I hope everyone is fine, doing well, and enjoying some decent weather somewhere. I am ready for some warmer spring weather, but not finding it in any of the cities where I live. When is winter going to be over? (I’ve seen snow in Paris twice recently, some big gorgeous lacy snowflakes. And several days of hail!!). Spring soon please!!!
In the meantime, this is the time of year, when I get to indulge my frivolous side with the ready to wear fashion shows. And they are fun!! I reported on the Celine show last week, which was very ‘fashion’, as the French say, much of it oversized and avant garde, which makes it not so easy to wear, but looks great on the right people.
The next fashion show I went to was the Hermes show, a distinguished, very elegant brand, best known for its leather goods: handbags and shoes (they even make gorgeous saddles for horses, and are also famous for their elegant riding gear and equipment). Their handbags are the most coveted and desirable in the world, with their 2 most famous styles of handbags being the Kelly, made famous by Grace Kelly, Princess Grace of Monaco, and the Birkin bag, made famous by the model Jane Birkin. Those two bags are the most desired in the world, sometimes with a very long waiting list to obtain them, and with astounding resale value at auction. Hermes limits the number of bags sold, and people sometimes wait several years for either of those styles in the size or color they want them. They are an enormous status symbol worldwide in the world of luxury goods. An Hermes bag is a sure way to a woman’s heart!!! In addition to their famous bags, they make beautiful silk scarves, men’s and women’s clothing (some incredible alligator coats and jackets). They make household objects as well. And they have had a new women’s clothing designer for the past year. Their fashion show was at the stables of the police cavalry, in a beautiful old building, with the inner space decorated with lacquer stages, with the models walking around them, in simple wool clothing for the most part, in soft neutral colors. It was a very pretty show, attended mostly by the fashion press, and store buyers. Only twenty major clients were invited, among them Kris (Kardashian) Jenner, whom I sat next to, and enjoyed meeting immensely. She is a lovely, warm, very appealing person, and I thoroughly enjoyed chatting with her during the show.
The Hermes fashion show was very much in keeping with their image, of subtle, downplayed, muted, very simple elegance, which is the essence of their style, and the look of their clients.
In contrast, the Chanel show the next day, at the Grand Palais, a very grand Victorian glass structure, was all about bells and whistles, a huge crowd (at a guess, about 800 people were there. maybe more?) It was like the equivalent of an ultra elaborate wedding cake, with a million moving parts, and an extravaganza in every possible way. The crowd that attends a Chanel ready to wear show is a spectacle in itself. Russian beauties, Chinese starlets, fashionistas and fashion victims, along with store buyers and press—most of them having piled on as much Chanel clothing as they can get on one body, with a multitude of Chanel accessories. There are some wild and crazy outfits at the show. People go to be seen, as well as to see the clothes on the runway, and many of them slide over the frontier from chic or fashionable to outlandish, in crazy hats, huge glasses, and transvestites in women’s Chanel clothing. The decors are always remarkable: everything from a fantasy bistro to a fantasy supermarket and casino in recent years. Today was a huge, simplified version of the old salons where haute couture used to be shown years ago. The glass roof of the Grand Palais above, beige and mirrored walls, endless rows of ballroom chairs, providing aisles for the models to walk through. And the models were all very beautiful. The abundance of clothes shown at a Chanel show is striking in itself. Most ready to wear designers today show between 30 and 40 ‘looks’ on the runway. Chanel is bigger and more and over the top in the number of looks as well, showing close to a hundred looks, 95 in today’s show. And in sharp contrast to the simple, stark, oversimplified look of the clothes at Hermes the day before, or Celine on Sunday, they “laid it on thick” on the runway too. Colors of the clothing were bright in hot pinks, reds, oranges, purples, lavendars, black and white, with each jacket topped with a hat (kind of a modified slightly flattened bowler hat), sweaters, jackets, belts, clutch bags, dozens of necklaces on each girl and many bracelets. There was so much going on, both on and off the runway that it was somewhat dizzying. There were clothes I knew I probably would have liked, but I would need to pare them down a little to really see what’s there and if they suited me. And as crazy as it all seems and must sound, it’s Chanel’s look right now in the land of “A lot/maybe too much”, which all contributes to the spectacle and look of the show. And at the end of the show, as always, out came fabulous, genius, endlessly energetic, and incredibly talented 84 year old Karl Lagerfeld, the designer, to take his bow for yet another spectacular collection, which is a tour de force and totally unique. It is definitely a show worth seeing and a full experience and feast for the senses. And when it’s over, you wend your way through the hundreds of invited participants inside the building, and an army of people waiting outside in some crazy costumes. The whole experience has the feel of a 100 person band playing the music as loudly as they can, and not always playing the same tune!! But it is exciting and alive and fun to see.
The contrast between each show, and each designer, makes it all that much more fun!! I am always in awe of Karl Lagerfeld’s genius, creativity, boundless energy and talent, and I’m always glad I went!!
So that’s the report from Paris. Going to the fashion shows is fun and different every time, whatever the fashion of the moment!! Have a great week!!! (I’m already back at my typewriter!! with the fantasy mood of fashion week already behind me),