Archive for the ‘Fashion Week’ Category

3/2/20, Strange Times

Posted on March 2, 2020

 

 

Hi Everyone,

 

I hope you’re having a healthy, happy week, and that all is well in your world. In Our World, we seem to be facing something of a (very) serious health crisis at the moment. It’s a very unusual occurrence.

 

The blog I am writing to you today is very different than the one that I was planning to write. It was recently Fashion Week in New York, followed by Fashion Week in London, then Milan, ending with the grand finale: Fashion Week in Paris. Each city is important in the world of fashion, each of the cities has its own flavor, mood, and tempo, and in each of the four cities, the designers of that country show their collections, for the following season. It happens twice a year, in September into October, and then February into March, to show their spring/summer and fall/ winter clothes. Each designer puts on a fashion show, which is a major event and costs a fortune. Some put on presentations, with models walking around showrooms to show how the clothes are worn. The shows are attended by magazine and newspaper editors, hundreds of international press, stylists, store buyers to place their orders for the following season, and a large number of movie stars, celebrities and VIPS. It’s a grueling month each time for the people who put on the shows, and an exciting time for everyone who attends them. It never seems to get old. The shows are by invitation only, are in spectacular locations, and those shows and all the razzle dazzle surrounding them are a highlight of the fashion world twice a year. I usually attend the fall/winter shows, and skip the spring/summer ones, because my youngest daughter’s birthday falls during those shows, and I spend that time with her. But I check the shows out on line, to see what fashions are coming. And during the various fashion weeks, the design houses give lots of parties to celebrate the event.

 

Normally, I would be writing to you about the shows I attended, telling you about the stage setting, the clothes, the models and the vast group of exotic and important spectators, the followers and creators of fashion. But Fate threw a heavy monkey wrench into the fashion world, and the entire world, in the last few weeks. As I’m sure most of you have read, a virus called the Corona Virus has begun to spread worldwide. Allegedly, it appeared noticeably only weeks ago in an industrial area of China, where many, many factories exist, producing a wide variety of products, including those involving fashion, as well as high tech products, and many, many things. Perhaps due to the density of the population in the area, the greatest number of people stricken by the virus is in China, with 89,000 people affected, and just under 3,000 deaths. All forms of flu are potentially very dangerous, and 80,000 Americans die of the flu each year. (My own mother died of the flu, and was in relatively healthy energetic shape when she got sick.) It would appear that most of the people who have died of the Corona Virus had pre-existing conditions which made them more vulnerable. The elderly are cited as more at risk, and I’ve heard that men are more vulnerable to it, and I have no idea if that is true. Rumors about the virus are rampant, and many countries around the world now have anywhere from a handful of cases, to a few hundred, to several thousand. How did people get it? How did it get so out of hand, particularly in Asia? How is it transmitted, no one is sure, which lends to the rumors and a certain degree of panic. There is a test for it, in limited supply, which even doctors are finding it hard to obtain. And some people get it so mildly that they don’t even know they have it, and think they have the common cold. The danger there is that if they don’t suspect they have the virus, they continue circulating in the cities where they live, or travel, infecting others without realizing they are. And the bad news is that the incubation period is 2 weeks, so that a healthy person wouldn’t know they are incubating it, and it is highly contagious during that asymptomatic time of incubation.

 

The persistence of it, as cases continue to crop up in every country around the world, is unnerving. Public reaction to it ranges from denial of its seriousness, to outright panic. Once sick, in some places, people have been quarantined, in other countries people are simply asked to confine themselves. But there are no consistent rules about what to do with those who are sick. A week ago, Italy, which had very few cases, less than twenty, experienced an explosion of the number of Corona Virus victims, all or most stemming from an industrial factory town two hours from Milan, where most of the factories are which produce fashion related items. It was similar, on a smaller scale, to what had occurred weeks before in China. And it was also a factory town visited by people of many nationalities, flying in to do business there. It happened at the time of Milan Fashion Week, and ultimately many of the people who visited those factories participated in Milan Fashion Week, and then went to Paris to participate in fashion week there. And in that case, during the silent incubation period. So no one knows yet how many people at Paris Fashion Week will ultimately be impacted and infected as a result of the outbreak in Milan. Cases have continued to increase in Italy, and the number has grown in France. And when all the people of many nationalities go home again, to their own countries, the disease may spread exponentially again.

