Medea the anorexic supermodel tested all her food on her Chihuahua. Still Jason the jealous designer found a way to poison her.
London Fashion Week had never seen anything like it. Jason Zantini’s collection – Blood Mummy – was his most personal yet. Some argued that it was not Fashion, it was Art. Others preferred to say that it wasn’t Art, it was a Bloody Mess.
Zantini’s troubled relationship with his own mother was well documented. A domineering alcoholic who had at one time resorted to prostitution, Dolores Zantini had killed herself six months earlier in a final act of vindictive passive aggression. Naturally, she blamed Jason in the note she left. And it was Jason who found her in the bathtub, the wounds in her wrists gaping like mouths open in accusation, the tepid water dark with her blood.
Safe to say that Jason Zantini was not in a happy place when he designed the Blood Mummy collection.
It was hard enough having his mother’s suicide to contend with. No doubt it made him a difficult person to be around. In the words of his girlfriend, supermodel Medea Medici, he was no fun anymore. He never wanted to go out, he wouldn’t answer the phone, wouldn’t see anyone – he’d even stopped taking a shower. Could he really blame her if she turned to others for company and amusement, in particular noted fashion photographer Kris Dufoy, on whose arm she was seen at several premières and industry galas?
To the emotional cocktail of guilt, grief and rage brought about by his mother’s death was added a generous splash of jealousy, with a top-up of rage for good measure.
When Zantini read about Medea’s engagement to Dufoy in the tabloids, along with the news that the couple were expecting a baby, it was hard to say what effect it had on his fragile mental state.
Hard to say, that is, until his Blood Mummy collection was revealed. At which point, Zantini’s emotions were out there for all to see – especially the rage.
But somehow, Zantini being Zantini, he managed to make his rage beautiful. Healing, even.
He wrapped the models in bandages made from golden wool. Beneath the bandages he concealed sachets of Kensington Gore. The sachets were weakened so that they ruptured as the models walked. The fake blood soaked through the bandages and dripped onto the catwalk. The message, if message there was, seemed to be that the models were being bled dry by the fashion industry. Their faces were made up to be deathly white.
All this would have been startling enough, but Zantini went one step further. The outfits featured what looked like human internal organs, arranged so that they appeared to be bursting out of the models’ bodies. Maybe he’d been inspired by Franc Fernandez’s meat dress for Lady Gaga. Or maybe he’d just lost the plot completely. (The latter seemed likely when it was discovered that the things that looked like human internal organs actually were human internal organs. Zantini never revealed where he got them, but if you have enough money and not enough grip on reality, anything’s possible.)
The pulsing suction pump inside a heart attached to one model’s arm was a nice touch. As if to say, she was wearing her heart on her sleeve, and it was still beating.
If it was Zantini’s intention to shock, then he succeeded. If it was his intention to have some of the audience vomit over themselves, then he succeeded in that too.
Zantini’s invitation to Medea to take part in the show was seen by many as an attempt at reconciliation. Fashionistas noted the healing symbolism of the golden bandages, though failed to speculate what the bleeding womb hanging off the front of the outfit might symbolise.
Medea had recently given an interview to Heat Magazine in which she denied that she had ever been engaged to Dufoy, whom she portrayed as a noted liar as well as photographer. She claimed that the engagement story was made up by Dufoy to keep himself in the limelight. Yes, she was pregnant, but the father, she insisted, was Zantini.
Did Zantini believe any of this? Or did he prefer to believe that Medea was making a pathetic bid to get back in his good books after Dufoy had ditched her for another model?
At any rate, he invited her to take part in his show, and she accepted.
Blame it on her name, blame it on her anorexia nervosa, but Medea Medici was obsessed by the idea that someone was trying to poison her. She had been ever since a fortune teller looked in her teacup and saw an agonising death in store for her: “You vill die frrrom a noxious substance.”
It was the sort of thing that could put anyone off their food.
She claimed she didn’t believe a word of it. The prediction was as phoney as the fortune teller’s accent, she quipped. Even so, these days she ate as little as possible. And everything that she did eat had to be first slyly tested on Mikey. Mikey was a Chihuahua. A very fat Chihuahua.
Jason Zantini insisted on binding the bandages around Medea’s naked form himself. “You know, Medea m’dear ,” (it was his old familiar way of referring to her) “you and I are destined to be together. It’s our names, you see. You know the story of Jason and Medea from classical mythology, of course?”
Medea winced as he tightened the golden bandages around her ribs.
“In that story, it’s Jason who betrays Medea and she takes her revenge by killing Glauce, the woman Jason leaves her to marry. Do you know how she kills her? No, of course you don’t. It doesn’t matter because, in many ways, our story is the reverse of that. In our story, Medea is the one who betrays Jason.”
“Please, I didn’t…”
Jason held a finger to his lips. “Sshh!”
Slowly he bound the bandages around her breasts and shoulders, then around her neck, and finally over her mouth.
“Medea pretended to be reconciled with Jason, to the extent that she gave his new bride a wedding gift. A beautiful dress and a golden crown. What no one knew was that the dress was soaked in deadly poison. The poison seeped into her pores and burnt her skin away. Her death was long, slow and extremely painful. What’s more, her father, who tried to help her, was also killed when he came into contact with the dress.”
She was halfway along the catwalk before she felt the first tinge of burning. Her screams could be heard over the thumping bass of the soundtrack. She threw herself off the catwalk, on to American Vogue’s editor at large, André Leon Tallay, who brushed her from him as if she were a cockroach.
The paramedics tried to ease her agony by peeling away the bandages. Unfortunately, her skin had fused with the fabric and came away in bloody shreds.
There was no mystery as to the identity of her killer. Zantini confessed. The only mystery was why he had done it.
He refused to shed any light on this, except to say, “It was for Glauce.”
A psychiatrist who was called in to assess his state of mind offered the opinion that he was suffering from the psychotic delusion that he was the reincarnation of the Greek hero Jason, son of Aeson and leader of the Argonauts.
As a curious footnote, it came to light at the time of the trial that Jason Zantini’s real name was Peter Eccles, whilst the name on Medea Medici’s birth certificate was Janet Holme.