Fashion Week in Paris, Part II

Hi Everybody!!!

I told you about the fashion shows I went to last week, at the ready to wear shows in Paris, and I don’t want to overdo it if you’re not big into fashion, but the shows I went to in the past week were just too good, and too interesting not to tell you about them. And once again, I had a ton of fun, going to the shows with my daughters. I went to some of the ‘big guns’ this week, the shows put on by the important designers, although the ones I saw previously were by important designers too.

Last Sunday night, we went to the Givenchy show, which was held at the Lycee Carnot, a public school, and it was held in the school’s glass covered, outdoor courtyard, which made for a stark interesting setting, that looked almost like a movie set. It looked great, but it happened to be a freezing cold night, and before the show even started, sitting on wooden benches arranged around the courtyard, we were all shivering with the cold. It was freeeeeeeeeeeezing…..but as the show began (with loud techno tribal music in the background, with the musicians set up on balconies of the school), within minutes, we all knew that freezing our —– off was well worth it. The clothes were absolutely gorgeous!!!! Chic, elegant, classic, new, modern, sexy. It was one show where I would have been thrilled to have any piece of it, and would have been happy with ALL of it!!! There were most particularly a red coat and a red pantsuit that nearly made my heart stop!!! And I will confess to you that since this is ready to wear, and not crazy haute couture prices, I snuck into the Givenchy store a few days later and ordered a few pieces of what I’d seen in the show. There were some great leather jackets, casual jackets in velvet and satin with hoods. Everything I saw was wearable and beautiful beyond belief!!! It was a great, great show!!!! And we got in the car afterwards and turned the heater up full blast!!! And then went out to dinner at one of my favorite hang outs, an informal very trendy restaurant on the Avenue Montaigne called L’Avenue. (The owner has a very friendly bull mastiff, who is usually sleeping soundly, sprawled out in the middle of the room, as people walk around him).

The next day we went to the St. Laurent show, which was in one of my favorite Parisian locations: The Grand Palais. It is a l9th century multi-domed all glass structure that is just a beautiful sight all on its own. It is used for exhibitions, art fairs, fashion shows, the antique fair and it is just a beautiful, elegant space. It was formally set up with good seating, and the St. Laurent show was totally in keeping with the style of the late Yves St. Laurent, with lots of black, shocking pink, accents of brilliant yellow, fabulous huge hats, and elegant clothes. It was a beautiful show, with beautiful clothes. Although once again, we all felt like we’d been put in a meat locker for the event, and were absolutely freezing. I saw a man walk by wearing a wool ski hat and i wanted to grab it and put it on. I don’t know how he got so smart, but I wish I had worn one myself. We all left, satisfied with the show, and impressed by what we’d seen. And the next day, we found out why the hall had been so freezing, it was being prepared for what we would see there the next day…..

The next morning, bright and early, we sat in the sunlight streaming through the glass domes of the Grand Palais, and it looked like elves had been working all night to transform it from the set up for St. Laurent the night before. There was elaborate seating, everything was white, and there was a canvas structure hiding the central stage. The Chanel show, whether for ready to wear or haute couture is always impeccably set up, and runs with almost military precision. And it is always an exciting show. And we weren’t disappointed that day. Chanel managed to provide the show stopper to end all show stoppers on the stage. The curtains came up, on theatrical pulleys, and lo and behold in front of us sat an iceberg on the stage. An iceberg!!! A real one!!! With peaks and valleys, and a couple of smaller ones around it for good measure. It was breathtaking glistening in the sunlight. And I discovered later that it had been flown in from Sweden, and was flown back to Sweden the next day. It sat on a dark blue floor, probably of plastic, that looked like the ocean, and there was a lip around the stage, so that they had covered the blue plastic floor with a few inches of water, and as the music began, the models strutted out (men and women), splashing through the water in winter wear, since these shows showcased clothes for the next winter season. The models were wearing fur boots and leggings, winter clothes, and the high heeled shoes were covered with little plastic booties, most of which fell off and littered the stage, as the models piloted their way around the discarded plastic boots. It was one of the most impressive shows I’ve ever seen, and I was mesmerized by the iceberg sitting only a few feet away from us on the stage. It was so astounding that I could hardly concentrate on the clothes. And apparently the hall had been kept particularly cold to protect the iceberg (which was why it had been so freezing cold the night before at the St. Laurent show in the same venue, getting ready for the arrival of the iceberg the next day, or late that night). Everyone walked out talking about the iceberg as much as they did the collection.

There were other shows during this magical ten days of course that I didn’t see. Chloe, Louis Vuitton, and a host of others that I either didn’t have time to see or didn’t have tickets for, but I certainly enjoyed the ones I did see, and was thrilled to share them with one or several of my daughters.

The last show of Fashion Week is always Miu Miu, designed by Miuccia Prada. It is held in a private home in the elegant residential district of the 16th arrondissement, on the wide Avenue Foch bordered with trees, a block or two from the Arc de Triomphe, in sight of the Eiffel Tower. Just how Parisian can you get!!! At the Miu Miu show, which I’ve been to before, waiters greet you at the door, offering silver trays of chocolates and champagne, as people wander into the elegant house where the show is held. And there is a cocktail party atmosphere for about an hour before the show begins, as people mill around, drinking champagne and talking animatedly about what they’ve seen and done all week. There are parties every night, mostly hosted by designers, people go out to restaurants and stay up late in Paris, after running from one show to another all day. Buyers have to go to showrooms to place orders, and everyone’s schedule is jammed. It is a very, very hectic week for everyone, and I noticed as I looked around how tired everyone seemed. It had been a long ten days, particularly for those who had been to the shows in London and Milan before Paris. Everyone was ready to go home, and I thought that if I had to wear another pair of high heels to another show I would have happily thrown them out the window. I was tired too!!! And then we all took our places and the last show began. The collection was beautiful as pretty young models strutted down the runway and through the house, down the elegant staircase, in very, very short gem colored clothes. it was a cheerful, upbeat ending to a great week. And after the show, everyone streamed out onto the Avenue Foch, looking for their rides, saying goodbye to people, happy to be heading home at last. My daughters and I had a quiet dinner that night, and spent the next day together and then they flew off to their respective cities too, and to work. For me, it was a wonderful opportunity to spend 10 days with three of my daughters as they flew in and out of the house, going to appointments and shows. One of them had to organize and run a photo shoot while she was there, and another modeled for a magazine. But the best part for us was being together. And when the next ready to wear fashion week happens in Paris, I’ll be there, tagging along after them, in high heels, and drinking it all in, enjoying my kids, and loving every minute of seeing all those beautiful shows. It was a very, very fun week for me!!! love, danielle

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3 Comments so far
  1. Holly P March 16, 2010 6:25 am

    I’m not really a huge fan of fashion, but WOW…the way you describe it makes me want to go. It sounds like you had an absolute blast with your daughters. I’m happy you were able to spend some time with them!

  2. Vani March 18, 2010 5:52 am

    I enjoy reading your blogs as much as your books. It was fun to read a first hand account of the fashion shows. I try to read about fashion trends whenever possible and have wondered what is it like to be at these shows. My hubby enjoys and takes interest in going out shopping with me for clothes:-) Thanks for sharing Ms. Danielle.

  3. kimmi March 25, 2010 7:20 pm

    Sounded like a very interesting and fun time!! Glad you got to spend it with your daughters!! This post is also reminding me I have absolutely … absolutely nothing red in my wardrobe. And Derby is coming up and hat hunting is in high gear here. : )