 

As a result, parties in Paris were cancelled and only one show. But people cancelled out of many events, and tried to stave off germs with hand sanitizers and anti-bacterial drenched ‘towelettes’.Meanwhile the factories in Italy, and in China, and elsewhere around the world, have been closed until the epidemic is under control. In some places, people have been quarantined, and in others not, while we wait to see where this goes. What we don’t know about it is scarier than what we do. And not being a high risk taker, I cancelled out of the shows I wanted to see, and the atmosphere surrounding Paris Fashion Week has been tense. And personally, I would rather miss out on the shows and the fun, than to risk contagion and contamination from people who don’t know they are incubating the Corona Virus, and might be sitting next to me at a show. It just isn’t worth the risk. I’ve seen lots of fashion shows, and will see more again at a safer time. Precautions people are taking cover a wide range from ‘pooh poohing’ the risks, and others who simply decided not to take a chance, packed up and went home.

 

As an extreme comparison, I am reminded of the infamous Spanish Flu, which happened between 1917 and 1919. The statistics on The Spanish Flu are staggering. It was 100 years ago, when medications were less sophisticated and available than they are today. It struck right at the end of World War I, figures on it vary, but it is thought that 500 million people worldwide were infected with it, and 50 to 100 million people died, more than twice the number of people who were killed in the war. It is inconceivable that we could be struck to that degree today. But the rapid wide spread of this virus has caught the world’s attention, as we pause to see what will come next. Schools across the country are talking about closing, for several months. Businesses are encouraging people to work from home, to avoid contagion. And we are waiting for further guidelines and information, hoping that this will not grow to more major proportions than it is now. Some people say it will be over in April. But we really don’t know.

 

Stay safe, be careful. It is something to take very seriously. Follow whatever directions we are given by reliable sources. And I hope and pray that the epidemic will be rapidly brought under control. Take care, and have a peaceful, healthy week,

 

 

love, Danielle

1/27/20, Writing and vogue.com

Posted on January 27, 2020

 

Hi Everyone,

I am busy writing right now, in the meantime please check out this nice piece on vogue.com:

https://www.vogue.com/vogueworld/article/danielle-steel-at-couture-week-paris-history

 

Have a great week! love, Danielle

10/7/19, “A Little Crazy”

Posted on October 7, 2019

 

 

Hi Everyone,

 

I hope you had a good week—-no bumps and all smooth sailing, with some fun thrown in for good measure. I worked hard this week, and worked straight through two nights in a row….so I’ve been busy (on new books!!).

 

Two things caught my attention this week, in a lighter vein, which make me wonder if the constant stresses we all deal with have made us hungry for almost anything to distract us. It’s hard not to take life too seriously with the pressures we are under, the uncertainties in the world—-we definitely need more humor in our everyday lives, and some people go to great lengths to find distraction and achieve it.

 

A friend told me this week that their new passion is “Escape Rooms”—–a while back I told you about “break rooms”, where people pay a small amount to smash a room full of old TV sets, dishes, and assorted breakables to get out their hostilities (better that than a mass shooting). Now apparently “Escape Rooms” are the new fad. Apparently, there is a theme, either horror or murder. There’s a ‘story line’—-someone is out to get you. You can go through the Escape room with up to four people, you get locked in, in the dark, and then have to escape a ‘murderer after you with an axe’, or a ghoul of some kind. You have an hour to “escape”, and you spend an hour scared out of your wits, running away from whoever is out to get you. It sounds crazy, but the people who do it love it and rave about it. I think I would have nightmares for a month, and trying to get out of a locked, dark space, with someone chasing after me would totally terrify me. Imagine doing that for fun, and paying for it. But maybe it’s better than crying over your taxes, moaning over your bills, fighting with your boyfriend or worrying about your kids. Trying to escape a man with an axe would definitely be a distraction!!! So that’s the latest fad. I am DEFINITELY not brave enough to do that. It sounds like kind of an abbreviated more terrifying version of the murder mystery weekends people were doing for a while, trying to figure out who the murderer is. Apparently “Escape Rooms’ are great stress relievers, although I think it would stress me more than real life!!!

 

The other story that caught my attention this week is another modern day phenomenon, and I’m not sure whether to be shocked or amused by it. I’ve often told you about the Paris fashion shows, which people in the fashion world in Paris, Milan, London, and New York, take VERY seriously. Fashion is big business today, and there is a lot of glamour, excitement and sophistication associated with it, and people beg to go to the fashion shows during fashion week. All of the shows are by invitation and the invitations are extremely hard to come by. And the Chanel ready to wear show in Paris is about as big and glamourous as it gets, as I’ve described to you before.

