It is Fashion Week in Paris. What a scene! Creativity meets chaos. Poseurs and paps everywhere. But alas, I am a newbie to all this pageantry. Embarrassingly so, I discover, unsure of the rules of etiquette, condemned to make a litany of spectacular faux-pas. Apparently whoop-whooping an outfit walking down the runway while sitting in the front row with your serious and fashion-prominent husband next to you is not done. Probably also not a good idea to refer to a prominent “Lifestyle” blogger (how bored are we, really, with this term?), a woman of a certain age, dressed head to toe in black, including black mantilla adorned with plastic spiders, black shades and Herman Munster black heavy platform boots, as Morticia Adams. Also a bad idea to refer to another female blogger, probably “Lifestyle” again, sporting an enormous top hat, à la the tea party in Alice in Wonderland, festooned with what looked like aluminum foil shavings and the odd fairy light, as Satellite. Maybe that’s how she files her blog posts – straight through the satellite hat – beamed all around the world in seconds flat. During the after party, held outside in a beautiful courtyard of the Musée Picasso, it began to lightly rain, and Satellite was conspicuously standing alone. I might have possibly started the rumor that lightning strikes were in the forecast.
All of this, of course, is chalked up to the perils of insecurity, of knowing that you are so far out of your comfort zone you need a passport. And shots. And of feeling just a tad past your prime, observing all the cute young things flitting around you, then catching your reflection in the mirror and thinking, “Eeegads! Who is that old woman?” Or pulling yourself together for a show, thinking you look super chic, determined to make a grand entrance, slowly and deliberately walking up the steps past the photogs, turning back every few steps for that all-important three-quarter pose, and nothing. No calls of, “Madame, who are you! Madame, you look divine! What a stylish woman! Who are you wearing?” Nope. Nothing. Crickets.
Slightly depressing and pathetic self-characterization notwithstanding, I have to say, the shows I’ve attended thus far have been mesmerizing. The week opened with the Jacquemus show at the Musée Picasso with a collection in homage to the young designer’s mother, who died much too soon, at the age of 42. The show was called “La Bamba”, apparently the nickname of his mom, who sounds like she was a firecracker. (Of course, now I’m preoccupied with the fact that my son has yet to pay homage to me in such a grand gesture. Frankly, I would prefer it weren’t a posthumous honor.) But the collection was a showstopper by all accounts. My litmus test – I’d buy It all (after my two-month cleanse to drop half my body weight).
Next stop – the Paskal show at a super schmick gallery around the corner from our little apartment in the Marais, on the Place des Vosges, where “head in the clouds” was the inspiration for the fun, textural and girly designs. I love the idea of hearkening back to when we all were little – when our lives and yes, our fashion, were unfettered and fun. The colors, according to the information sheet, reflect the, “marmalade shades of the sky – tranquil turquoise, juicy green, and sunset pink.” Mostly, the palette made me think of sherbet ice-cream. Which made me hungry. But I loved the flair and applaud another brave young designer realizing their dream.
Yesterday’s show at the Palais de Tokyo, where my above-mentioned grand entrance went completely unnoticed, was Aalto, another hot designer breaking through the fashion maelstrom. Judging by the invitation, which featured the front bumper of a Volkswagen, along with a dead bird, presumably run over by said Volkswagen, I sensed it was going to be a different experience. All I can say is thank heavens there is a brief primer on what in the hell you’re about to see and the thought process behind it, because if I had to judge the theme by the fashion, I would call it “Fall Out Shelter.” The message of the impact of humanity on nature, the overwhelming proliferation and distraction of information online, the overkill use of brands and symbols and logos – how it changes the way we think, live our lives, was a lot to take in. The fashion was disparate, with unexpected fabrics and designs paired together. The music and overall ambience felt post-apocalyptic. But given that I was wearing jeans, a vintage Levis denim vest with a Navajo poncho and boots, I expect that I am not the demographic, thus my opinion may not be particularly relevant, but kudos to him for making such a bold statement. I will always applaud conscience and good intention.
Australian Fashion Chamber Event
Tonight is my final fashion event, organized by the Australian Fashion Chamber to showcase some of this country’s best and brightest young designers, sponsored by Woolmark, where my husband and his team is so proud to put forward Australian wool and support designers who embrace using this dynamic natural fiber. So, we’re rooting for the home team tonight, I suppose you could say. The showroom format will allow us to touch and feel the designs, (not the designers, just to be clear). And of course, the designers will be on hand to share their process and inspiration, which always fascinates me. There is always such passion behind the creation of these pieces – inspiration and touch stones that have influenced the theme or the look of a collection, down to the last detail, often coming from halcyon days or, as with Simon Porte Jacquemus’ tribute to his mom, from people who have impacted the designers’ lives.
I’m excited to finish up my first Paris Fashion week. Now that we live in Paris, I suppose I’ve completed a rite of passage. It has been a wonderful experience, despite the throngs of people invading our already-overcrowded city. Goes with the territory, I’d say. I will look forward to continuing the tradition of attending shows and no doubt, will continue to embarrass myself, but I’m having so much fun, I honestly don’t care. In the words of the late Hugh Hefner, “If you don’t have a sense of humor about life and yourself, you are old.” Cheers to that!