Phyllis Stine’s Diary

J uly 14 : Morning, I think. C’est moi , dear diary, c’est moi : Phyllis Stine. So confused. Did I or didn’t I miss the couture shows in Paris? Have I really been abducted by U.F.O.’s?

Now don’t be too strange, dear,” my mother always used to tell me. “Don’t be too strange, dear, or people won’t like you. They won’t understand you.”

Sorry, I haven’t written much lately, dear diary, but things have been really strange. Really, really strange. To recap: In early June, I wended my size 3 way to Southampton where I rented a cottage for the summer. Remember how I spied my gorgeous neighbor moving into the Federal house next door and, cleverly I thought, threw on my nearest yellow Prada skirt, Marc Jacobs cashmere tank, Manolo Blahnik grosgrain flats, and rushed across the lawn with a copy of the latest World of Interiors I figured he might like to borrow?

So Cyrill Killuh, his name, wasn’t Jewish after all, but we’re not talking marriage, so no big whoop. He invited me in and, frankly, I never left. Lust at first bite.

But strange.

Whoops! Gotta go. Here comes Cyrill Killuh.

July 14 : Evening. He’s gone out again. I guess I’m a prisoner of love. But he’s a dish. Part Warren Beatty, part Johnny Depp, part Lawrence of Arabia. The bedroom is lined in purple felt and, outside, the moon is always full. Would I lie to you?

Everything is so weird this summer. For the first week we never left the bedroom, which, after lo those ghastly years with Mr. Stine–what did he need all that money for, anyway?–was, well, more than a little bit of all right. Then, after the first week of never leaving the bedroom, our meals brought to us on trays by Bonnie Day, the maid, I needed to see a colorist.

“Sweetie,” said I. “You don’t mind if I skip off to the hair house, do you? I want to pick up a few things–a gel exfoliant, Jo Malone grapefruit bath oil, the August Allure …”

Well, Cyrill Killuh flew into a rage.

He locked me in the room! The purple room!

Hours passed. Days I think. But I looked on the bright side. Have to. Being locked up is one way to economize.

July 16 : Morning. I’m sort of asleep. Hear voices, see alien lights on the lawn in back of the house. This strange, silver dish awaits within a blue beam of light. First, I’m paralyzed. But regain mobility thinking about clothes. What to wear? Put on a pair of aqua capri stretch pants by Pauline Takahashi of Los Angeles and a Dolce & Gabbana white tank top. Head to the lawn.

Try to turn the dish over to see who makes it.


Things are strange in Southampton this summer. It’s been so damn hot.

The good news? Mr. Killuh has hired a divine crew of hairstylists, colorists, manicurists, waxers, who set up a spa for me twice a week right here in the house. I don’t understand a word they are saying. Language barrier. They all look like Azzedine Alaïa. So … you know. And new clothes arrive almost daily by messenger. I have more Versace couture than a new rich Russian princess! But I miss my friends. What I would give just to share a few words about new clothes with that nice Edward O’Sullivan who runs Helmut Lang’s boutique in SoHo.

Got to go: Cyrill Killuh’s landed in the driveway.

July 16 : Teatime. Things could be worse. Bonnie Day’s just come with the tea tray and in the bottom of my cup is a lovely, expensive verdura bracelet from Mr. Killuh. All I can complain about today is the tea. Such a peculiar aftertaste.

“Where do you go when you go away?” I ask Mr. Killuh.

He has the biggest hands. Never says where he goes. But it’s always golf in summer, isn’t it?

Should I push for details?

More good news: So what if no one cares if I live or die, locked away here in my neighbor’s hut. I’ve lost five pounds!

July 24 : All the days are one cosmic gall. Everything I knew about U.F.O.’s until now I learned reading, I believe it was, the June 25 issue of The New York Review of Books . Someone left a copy at Louis Licari; there was a review of a few recent books about U.F.O.’s.

But now I have firsthand experience. Beware of disks that go bump in the night.

Here’s what happens.

When you’re abducted, it’s almost always the same. I’m asleep, but not asleep. Mr. Killuh is here, but not here. Comes a sort of sleep paralysis. Then a presence in the bedroom. I see three hooded figures. I go to the window. See dish. Choose outfit. When in doubt, mix Marc Jacobs with Helmut Lang for a very take-me-to-your-leader look. Rush to lawn. Try to turn saucer over to see who makes it. They take me inside. The interior is very Courrèges, very Palm Springs 1960’s shaken martini.

My nightgown is above my head.

They’re poking my face with these strange metal instruments, checking behind my ears. “Fabulous! Fabulous!” they chant in an alien tongue.

There’s bluish goop on their faces. It’s no consolation I recognize it as Chanel’s Masque Purifiant Douceur, the one with witch hazel. Their names are Cristobal. All three are named Cristobal. Their name tags are pinned on protoplasm.

“Hi, my name is Cristobal,” says the leader. “And this is my brother Cristobal and my other brother, Cristobal.”

Please let me turn the saucer over to see who makes it!

Concerning my abduction on Monday evening, July 20. They wiggled my thighs, scraped off chips of toenail lacquer–what else is new?–probed behind my ears. Abducted into said saucer. Quick to Paris, for a change. A train station. It was a fashion show, I think. The couture? John Galliano for Christian Dior? A gust of steam. One of the numbers: a creature who looked like Pocahontas. White ermine. An asymmetrically draped forest green and reseda needlecord velvet elephant blanket overshirt embroidered with a scattering of mirror spangles and antique silver arabesque with thistles, all lined in antique gold floral wine brocade.

One of the three Cristobals asks me if I want children.


Then I’m back in my bed in the purple room at the house next door. My nightgown above my head. Red marks behind my ears. “You’re very strange,” I hear my mother’s voice.

I got to get out of here. Onto terra firma.

Or at least the nearest Chanel.

Billy’s List: Quiz time!

1. Why shouldn’t one wear yellow in Brunei?

a. Only dentists wear yellow in Brunei.

b. Yellow is reserved for the royal family.

c. It’s the color of the national bird, the Brunei canary, now extinct.

2. “Eurowasps” are:

a. marvelous couture corsets made by Jean-Paul Gaultier.

b. French Vogue ‘s nickname for young, international Nouveau Society types.

c. Dolichovespula media, huge killer bees stinging the Continent this summer.

3. Some folks swear massaging coffee grounds into the thighs will reduce cellulite. Who supposedly launched this trend?

a. Cindy Crawford.

b. Princess Stephanie of Monaco.

c. The Duchess of York.

Answers: (1) b; (2) c; (3) a. Phyllis Stine’s Diary