 

Well, this week, during the Chanel show, a young 28 year old comedian who considers herself a “Professional Crasher” somehow got into the building (the Grand Palais) where the fashion show takes place, she wore an old Chanel suit of her mother’s, a hat and platform shoes, and hopped onto the runway, and joined the parade of models walking down the runway. She was immediately observed, stunned the crowd, and marched right along like one of the models, until one of the models stopped her (the security men didn’t know what to do and were afraid to disrupt the show). Gigi Hadid, a famous model, blocked the crasher, I think 3 other models joined in, and they hustled her backstage and got her off the runway. The fact that she pulled it off at all is amazing, and I don’t know what the consequences were. (You can see the event on YouTube, Paris Crasher crashes Chanel fashion show, or something to that effect). Apparently she was vastly amused at the stunt, has crashed other events, and someone else crashed another show in Paris last week. Apparently the Chanel crasher decided that we all take fashion too seriously so she added some levity to it. It certainly must have been disruptive, and part of me is shocked—-but maybe this is how people are responding now to frightening world news, mass attacks, and all the things that frighten and worry us in today’s world, from climate change to how to protect our children in an increasingly dangerous world. Maybe that opens the door to people doing some seriously crazy stuff just for amusement’s sake, to take our minds, and theirs, off the serious stuff. No one was injured, she wasn’t protesting anything, she had no message to share, she just wanted to get on the runway of the Chanel show and to see if she could do it—-and she did.

 

I was editing one of my upcoming books this weekend, and came across something I wrote in the book: “No dream is too big if you believe in it. You can do anything you want if you try hard enough.” They seem like wise words—I’m usually wiser in my books than I am in real life. But it’s something to think about. And in the same book, “you have to be a little crazy in life”. There seems to be a lot of that around these days!!!

 

Have a great week—–not too crazy, but safe, happy, productive, and fun!!!

 

love, Danielle

 

 

3/11/19, Gentle Winter, Sweet Farewell

Posted on March 11, 2019

 

 

Hi Everyone,

 

I hope that all is well with you. I’ve been crazy busy, with re-writes, outlines, working on new books for you!! I thoroughly enjoyed a two week visit from my 3 daughters who work in fashion, and it was sheer heaven having them under my roof for two weeks, overlapping each other, while they worked on fashion week in Paris. They worked hard and so did I, and I had a two day photo shoot for the photographs on the back of my books. We do a new photo for each book, and put a lot of thought into it. The shoot itself was a lot of work, with a wonderful French photographer (who does all my book cover photos), her big team, my hairdresser and makeup artist, my two assistants to keep everyone fed and organized, and one of my daughters helped me pick what to wear, and helped on the set of the shoot. We all had fun, even though it’s exhausting getting it all right.

 

And I had a VERY special experience last week, which moved me deeply. As many/most of you know, I go to all the Chanel fashion shows, both ready to wear and Haute Couture. It is a joy to see the talent of Karl Lagerfeld, the designer for Chanel, on glorious display with a parade of gorgeous models walking down the runway in his fabulous creations. And the sets designed for each show are amazing. (I’ve told you about the rocket ship, which appeared to lift off after one show, the iceberg that was flown in from Sweden for another show, and flown back to its natural habitat after the show, beach scenes, and tropical gardens, a ‘Supermarket” which was great fun, an old style Paris cafe. )It is always exciting and fun to see what the setting will be at the newest show.

 

As I mentioned to you, Karl Lagerfeld passed away recently, less than two weeks ago, at 85, after a brief illness, and he worked to the very end. He was, without question, a genius, he designed all the Chanel collections every year, also designed for Fendi, and for his own label, and was a professional photographer. He was like a volcano or an avalanche of talent, spilling over, with wonderful ideas, a never ending flow of inspiration, and a man of huge energy and unlimited creativity. I admired him so much, and everyone’s reaction to his passing, whether they knew him or not, was one of great sadness. He is a tremendous loss to the world of fashion, and the world.

