It’s that time of year again!!! (Ready to Wear) Fashion Week in Paris. As I’ve told you before, the Haute Couture shows used to be the Big Event in French fashion, with presidents’ wives, major movie stars, and famous socialites at every show, making it a really big deal. Now with most of the big Couture designers gone, the only two big Haute Couture shows left are Dior and Chanel. Givenchy does Haute Couture and no longer does a fashion show, although they make beautiful clothes. But nowadays, there are few familiar faces at those shows although I saw Cameron Diaz at the recent Chanel Haute Couture show, and she looked absolutely gorgeous, just as pretty as in the movies!!
But in recent years, now the Main Event are the ready to wear shows, in October and March. It’s an International Event, with American Designers showing their future collections in New York, the Italians in Milan a week later, the British in London the week after that, and finally the French designers showing their wares in Paris. And every year the ready to wear shows gain momentum. Long ago, they were only for retailers and store buyers and the fashion press, now EVERYONE goes, and is it a Wow!!!! Movie stars, famous people of every kind, royals, it is an incredible scene, with hundreds of press focused as much on the audience as the runway show.
Today I went to the Dior show, which is probably one of the biggest. They are showing the clothes for fall, and in theory these shows are still meant to show store buyers what’s coming so they can place their orders for next season. But in addition to the buyers, there are just hordes of people there. I went with one of my daughters who is a fashion editor, and we always have fun when we go, nudging each other and pointing, watching the people, and enjoying the show. Dior is a little less dramatic on the runway, without a head designer at the moment. They have not yet replaced John Galliano, whose presence always added flair and drama to the show. But there was plenty of flair and drama in the audience. My daughter and I tried to guess how many people were there, and we figured it was somewhere between 2 and 3,000, in any case it was a LOT!!! The show was held at the beautiful Rodin Museum (part of the fun is where these shows are held), on the Left Bank, on the rue de Varenne, just down the street from where I lived as a young girl in my teens, when I lived in Paris. Just getting into the show was a mob scene, with hundreds of photographers shouting the names of anyone they recognized, and jostling to get photos of them. There was lots of pushing and shoving, and then we were finally in the museum, sitting on bleachers on three sides of the runway. There were flocks of Asian movie stars I didn’t recognize, but who got a lot of attention from the press, famous magazine editors, French, American, Italian movie stars, Spanish royalty, famous fashionistas, the head and owner of Dior was there, with both his adult children who work with him. Photographers combed the crowd for famous faces before the show began. And then the show began.
Approximately 50 gorgeous super models walked down the runway in approximately 75 or 80 outfits, impeccably put together, with sleekly combed hair, wearing impossible to walk in, very very very high platform shoes (runway shoes always look impossible to walk in, and once in a while a model stumbles or falls though none did today). The girls are usually much younger than they look in their sophisticated outfits, and most of them are in their late teens. The clothes were lovely in muted tones for fall, and we had fun watching the show. The shows usually start about half an hour late, which gives you plenty of time to ogle the crowd and get in some good people watching (there are always some crazy outfits there, on both men and women). And the show itself lasts about half an hour, and goes off with remarkable precision. So an hour after you push your way into the show, you are back on the street again, heading for the next show. There are 5 or 6 shows a day for the entire week, and parties given by the design houses at night. (My daughter went to two tonight, and I happily stayed home. I had enough pushing and shoving for one day!!!). I will be going to more shows this week, and will tell you about them. For me, this week is always a fun event, it’s fun to see the clothes, and to just enjoy the whole crazy fashion scene with all its intense atmosphere, and the people who take part in it. And it’s not a ‘girly’ thing, the spectators are evenly divided between men and women, although probably half the people there are involved in the fashion business in some way (buyers, press, editors, stylists, whatever). And most fun for me, it brings my daughters who work in fashion to Paris, so we get some time to be together….it doesn’t get better than that!!! Stay tuned!!! More to come!!!