It’s been a busy ten days in Paris with the Ready to Wear Fashion shows in full swing (to show clothes for next fall, so store buyers can see them and order them now, 6 months ahead of time). It’s always a crazy time, with show after show every day, and for those who love fashion it’s like a ten day long buffet of constant treats, feasts to the eye, exciting line ups with beautiful clothes worn by gorgeous models, often in amazing locations. And by the end of the week, I think everyone is on overdose, both those who design the clothes and put the shows together, and those who see dazzling fashion shows all day every day for about 10 days. I had a front row seat both to the behind the scenes hard work, and the front row excitement of being a spectator, with my three daughters who work in fashion staying with me for ten days. Before Paris fashion week was New York fashion week with American designers, Milan where the Italians show their latest creations, London Fashion week, and finally Paris. By today, I was almost reeling from the beauty and the gluttony of it. There are anywhere from 35 to 75 outfits in each show, worn by 40 or 50 models (depending on who the designers are), and each show is attended by from 300 to 1,000 people, buyers, press, fashionistas, movie stars, celebrities, customers, and there are several shows every day.
I lucked out the way the show schedule played out, and the first show I saw was Balenciaga, which is always one of the most beautiful, and one of my daughters is the design consultant to the designer, Alexander Wang, who designs for Balenciaga now. The show was held in the early morning on a rainy day at the planetarium, a beautiful old building with a circular staircase. I was excited to see Alex Wang’s and my daughter’s work, and What a Show!!! It was an absolutely spectacular show, one of the best I’ve ever seen. Incredibly chic, elegant, which really showed Alex Wang’s talent. I was thrilled with what I saw, and I knew just how hard they had all worked on it, as I watched my daughter come home at 2 am at night, and leave for work again at 6:30 the next day. They all work incredibly hard to put together the season’s collection and put on the show. It was going to be hard for anything to match up to that first show. I went with two of my other daughters and we were very proud!!
The next show I saw was Dior, held in a specially constructed tent/structure behind the Rodin Museum on the Left Bank (right down the street from the house where I lived in my teens in Paris), and it was a beautifully done show by Raf Simons. A lot of it looked too young for me to wear, but it did honor to the house of Dior. And the audience was very exciting too. I sat across from the singer Rihanna, wearing a red mink coat!! There were lots of celebrities, famous singers, and movie stars there.
On Saturday, the day after the Dior Show, I took a day off from fashion, to receive a medal and be knighted, which was incredibly exciting for me; my friends and family were there (see last week’s blog).
And on Sunday, one of my daughters and I raced out again, to see the Celine show, another of our favorites, with more spectacular clothes. The Celine clothes are very elegant, and simple, with sleek lines. There were lots of earth tones, and a number of black and white outfits that were very chic. I sat across from the famous model Stella Tennent, and rapper Kanye West. The show was held at a tennis club in a residential part of Paris. And that night, there was the Givenchy show in a huge industrial warehouse on the outskirts of Paris, and I have to confess, by then I was so exhausted from my decoration ceremony and party the night before, and all the shows I’d been seeing that I skipped the Givenchy show, and met my daughters for dinner later, at one of our favorite restaurants. And on Monday, I missed the Giambattista Valli show, due to a mix up with the tickets. But I watched both shows I missed online.
There were lots of shows I didn’t get to, but since I do it for fun and not for work, one show a day works best for me. And on Tuesday, I ended my week of fashion shows with another knockout—the best shows I saw were the first (Balenciaga) and the last (Chanel.)
The Chanel show is always held at the Grand Palais, a big very old beautiful glass structure, and Chanel always comes up with amazing decors—-a real iceberg one season that had been flown in from Sweden (and was flown back after the show), an enormous lion that almost reached the roof of the glass palace, a scene that looked like the desolation of the end of the world, with sand and giant chrystals everywhere—-but this time the decor was the most fun of all. It was designed to look like a GIANT supermarket, with aisles, and food on all the shelves (in boxes with clever names). Instead of coming out in a straight line, the models appeared from all over the place wearing the new collection, and headed down the aisles with supermarket carts, loading them up with the ‘food’ with fun labels in very real-seeming boxes. It was funny and wonderful, and full of humor, it was like being part of a play. There were fruit stands on the way in, candy on the way out, and the whole show was a delight to watch. I always love it when people are playful with fashion, instead of taking it too seriously, and no one does it better than Karl Lagerfeld, who designs for Chanel. It was an absolutely fabulous decor, and the clothes were great, with lots of bright colors. The whole thing was a ton of fun. Everyone was smiling when they left the show, and for me, it was the perfect end to a fun week. I’m actually sorry to see it end, and to see my daughters leave and go back to work in their cities. But I had a great time at the shows with them…..and now I get to wear flat shoes and jeans when I go back to work, but it sure was a terrific week!!! And now, it feels a little bit like being Cinderella after the ball when it’s over. I can’t wait to do it again!!!