 

Although he couldn’t have suspected it when he designed his last show, that he would no longer be among us, when it was shown on the runway—-the clothes were particularly beautiful, and almost ‘serious’, with a lot of black and white, beautiful tweeds and checks, some beiges, a great fuchsia outfit, and the end of the show was a series of beautiful white outfits, which somehow reminded me of doves flying into the sky, or angels. And the setting for the show (of clothes for winter 2019) was equally perfect: a ski village in the Alps, an exquisite snow scene, with cozy wooden ‘chalets’ lining the runway, with smoke curling from the chimneys, and snow EVERYWHERE, and photographs of the mountains under a blue sky. Everywhere one walked, when one arrived for the show was covered with ‘snow’, it looked and felt like snow, except that it wasn’t wet, and was some sort of finely cut artificial substance, which looked exactly like snow all around us, on the ground, on the wooden houses, in the trees. It felt like snow when you walked on it and somehow seemed like the perfect scene for Karl Lagerfeld’s last show. The winter of his life, his final presentation to his admirers and adoring fans and clients, deep in pure white snow, with the mountains around us, and a bright blue sunny winter sky. It was absolutely gorgeous, and so were the clothes. And as I said, the clothes were serious, beautiful, a fantastic final gift and memory from Karl.

 

With deep respect from all of those who were lucky enough to be invited, the show began with a long moment of silence. And after that, over the loud speaker came a brief conversation with Karl during an interview. It was touching to hear him speak, his voice so clear and decisive, so distinctive, and then the show began with serious music, and all of us riveted to hear his voice, and see the show, and it was all so beautiful on a crisp winter morning, with artificial snow beneath our feet and all around us which seemed totally real. At the end of the show, the models came back down the runway, as they always do, but without Karl this time. I was at the last Haute Couture show only a month ago, which was beautiful too, and it was the first time Karl didn’t appear to take a bow, which shocked and saddened us all, and now only a month later, he is gone. It seemed unimaginable. People stood to applaud the show, the memory of Karl, and the collection. It got a standing ovation, as the models cried as they walked down the runway, and so did most people in the audience (including Naomi Campbell, and Claudia Schiffer, the famous models), and so did I. It was so beautiful and so incredibly moving. We all continued applauding for a long time, even after the models had gone backstage. We stood there in the snow, each of us knowing that we would never forget that moment, or the show, or the snow everywhere, as we stood in front of the little chalets, under a blue sky, remembering a man who will never, ever be forgotten, and has left a legacy that is beyond understanding, with such enormous genius and talent. It was a perfect send off in the beautiful set, with his beautiful clothes on the runway, for his last collection that he designed. And then slowly, finally, we left the snowy white winterland which is where we said our last goodbye to him, each of us taking our memories with us. I will never forget that show, or the times I met him. None of us will ever forget the final goodbye to him in the snow, and many people were still crying as they left, and so was I. It was incredibly touching, so gentle, and so right on that sunny winter day in the snow….we bid our last farewell to Karl, and will treasure the memories he left us. May he sleep in peace forever, after all the joy he gave us…..it was a sweet farewell to an amazing man. I will remember it forever.

 

 

Have a great week, beloved friends, love, Danielle

 

 

ps. I just did a Podcast interview with Barnes and Noble—–here’s the link in case you’d like to listen to it.

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/review/danielle-steel-podcast

love, Danielle

3/4/19, Rainy Sunday

Posted on March 4, 2019

 

Hi everyone, I hope it was a good week for you!!!

 

I’ve been running in ten directions all week, occasionally riding the wave of fashion week!! I went to two fashion shows this week. Everyone in the fashion world is talking with great regret about the passing of Karl Lagerfeld, the legendary designer of Chanel (please see last week’s blog!).

 

I went to two fashion shows in the last week, each of them VERY different from the other. One was for a brand called Altuzarra, which was very fun and kicky and young, with soft feminine clothes, lots of printed chiffons, with leather jackets, and some pretty coats. It has a jazzy, sexy flavor to it. And the other was at the other extreme, very, very very chic, elegant beautifully designed clothes by Hermes. Altuzarra was more playful, Hermes deals with a different customer, and the clothes were just beautiful, a lot of coats, and leathers since Hermes is primarily a leather craftsman, and there were gorgeous suedes and leathers in the show, in natural earth tones. It was very elegant. And both were in interesting locations. Altuzarra was at the Potoki  Hotel , an absolutely beautiful structure, (previously a home), I kept staring at the moldings, high ceilings, and all the details of what was once a spectacular home.  And the Hermes show was at the horse guards’ stables, and the show was very dramatically lit and impeccably organized. And the models were unusually beautiful!!!

