Part three, final: 2 Stylists, 1 City and Paris Fashion Week

Continued from Part 1 and Part 2

Sitting among other Valentino show audience was everything I had expected it to be and more. Sitting center of the catwalk’s U-shaped runway allowed for ample collection and fellow guest gazing.

DSC04428Given the opportunity to look onto the quintessentially typical sight of Anna Wintour, famed editor of American Vogue, was surreal. Almost motionless other than tennis-watching head turns, her expressionless face, accentuated by her straight bob and dark-tinted round glasses, is almost foreboding.

Although I resisted pinching myself in coming to the realisation that we shared the same room, it wouldn’t have been done out of awe or respect. Anna Wintour is either ignorant or indifferent to the cruelty behind wearing and promoting fur as a fashionable ‘textile’. Being such a powerfully influential industry player, who chooses to flaunt and warm her icy demeanor in fur, while promoting it in the magazine, is to me and countless others, incredibly irresponsible.

Anna WintourThe Valentino Collection paid homage to many eras of the feminine form. Accentuated by omnipresent close-fitting collars and cuffs, the pieces seemed most appropriately worn by those who seek utmost modesty.

Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli, Valentino’s creative director duo, drew their inspiration from Flemish painters and the strong visual reference and interpretation to a pilgrim culture.

A favourite

For practical street-wear cues that’ll hit our stores come next autumn/winter, look out for heavy lace detail, brocade textiles, strong cobalt blue, the season’s rather predictable black and white, and plenty of capes, long and short.

One of Valentino's inspiration boards, shown backstage
One of Valentino’s inspiration boards, shown backstage

IMG_0164Twilight peeked over the rooftops of the city’s statuesque buildings, well appreciated from our 5th floor balcony views. Our day’s fourth and final outfits were as ready as we were. It was time to join the cocktail party at Valentino’s new flagship store on the designer-lined avenue of Montaigne.

Lynette Cowie, Pierpaolo Piccioli, Chanelle Jackson and Maria Grazia Chiuri
Lynette Cowie, Pierpaolo Piccioli, Chanelle Jackson and Maria Grazia Chiuri

A super and realised opportunity to meet the creative geniuses’ of Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli, a real pleasure! Thirstily then sipping on mint infused water, Chanelle shared a discreetly humorous moment with a waiter as they witnessed a woman down two glasses of French Champaign in amazingly quick succession. (Perhaps she lost herself in more outfit changes than us).

The store is elegantly spacious, no standing in line necessary!
The store is elegantly spacious, no standing in line necessary!

We were then left to amble through the two-story, multi-roomed space filled with the brand’s signature handbags, sunglasses, footwear, couture lounge and ready-to-wear collections.

As darkness enveloped this beautiful city, it then turned on more of its charm, living up to it’s nickname, “La Ville-Lumière”, meaning “The City of Light.

Early morning and late at night we found ourselves standing tall next to this iconic tower
Early morning and late at night we found ourselves standing tall next to this iconic tower

I was to take Chanelle to her first exclusively vegan fine dining experience, which I’ll certainly share with you in a future post!

2 Stylists, 1 City and Paris Fashion Week!

With only half the day’s elation behind us, Chanelle, my friend and previous style business partner, wearily slipped on her penultimate outfit, claiming, “I’ve changed so many times today I’ve forgotten who I am!”

This is surely the most spontaneous and strongest affirmation of why I often go to great lengths to emphasise that I’m in the industry of style longevity rather than the ever-changing fashion industry.

One's 40-something knees can only do so much synchronised jumping. "Take the picture already!"
One’s 40-something knees can only do so much synchronised jumping. “Take the picture already!”

“Well than”, you might ask reader, “what are you doing attending Fashion Week in Paris?” This is easily answered with a whimsical sigh and simply put explanation; “I do love a taste of Parisian flair and trendsetting designer wear every so often.”

Clothed among the bare trees of Jardin des Tuileries
Clothed among the bare trees of Jardin des Tuileries

The more practical answer is that Craig, my wonderful husband, and I were generously invited to what is certainly the crème de la crème of shows, the Valentino Prêt-à-Porter collection viewing. What’s a girl to do other than pack her bags? (A Louis Vuitton gifted by Craig on our last trip up the Champs Élysées.) Business called him further westward though, so Chanelle filled his shoes in Cinderella flair!

