Prêt-à-Porter Spring 2008:
Filming the Runways, Boutiques and Soirées
Doing interviews during prêt-à-porter Fashion Week in Paris is always a bit hectic with the shows, parties, interviews and friends – but it’s exciting, too! This season, my New York film and PR teams accompanied me to film Chic In Paris video spots, making the week extra glamorous and fun. We were all over the city. From the front row to backstage and exclusive filming in the best boutiques, restaurants and the ateliers of up-and-coming designers.
Sunday, September 30
Every year, to kick off the fashion week in Paris, Didier Ludot, famous for his vintage collections, throws a fabulous party honoring a special designer. This year, it was for the up-and-coming Alexis Mabille, known for his signature bow ties and unisex clothes. The evening commemorated his Couture collection. A coat made of vintage fabric chiffon bow ties was the winner in my book.
Among the guests at the Palais Royale party were Courtney Love and designer Rick Owens. I had a great chat with Courtney – we talked about books and fashion. She’s really into Givenchy and Rick Owens.
Monday, October 1
The day was crisp and bright at the Tuileries. The crowds always gather for the Dior show. It’s a mix of chic editors and chic women in their sky-high platforms, photographers like bees swarming around them capturing every detail they wear – a handbag, a scarf. It’s exciting and fascinating to be photographed as the images will go around the world.
Inside, everyone always wants to know what John Galliano will come up with next. This year’s spring collection was more toned down with touches from his 2007 Couture collections. John crafted beautiful dresses and suits with the most celebrated details of silky glamour from the 20s, 30s and 40s, such as wraps, sharp suits and sexy Bonny and Clyde references — Gemma Ward in a beret and lush red lips was classic. I think we will see many women in Dior gracing boardrooms and chic nightspots for Spring. The show opened with Sting’s music and he was in the front row.
Here are some of my favorites:
Tuesday, October 2
Today, I took a break from the shows to film exclusive footage in Paris’ most beautiful boutiques. We filmed at Louis Vuitton on the Champs Élysées and at Scarlett, one of my favorite vintage shops (located at 10, Rue-Clément Marot). We got a sneak peek of her own private collection designed specifically for the Chic Over 40 woman.
Moving on to lunch at L’Avenue which was crowned by an interview with owner Alex Denis. In the afternoon, we filmed at Chopard, which will be opening a new Madison Avenue boutique in New York this Fall. After Chopard, we stopped by another jeweler, Lydia Courteille, who has the most eclectic and unusual taste with stories and mystery woven into each piece. She takes her inspiration from diverse elements such as antique cameos or opals that, for example, look like a hurricane at sea and creates one-of-a-kind pieces.
Wednesday, October 3
Albert Kriemler, the Swiss designer for Akris, just gets better and better. His collection this season – modern and elegant. He is the new Armani. While in the past, his collections have been “pretty” and "wearable”, this season, Albert took some risks. This time he went just a tad edgier, but not so much that a chic woman of age would shy away.
Backstage, Albert enjoyed the accolades from the press and buyers. His closest assistant told me they always joke about how they should be doing “flowers” for Spring, but with Albert’s geometric sensibility, it’s just not possible. However, the geometric layers of sheer chiffon, which lightly fluttered as the models walked the runway, gave a truly feminine, “flowery” sexiness.
While other reviewers thought that Albert went too far and could potentially lose his core clientele, I disagree. I say that it is a departure – and a welcomed one. Maybe he’ll attract new clients too.
Here are some of my favorites:
Designers Raffaele Borriello and Julien Desselle have come a long way since I saw their first collection two years ago in an apartment on the rue François Premier. The first time I saw Requiem, I knew they would be a huge success. From the François Premiere to the Petit Palais, these two young newcomers have now established their place on the prêt-à-porter calendar and, in my opinion, have a huge future. Their collection of satins in deep rich jewel colors was fresh and young but not just for the young, as I see the women Chic Over 40 wearing Requiem to update her wardrobe without looking ridiculous.
During the evening, I had the great honor to meet Madame Giscard d’Estaing. And I was invited to her charity ball, Rêve de Valse, held at the L’Orangerie at Versailles on Monday, October 8th.
Thursday, October 4
My day began filming in the gorgeous new Lanvin boutique on the rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré where I was given the tour by Fabien, one of my favorite salesmen. Dapper in his black satin bow tie, he pointed out the luxurious details of the clothing, accessories and even the furniture, original pieces from the early days of the house of Jeanne Lanvin. Alber’s dog followed us around the shop and Alber, himself, wanted to make sure I saw his homage to Arpège, Lanvin’s classic perfume in its updated flacons.
Then, it was on to Yves Saint Laurent. I totally appreciate Stefano Pilati‘s tailoring. His jump suits and suit jackets are clean and chic. This season, he added a lot of volume to his dresses, which I don’t think are becoming unless you are six feet tall and thin. Some of the big sparkled dresses were a bit much. He should stick with what he does best. These are some of my favorites.
Friday, October 5
Backstage, after the Chanel show, Karl told me that this collection was inspired by The Great Gatsby. The show almost felt like an American tribute – all stars and stripes – some great knits for golf and tea parties. The buzz is all about the impossible, just-for-sunning and a very sporty denim bathing suit that opened the show. Karl also showed gorgeous dresses for evening or dressy garden parties – playing with layers of sheer fabric – very sexy. You can see Daisy Buchanan and Jay Gatsby walking down the runway.