 

I had fun at both shows. And the Altuzarra show was special for me, since one of my daughters organized it. Paris had beautiful spring weather this week. I’m sure we’ll get another blast of winter before it’s all over. Spring can’t be over this early, although I’d love that. I’ve been enjoying time with my daughters, although they’re very busy, working.

 

You must think that going to fashion shows is all I do—-which isn’t the case, I still have to work, a million hours a day (and night), working on the books. But I must admit, it’s fun fantasizing about the pretty clothes, and some really knock out looks. Watching the video of a fashion show is great distraction when I finish some part of a book and finish my days at 4am.

 

The rest of the time, I’ve been working. So, see you next week when I have lots more to report on.

 

much love, Danielle

 

1/28/19, No Karl

Posted on January 28, 2019

 

Hi Everyone,

 

I hope that all is well with you, and you’re chugging along, and life is happy. As I write this, it has been snowing for two days, not the gorgeous “Winter wonderland” kind of snow you see on Christmas cards, just cold and wet and blowy, pretty for a minute as the snowflakes fly through the air, and then it turns into a mess on the ground, while the wind whips around you, and no matter how you hold your umbrella, you get wet anyway. Ugh. The temperatures are freezing, and people are getting snowed in all around the country. From Boston to the South, friends I’ve called have lost phone service and are in the midst of heavy storms. This is about the time of year when I get fed up with winter, and tired of being cold, and start wishing for Spring, which is still a long way off, in any place I live. So as usual, I’m busy working/writing.

 

I did emerge from my winter cave briefly last week to attend the Chanel haute couture show—-the fashion show of clothes that are all made by hand and are a real art form. The stage setting for the show looked like an Italian garden, in contrast to the snowy blustery weather outside. The show was beautiful as always, and the clothes exquisitely made, worn by gorgeous models. All went as usual, in the glamourous atmosphere of an haute couture show (and Chanel’s are always so gorgeous!!!)—-until the very end, where traditionally, after the final model had come out in the wedding gown (we all wait to see what spectacular bridal gown the designer has come up with. And they sell for a fortune)—-in this case, Karl Lagerfeld is the designer of Chanel and has been for several decades, and he is truly a genius of the fashion world, and deservedly a legend. His hair is snow white, he wears it tied back in a neat ponytail with a black ribbon, high collars, often tail coats, with a dignified, elegant style, and he walks around the runway, with the bride on his arm at the end of the show, to thunderous applause from the audience. This time, the bride did her turn around the runway, solo, as always, after all the other models had strutted past. The bride in the show, the very last one, has the runway to herself, and when she finishes the entire circle, Karl Lagerfeld, the designer comes out, takes a bow, and does one more walk around with the bride on his arm. Wearing an unusual and somewhat startling bridal ensemble (of a rhinestone covered bathing suit, with matching rhinestone covered bonnet (in the shape of a bathing cap), with a long veil trailing behind her, the bride completed her tour around the runway, and the audience waited for the stage door to backstage to open and Mr. Lagerfeld to come out….nothing…..We waited, and no one appeared. In recent years, he has appeared to be more energetic on some years than others, even to the point of looking frail once or twice, although he still works at a furious and productive pace, but he is well into his 80’s, and still works harder than most people half his age. Somehow, one assumes that he is eternal, and hopes that he will be with us forever, working at full steam. After a few moments of surprise, as everyone waited to see him at the end of the Chanel show (which was gorgeous as usual!!!), an announcement came over the sound system that Mr. Lagerfeld was very tired today, and sent us all his greetings and would not be appearing. There was a long, long moment of shocked silence. No one spoke, and everyone feared he might be more than ‘tired’, since it was the first time in his entire history that he did not appear after the show to take a bow. there was total silence in the enormous Grand Palais, as everyone digested the information, glanced at each other with worried looks (thousands of us), and left the hall in total silence, out of respect, admiration, love and fear for him. It was a shocking dose of reality that one day time affects us all, and claims us, that nothing goes on forever, even remarkable talent. We all hope that he is only tired, and will bounce back, and that we will see him again at the end of another show. It left me, and I think all of us, with a great sense of sadness, after a truly beautiful show, which was yet another tribute to his talent. It sobered me and saddened me for the rest of the day. It was a shocking reminder that we are all mortal, and even people with huge talent are vulnerable, especially at a great age. We all want him to go on forever. He is a unique talent in fashion, and an icon, and we all wish him well. His absence outweighed the excitement of the show, and thousands of us left the Grand Palais in total silence, no one said a single world. We just left, and stood outside in the snow, looking lost. His absence was sorely felt by all.