Leaving the hotel, yes, admittedly 24 hours too early!
Leaving the hotel, yes, admittedly 24 hours too early!

A little rewind on the day’s events, takes us back to visiting of the Eiffel Tower’s summit, before returning to Hotel du Louvre (another spoil arranged by Craig. P.S. note to self: he needs far more thanking) to change into our well rehearsed outfits (don’t ask, I’ll just admit to it right away, by telling you that we got our dates mixed up in our eager naivety, and arrived at the show a day early!) At least we then knew where in The Tuileries Garden it was and how long it would take to get there. We had blisters to prove it).

So often style is created in the small details
So often style is created in the small details
Enjoying life near the Louvre Museum
Enjoying life near the Louvre Museum
With the change of guest, Craig to Chanelle, a newly addressed invitation was delivered
With the change of guest, Craig to Chanelle, a newly addressed invitation was delivered

Our chosen show outfits, carefully deliberated in provisos such as temperature, colour, brand, print, texture, and only a smattering of consideration for comfort, specially the footwear, were what we believed perfectly fitting for the occasion. Until, that is, we learnt through on-site, front row observation of some highly useful guidelines (which I’ll share in a later post) on what to wear to Paris Fashion Week, and perhaps more specifically, to Valentino’s showing.

Continued in Part 2

Part two; 2 Stylists, 1 City and Paris Fashion Week!

Continued from Part 1...

Preceding the attention bestowed on the unreadable-faced beauties who adorn the show’s 67 outfits, it’s the show’s guests who seek, demand and satisfactorily capture the eye of the camera lens.

DSC04261

Thanks to the explosive fashion blogging community, the show’s audience is often the photographers taking shots soon after they’ve nonchalantly walked Valentino’s cream carpet as a prized guest. They achieve this by stylishly concealing their cameras as they walk the same prestigious walkway, as they’ll be treading backwards on as eager fashion paparazzi. Their goal, of course, is to capture and be captured, making the best of online coverage, marking their presence known at such a prestigious show.

The strap of the photographer's case is a sure give-away they buy into the industry.
The strap of the photographer’s case is a sure give-away they buy into the industry.
Wearing her media hat, this local is the epitome of Parisian style
Wearing her media hat, this local is the epitome of Parisian style

Owing to my public relations background, I was quick to spot the bogus guests, like the perfectly stretched-limo sized beauty who wore this season’s revered Chanel full-length coat, highly distinctive in denim.  She walked with the self-assurance only a model can muster. The cameras flashed, blinked and bottled their eager eyes, appreciative of the photogenic hanger on which this hot-ticket designer piece fell.

Although it’s commonplace to find similar spaghetti-figured bodies in the audience, it was her discreet, yet not missed, pre-show exit that alerted me. Kudos earned for such an effective branding stunt as this one!

“Take photos of me, me, me! And my panda!”

The other bogus guest’s tactics, and exit, was less discreet, although I had to give it to her, she rocked her look. Making her bright, cheeky and cheerful appearance around Elie Saab’s show, this blonde was instantly adored by the camera. The uniqueness of her panda toy squeezed out of her gold clutch tied in perfectly with all her other accented style details. It was her media blunder though, the openness of totally uncool eagerness, which gave her away. It was when I overheard her asking an initially keen photographer, “Where can I find these photographs of myself?” that I knew she’d just striked-out of getting published!

Perhaps it’s inside, the show and within ourselves, that we find the balance between being cool and collected.

I value her for founding The Honest Company
I value her for founding The Honest Company

Jessica Alba, for instance, seated herself wearing what Chanelle deemed as “the plainest” cream blouse and black pants. Once my celebrity-watching friend told me who the beauty was, (getting all the light bulb attention at that stage), I pointed out that because she’s Jessica Alba, she knows her style, and more importantly, we know who she is, giving her the freedom to dress for personal comfort and ease. She’s quiet and refined in her style, the epitome of confident style!

Lights, camera action, the ‘real’ show begins! To be continued…

Continued in final Part 3