branch and i love love." said...

thank y'all for all of your dear comments and good thoughts and prayers. nikki had her surgery and is on her way to a healthy recovery. i will continue to update with all of her good progress. thank you, all you sweet darlings.

Nilina said...

I had to take pauses while reading this because of the enormousness of goodness.

So happy that this isn't a story with a silver-lining, but one composed entirely of silver.

On an unrelated/though slightly related side note: Nikki has sold me on that dress. I have been googling it for a while. Do you know where I can buy it?

"hi, i'm ginny branch and i love love." said...

you can buy it any marc by marc jacobs store. it is the dita lace dress re-cut in black.

kara said...

That is so absolutely amazing Ginny!!!! I am so happy that she got to have such an unbelievable experience (as did you with her!!!)Stories like this make the world keep spinning the way that it should! xoxo-keep spreading the love-Kara

Lauren said...

I'm sitting at my desk right now trying not to cry. This makes my week.

WendyB said...

What a wonderful story.

Lucy in the Sky said...

What a wonderful experience for Nikki! :) She certainly got a taste of the Big Apple in a really cool way! You are really sweet for keeping her in your thoughts and giving her a bit of joy when you heard the bad news. I certainly hope Nikki's health will improve. Wonderful post! :)

enc said...

I had to cover my own mouth a few times reading this one. It was unbelievable.

Skye said...

What a beautiful story - such lovely memories will hopefully help sustain Nikki through her treatments, and on the road to recovery.

Alya said...

This is truly an amazing and inspiring post.. I never expected something like this to come out of the big-shots in the fashion design area.. Its a great show of love and empathy.

I have a dear relative who is also battling cancer, so this touches my heart dearly. I wish her all the best. A speedy recovery surrounded by the people she loves.

stef m said...

amazing. can't help being filled with hope...

Jenny H. said...

ohh my goodness.
this is incredible.

that gives me so much hope in makind.

and congrats to you for putting that all together.

agp said...

ive been inspired by your blog for some time now, and reading this has truly sent my joy in reading your blog over the top! your love for people and the sweet things in life is such a joy to read about and the gratitude you have for your loved ones shines through your blog pages! this story is so precious. your service is so sweet. the way you move through life is what will change this world into the beautiful rose garden it is meant to be. keep shining. and thank you*

chelsea rose said...

ginny, look at all these people who read your blog for inspiration and hope. you are oprah!

-h of candid cool said...

oh my!! that's beautiful!

Lex said...

I just found your blog, Ginny, thanks to Abby and Kathleen's comments, and this post is truly awe-inspiring. I had to leave a comment and let you know how much truly magical this story is. Thank you so much for sharing it here!

jana said...

this is the sweetest story i have ever heard!! it makes my heart smile.

Carissa said...

I found your blog through a link in the TEENVOGUE website and started reading. This story is amazing. :)

Jydonne Durrett said...

What an incredibly heavenly story! What a sweet soul you are. Bless you and best wishes to the lovely young heart for peace and abundant health moving forward.

Marcheline said...

What a great experience - what large hearts - thank you for sharing! I will always maintain that NY has the best people in the world.

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