 

Have a great week, stay warm, wherever you are.

 

much love, Danielle

 

1/21/19, Mixed Monday

Posted on January 21, 2019

 

Hi Everyone,

 

I hope all is well with you. Things have been madly hectic for me, traveling, writing, the ‘business’ of writing as well as the fun part. (I never think the business part is as much fun as writing a story). I finished a book, wrote a new outline for a future book, and am THRILLED to say that my newest hardcover is going to be #1 on the New York Times combined eBook and hardcover list. No matter how often that happens, it is ALWAYS a thrill every time!!! Thank YOU for making that happen!! I am always grateful that you are such dedicated fans. The current book is about a combined team of French and American trauma doctors who work together for a month in Paris and a month in San Francisco, on emergency events in both cities. It’s a very exciting book!!!

 

Today we are honoring Martin Luther King, an extraordinary man at an extraordinary time in American history. It seems like a long time ago, but it’s surprisingly recent that the country was struggling with desegregation and so many important issues. He was truly a hero of our recent history.

 

The Protestors/Rioters were back at it in Paris on Saturday. Their numbers were diminishing, but they’re still out there, protesting—-for the TENTH week!!! It has wrought havoc with the French economy to have stores (and restaurants) closed every Saturday for almost three months. And Parisians are very tired of the destruction to the city, which will cost billions to repair. The wanton destruction of property, whatever the cause, still seems wrong to me.

 

And like a bad joke, they had just begun to dissipate on Saturday, while I was working on the outline, when a SECOND group of protestors appeared, right under my windows, for a different cause with slogans and bullhorns and songs. In desperation I put on the earphones I use to watch movies on the airplane when I travel—-I put them on to drown out the noise, so I could finish my outline, and I probably looked pretty silly typing away!!!.

 

This is Haute Couture fashion week in Paris this week, so there will be fashion shows for several days—-and I heard whispers of a snowstorm coming, so it will be a busy, possibly messy week!!!

 

It’s incredible to think that the holidays are only three weeks behind us, it feels like they were in another century. I’m due for another visit with some of my kids soon, so I’m looking forward to that.

 

I also recently heard that today’s date is called Blue Monday in England, supposedly the most depressed/depressing day of the year. So I hope that is not true for you today. No more Blue Mondays!!! Spring will show up eventually. Although we could all be turning blue from how cold it is everywhere. Stay warm, keep busy, have fun, and I hope you love my new book, Turning Point.

 

much love, Danielle

 

3/12/18, Happy Paris

Posted on March 12, 2018

 

Hi Everyone,
 

I hope that all is well with you. Paris has had a history-making Arctic cold front from Siberia for the past couple of weeks—New York has been hit with snow, the middle of the country is still freezing cold, so except for those of you in Florida or Hawaii, I hope you’re staying warm!! I was chuckling to myself this morning thinking of the song, “I love Paris in the Springtime”….yeah, right, whatever….I mean, Siberia—-seriously?? Yes.
 

Other than the weather, pouring rain and freezing cold, Paris has been happy and fun. As I told you last week, I loved going to my daughter’s fashion show, and I wound up Paris fashion week with the Chanel show. Chanel is famous for their incredible, outstanding decor for all their fashion shows. I think the prize-winner for me was the very real looking rocket ship a year or two ago. It sat center stage, and looked like a movie set. The models swirled around it in space age inspired clothes. And to give it some life, there was vapor coming out from under the bottom of the space ship, and I figured that was as real as it was going to get. Not at all. At the end of the show, more vapor came out, rocket ship noises, and much to the entire crowd’s amazement, the rocket ship lifted off the ground, or appeared to, and headed toward the roof of the beautiful glass building, the Grand Palais, where the shows are held, and just as it reached the very top of the building, and you thought, holy COW!! It’s going to break right through the roof, very clever mechanical tricks came into play, where it sort of pleated into itself, so it LOOKED like it was taking off through the roof, but it really wasn’t. That was a total WOW!!! My second favorite was the time they flew in a REAL ‘small’ iceberg from Sweden. Small in relation to other big ones, but it nearly filled the huge building, so not so small. It was flown in, and back to Sweden after the show, and the temperatures in the building had to be kept freezing for the safety of the iceberg. I was frozen, but so fascinated by sitting only a few feet from a real iceberg that I didn’t care. The fashion show went on around it, as the models walked around the iceberg. They were sloshing through a small amount of water by the end of the show. The sets are always so fabulous at Chanel that sometimes it’s hard to concentrate on the clothes (once, a full sized replica of a Supermarket, an end of the world desolate expanse of black sand, a moonscape, lush gardens.) All of the stage sets for Chanel are designed by Peter Marino, he is a brilliant talent, and always appears at the shows himself entirely dressed in black leather.
 

