Paris Fashion Week, Part 2

The second part of Paris Fashion Week was even busier for me than the first, racing between fashion shows, and joining up with my daughters whenever possible, and visiting two of the showrooms where buyers place orders. The week seemed to gain momentum as it sped along, with hordes of editors, journalists and buyers flying in, parties every night, and some beautiful runway shows to see. I enjoyed them all. The whole event ends today as I write this, and all I heard for the past two days was how exhausted everyone was. Going to fashion shows all day, racing from one location to another, placing orders or writing articles, and partying at night until the wee hours is fun, but tiring and ‘hard-work’. I was just an observer, not working, so I can’t complain, but after more than a week of going to shows and events, I’m tired too, my ears feel like they’re about to fall off from wearing tight earrings, and my feet are aching from trotting everywhere in high heels. I was ecstatic to put on jeans and flats after the last show.

Last Monday, I saw the Giambattista Valli fashion show, which was a first for me, and it was a beautiful show of ladylike clothes with a ‘twist’, interesting details here and there, great colors, embroideries and some pastel and brightly colored fur details. The show was held in a space on the Place Vendome, and I sat next to the American Ambassador and enjoyed talking to him. And I loved the show.

And that night, I attended the Givenchy show, in an enormous warehouse in a more remote part of Paris, which looked like an airplane hangar. There was a singer and live band which played during the show. And Givenchy went a whole different direction, with an entirely different look. The trend for next fall seems to be sophisticated looking very chic, high fashion clothes (Balenciaga, Celine, Dior), instead Givenchy went young and kicky with floral fabric, lots of gauze thin see-through skirts, and a kind of gypsy look. It was young and fun, and unexpected, and unique among the other shows. The other shows were more what I would wear, but it was fun to see the whimsical floral fabrics and gypsy look (worn in the show with little short red and purple wigs!!).

On Tuesday morning bright and early, thousands of people (possibly two or three thousand, most shows are smaller, and some are more intimate) marched into the Grand Palais, a beautiful old glass domed structure, to see the Chanel show. It was in a vast space, and the decor at Chanel is always impressive (as compared to minimalist at Givenchy, in a huge concrete space). This time Chanel had put up a GIGANTIC black globe which reached almost to the top of the Grand Palais, with countries outlined in gold, and illuminated flags to indicate where the Chanel stores are throughout the world. I can now tell you that there are none in Africa, only one in South America, a ton of them in the States and Europe. And as the globe revolved slowly, the models circled it, so everyone in the entire hall could see the clothes. Since it was the fall collection, there were lots of tweeds and wools, many coats (short in front, long in back), and boots with chains. As always it was a dazzling selection. It was a huge show, with endless combinations and outfits. There was something for everyone in that collection. We were each given a little bag of makeup samples on the way in, which is always fun. (Some houses give out their perfume). And Karl Lagerfeld, the brilliant designer who creates Chanel took a bow at the end, as all the designers do.

And three hours later, my daughter and I were walking through the Tuileries gardens, right in front of the Louvre, to line up at a tent put up to house some of the fashion shows. We were there to see the Valentino show, the final one for us. And there again they went ladylike with a young touch, and beautiful simple dresses in great colors. There was a lot of white in all of the collections for next fall. The Valentino show was very beautiful and very elegant, and a great finale for us.

And I have to tell you, by the time we left Valentino and hiked back to our car, I couldn’t wait to take my shoes off, get out of dressed up clothes and park my earrings. I was so tired of wearing clothes and getting dressed up by the end of the week! And everyone was saying pretty much the same thing. Having to look put together, and fashionable every day is a lot of work. With my solitary isolation as I write, no one sees me and I don’t leave the house, and I can wear torn jeans and comfortable old sweaters. I don’t have to wear stilettos and makeup and look great every day. But with hundreds of photographers around at all times, particularly at the fashion shows, you have to look your best all the time!!

And for us, that was the end of Fashion Week. My daughters went out with some friends on the last night, to several parties, and I was happy to stay home. I was ready to collapse in a heap!! And quite amazingly, even though we were exhausted, we weren’t tired of clothes yet. We saw so many beautiful things on the runway that it makes you excited about what will be in the stores in the fall, and about wearing pretty clothes. It becomes a challenge to keep up the fast pace during Fashion Week. And there are lots of men who attend the shows, to see the clothes and the models. Some are buyers, some celebrities, and some just enjoy seeing it. We heard every imaginable language around us. Fashion Week is a very international event. We also went to two showrooms between shows, where American designers had rented spaces to take orders from European buyers. We saw the beautiful collections of Proenza Schouler, really gorgeous things, and in a more casual vein Current Elliott/Equipment/Joie, which do casual informal wear. Current Elliott are my favorite jeans and very ‘hot’ in Europe. Great stuff and fun to see.

So that’s what I’ve been up to. My girls have gone back to work now and I’m back at my typewriter. It’s a little bit like being Cinderella after the ball. The party’s over, the beautiful clothes packed up or in showrooms where the buyers will place orders. And in the next day or two, everyone will be home again, where they started, and the collections seem like a dream…until we see it all in stores in the Fall. It’s an exciting preview of what’s to come, and for me it’s a privilege to be there with my girls!! Now, back to business as usual, just like Cinderella! After the ball, it’s back to work…Love, Danielle.

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2 Comments so far
  1. Sylvia March 11, 2013 2:09 pm

    Hi Danielle,

    I’m Hank W’s daughter. I’m sorry to tell you that Hank passed away last May. He was a very generous, sweet man whom I loved dearly. He was also a very talented artist. I’ve since bought the oceanfront condo that he and my mom shared in Florida.

    I thought you’d like to know that Hank thought very highly of your family and saved all of the letters and cards he received over the years from your parents and stepmother. Your father had the most artistic and original handwriting I’ve ever seen! Hank even kept the invitation to your first wedding! I’m still sorting through their things.

    I would like to give you a copy of the book Hank made of his art work which includes his bio as well as awards he had won at various art shows. If you e-mail me where to send it, I’ll get it out to you.

    If I’m ever in Paris or you’re ever in Florida, I’d love to meet you. BTW, my favorite book of yours is, “The Ring.” I loved the movie adaptation as well. Unfortunately,I haven’t been able to locate the DVD or even a VCR version of it anywhere.

    I’d prefer to keep this message private and have therefore given limited identifying details in the event that this automatically becomes a public post. I’m sure you understand. Thanks!

    Kindest regards,


  2. Mary March 12, 2013 7:00 pm

    Hi Danielle,
    I checked out the internet on the fashion event and with all the photographers they posted a pic of you and your daughters, another memory made spending time together. It must have been cold out everyone was outside with their coats on. Going from show to show wore you out but I bet the cold didn’t help.
    Thanks for sharing your passion, I know most of us will never have that experience so its fun to hear about.
    Now spring is almost here,and flowers are already pushing their way up. This is my favorite time of the year when the outside comes alive and we can shed our winter coates. Colors…colors…colors!!!!!!