Here are some of my favorites:
Victoria Beckham, Courtney Love and Kanye West were backstage to congratulate Karl. I gave Karl a copy of my book, Chic In Paris, which he was very happy to get! In return, he gave me two kisses, which sent flying out of the Grand Palais on a high!
During the afternoon we filmed at the Dior boutique on the famous corner of the avenue Montaigne. Dior is the quintessential elegant Parisian boutique. The layout could be from the 1800’s or the 1950’s but the rotunda, with its elevated theatre-in-the-round screening of runway shows and inspirational images creates a 21st century effect.
Anticipating the winter season, I tried on two fur-trimmed coats that were divine. My friend Karin Mehnert, editor at Neo magazine, happened to be shopping for winter coats as well. She chose bright yellow and red while I chose the softer, more muted gold and grey.
In the evening, we were invited to the Hôtel de Crillon for the Rock and Republic Party, hosted by Andrea Bernholtz, which was a glittering glam rock and roll party of the best kind. The room is old world glamour, mirrors, high ceilings, architectural details… the perfect place on the place de la Concorde. Add in a crowd of beautiful people and flowing champagne and it is truly magical. I had my book launch party there and believe it is the chicest spot for a party in Paris.
Saturday, October 6
Olivier Theyskens’ collection for Nina Ricci was a dreamy sexy inspirational show. I loved the daywear – combinations of silks, satins and denim – very cool. The animal-like details of a shoe, or a feather scarf were ethereal touches to the very bohemian yet classic and wearable pieces. The evening gowns were absolutely sensational – real red carpet material.
Here are some of my favorites:
It is true that Lanvin is one of my personal favorites – I am his poster child. Having said that, this collection was by far his best and one of the most uplifting of the season. The setting was a huge music hall, with carnival lights, tuxedoed candy-vendors and fireworks. It was fun and edgy at the same time – like the collection.
I was on the edge of my seat as each model came down the runway. The colors kept exploding with magentas, teal, red, coral, purple… there was something for every woman. This season, the silhouettes themselves are not all voluminous, rather the clothes are structured with volume details. Alber showed some of the best fluid pants. When the show ended, there was a roar of applause – so well deserved.
For Louis Vuitton Marc Jacobs once again mastered the game of mixing fashion and art. This season, he pays homage to artist Richard Prince and began the show with superstar models such as Naomi Campbell, Isabeli Fontana, Karolina Kurkova, Angela Lindvall, Stephanie Seymour, Nadja Auermann and Eva Herzigová dressed as naughty nurses with black lace masks à la Prince.
The style news was in the color – lots of rainbow bright pastels put together and the silhouettes – slim skirts, satin jackets and A-line skirts. Other themes were 50’s color knits pieced together, sequin-stripped sweaters and sheer layers – a recurring theme in all the collections.
How to translate runway to real life? Wearing Marc Jacobs is best approached like accessories – individual pieces worn as accents to one’s own style. This could be a Richard Prince conversation-starter bag or a candy-colored blouse.
The sensationalism and trend-setting of the Louis Vuitton brand is clear. Picture flamboyant Dita von Teese, Kanye West and Pharrell Williams seated front row. The show ended with Marc Jacobs walking the runway with his TV screen Spongebob lunch box under the vast ceiling covered in blow-ups of 1950’s pulp fiction erotic titles such as London After Dark and Tokyo After Dark.
Ralph Rucci is the first American to ever be invited to show at Haute Couture in Paris. Ralph raises the standard of elegance. The craftsmanship, proportion and choice of fabrics take your breath away. When you see a fur coat pieced with sheer fabric, you get an idea of the Chado Ralph Rucci vision. I’ve been a loyal fan and was happy to see him show in Paris again this time for both his prêt-à-porter and Haute Couture collections.
For this show in the Palais de Tokyo, his loyal clients and friends such as Deeda Blair, Susan Gutfreund and Sarah Wolfe came to celebrate Ralph’s sublime genius.
Monday, October 8
In the morning I interviewed Alexis Mabille in his Marais atelier filled with bow ties of every imaginable fabric, size and shape. Models displayed his androgynous clothing and there were several pieces that could be stunning for the evening, such as an icy pale blue satin cape.
Then it was off to Versailles – Rêve de Valses. The Fondation Pour L’Enfance (The Child Foundation) is a charity founded 30 years ago by Madame Giscard d’Estaing, the wife of the 20th President of France, Valéry Giscard d’Estaing. The Child Foundation does wonderful work to help abused children around the world. Each year, they hold a spectacular event called the La Nuit Internationale de l’Enfance (International Evening of the Child).
Stephane Ruffier-Meray, friend and member of the executive committee to this gala event, invited me this year to their Black and White Ball at Versailles. It was a spectacular setting with the fountains and statues bathed in light and I felt like I was in another century. The Fondation pour l’Enfance would like to express their heartfelt thanks for the generosity of its partners and donors that makes it possible to pursue its mission to help these children who suffer.
I was honored to be a part of this fabulous evening and hope to see you all there next year.
Reminiscent of the grand Black and White Balls in New York at the Plaza, the setting was a dramatic and a fantastic way to end yet another exciting week in Paris.