The clothes for the show last week were for fall and winter, so the stage set was a winter forest. Clever photographic curtains surrounding the whole area showed tall trees that looked very real, and real trees were set up on the area the models walked through, dead leaves and moss were on the ground, and earth, and the whole place had an autumnal earthy smell. It was a perfect fall/winter scene, and the clothes were very pretty. It is a huge show with many models, probably over 100 looks, and beautiful clothes. It was a terrific show!!!
 

For the rest of the week, I puttered around my house, watched a ceiling light fixture get set up, (black glass), I did a little shopping, saw my daughter off (always sorry to see her go), worked, read, watched my favorite TV series (“Call the Midwife”), and had lunch with a friend, and had fun talking to him, and then settled down to writing again. End of Fashion Week, and back to work. For those who work at ‘fashion week’, they see the end of it with a huge sigh of relief. It begins in New York, goes on to London and Milan, and ends in Paris—and is really a 4 week marathon for anyone involved in ready to wear fashion. I get to see it at close range with my daughters, and love it.
 

So it’s back to work for me. Have a fantastic week, and don’t forget to have some fun. We all need a break at times, to have a good laugh, see a friend, just take a little time off, to break the rhythm of work. I tend to work too much, too long, and too hard, but I love it—-and I have to remind myself to take a break and have some fun. So you too, and have some fun! (I have a sign in my office that says “Do what makes you happy!” Good advice!!) Spring will be back one day….I can’t wait!!

 

much love, Danielle

3/5/18, Report from Siberia

Posted on March 5, 2018

 

Hi Everyone,
 

I hope you’re having an interesting fun week so far. I am experiencing something new to me: a Siberian winter. Paris has been experiencing a record breaking cold front, coming straight from Russia, literally from Siberia, and I am now understanding the descriptions I’ve read in books like War and Peace, and memoirs by people sent to prison in Siberia. It is bone chillingly cold in Paris, and has snowed several times, which is beautiful, but the weather is unbelievably cold!!!! So I’ve been puttering around my house catching up on things to do, writing, and going out too, and wearing many layers when I do.
 

I flew into Paris to meet up with another of my daughters, who works in fashion, to see her work on the Altuzarra fashion show, which she styles every season (she puts the looks together that are worn by models on the runway, to show the fashions for next winter, and after all the shows during fashion week, store buyers place their orders for their stores. So the goal is to make the clothes look as appealing as possible, as chic and as fun, on the runway.) Since I’ve been attending fashion shows myself since I was a very young girl, and took my daughters to see the fashion shows in Paris, when they were children, we have a fascination with fashion—and I can compare how the audience, models, styles and fashion itself have changed since my childhood until now. It’s more casual now than it used to be, since people don’t dress as formally. These are ready to wear clothes that you will eventually be able to buy in stores all over the US (and Europe). Previously, the most elegant women went to the Haute Couture shows, they were a serious bunch of very well dressed (somewhat intimidating) women, and that generation of fashion clients are gone now. Presidents’ wives, royalty and famous movie stars went to those shows, more to be seen than to buy clothes. Today, Haute Couture is a dying art, with few customers left for a beautiful but almost extinct art form now—-and the real ‘happening’ is at the ready to wear shows twice a year in Paris, New York, London and Milan at “Fashion Week”. These are the shows that movie stars and celebrities and fashion followers go to now, along with magazine editors, and store buyers. Each fashion show is AN EVENT, and there is as much to watch in the audience as on the runway.
 

The clothes at the show I saw today were beautiful and wearable, at department store prices, so not cheap, but real people can actually afford them, unlike Haute Couture which sells for six figure amounts and only the wealthiest women in the world can afford them. Ready to Wear is accessible, in wearable styles at affordable prices. The models, like all models now, are insanely, unhealthily frighteningly thin, and no one except people who have starved since their early teens can wear them in the sizes shown on the runway. The models are beautiful but just too thin, and women compare themselves to them, and come out muttering about how fat they are. Many or most of the models are in their late teens, although they look very grown up and sophisticated in the clothes, hairdos and make up.
 

The clothes were beautiful, and my daughter Vanessa did a beautiful job styling them, putting the looks together, dresses and coats and pants, and purses and shoes that you want to own and wear when you see them. She did a great job, and I was VERY proud of her, and thrilled to be at the show. Famous fashion magazine editors were there, movie stars, celebs, and people one recognizes. Part of the appeal of these ready to wear shows is where they hold them—-this one was at a trendy restaurant, that has been popular for decades in Montparnasse, the once “arty” Bohemian part of Paris (Toulouse Lautrec lived and painted in that part of Paris, and many famous artists). The restaurant was big, seating was set up for hundreds of people, (the fashion shows are by invitation only and it’s an elite crowd of Fashion VIPs) and the models threaded their way among us, wearing the clothes, while music played. Fashion Shows are An Event now, a place to see and be seen—-and I have to admit, I have fun staring at the audience before and after the show as much as the clothes. You see EVERYTHING there, wild hair does, crazy clothes, weird shoes, vintage clothes, current styles, I am always fascinated by the shoes, which look like works of art (but not too comfortable). The people who go to the shows want to attract attention, be noticed, and especially get photographed by the hundreds of international press attending. The theme of the audience is often “the crazier the better”, although some are truly stylish. The wild trendy ones stand out, and are fun to watch. My children scold me for staring, but who can resist that??? So I saw everything in the audience today, glittery, shimmery metallic skirts, wild sneakers, hugely high platform shoes, weird hats, out of control trendy hair does, along with some truly fashionable men and women. As many men go to these shows as women. Everyone has their own reason for going, business, amusement, or a love of fashion.
 

It was a fun day for me, seeing my daughter’s work, and the clothes she consulted on with the talented designer. It was a beautiful show, and I really had fun. Fashion can be a wonderful respite from the hard things that happen in the world and bring us down. Fashion is an instant upper, that makes one happy, and makes one laugh or smile or dream, or wish one owned what’s being shown on the runway. There was a short black jacket with a white knit collar that I had my eye on, and I may just try to snag it when the collection becomes available in stores next fall. I love sharing my fashion hobby with you. It’s a much happier past time than some of the serious things that go on around us in our world. So stay tuned for Paris fashion, and an important group of observers of the fashion shows now are the bloggers, who come from all over the world to report what they see, on their blogs. I had a blast, and was soooo proud of my daughter!!! We went to lunch afterwards and did some shopping ourselves!!
 

Have a great week!!! And I hope there will be some fun things happening this week for you!!

 

love, Danielle

1/29/18, Round Two: Chanel

Posted on January 29, 2018

Hi Everyone,

I hope you’re all doing well, and things are rolling along smoothly for you.

I’ve been busy, with family, house guests, work, editing, and just general busyness, my children staying with me, one of them while she was working on a fashion show in Paris (see last week’s blog). The day after the show she worked on, I saw the Chanel Haute Couture show, which is always a beautiful event. The decor of Chanel’s fashion shows, both Ready to Wear and Haute Couture, is always spectacular. My absolute favorite being a rocket ship on stage, which actually lifted off, or appeared to at the end of the show. It was amazing. This season’s theme was less astonishing, and a lovely French garden had been set up as the background for the spring/summer fashion show. The colors were pastel, a lot of pink, with a lot of sparkle added, with metallic threads and tiny stones. Boots were made in the matching fabric for almost every outfit. It was a masterful event, and always a pleasure to see the Chanel shows. And after all the models have paraded past, the designer who is truly a genius, Karl Lagerfeld, comes out and takes a bow, and usually walks the stage with the model wearing the wedding gown. This time, Mr. Lagerfeld only appeared briefly, didn’t take the final walk and questions always fly about him, about when he will retire. In his late eighties, he still designs Chanel, both ready to wear and haute couture, designs Fendi as well, and a line that bears his name. He is a boundless source of inspiration, and I cannot think of a single designer talented enough, or even energetic enough, to replace him. So I hope that his shorter appearance at the end of the show was of no great significance. I love almost everything he does!!

I only went to two fashion shows during Haute Couture week in Paris: Chanel, and the Proenza show, although it is ready to wear not couture. And I thoroughly enjoyed both. And I was lucky enough to spend a day with my daughter the day after the shows. It’s an exhausting week for anyone working on the shows. And in a few weeks, it will be fashion week (for ready to wear) in New York, and then Paris.

Meanwhile, I’m busy writing, and I hope that all is well with you.

much love, Danielle