Fashionista: not a word that I would ever use to describe myself. Yet, somehow, I wound up going to a Paris Fashion Week show, any fashionista’s dream. A good friend told me that I could send emails to different designers begging for a press invitation, so I took her advice and went for it. I figured it would be an awesome opportunity as a photographer and blogger. Maybe I would even get some recognition in the online photography and fashion worlds. This has yet to be determined- maybe this blog post will help. I wrote over sixty emails to different designers and four days later, I received a reply from one designer. The email only included a time and an address. The show happened on the very last day of Paris Fashion Week. The designer, a lesser known, but extremely talented, Paris-based Korean designer has two shops in Paris. This show was to introduce her Spring and Summer of 2018 collection.
I spent the week before the show finding an outfit with the help of friends here in Paris and the day of the show, my amazing friend and stylist, Sophie, did my makeup. I felt beyond glamourous that evening. Then the waiting began. I stood outside the Moon Young Hee show location, Paris Université Descartes, for over an hour before the show actually began. My favorite part about it was watching the people who had come to watch the show. Some women wore dresses and heels, while others wore jeans and sneakers. Some men wore ties and suits, while others wore leather jackets and jeans. Some women, and men for that matter, wore makeup, while others were au naturel. All the different styles were entirely different.
I’ve noticed here in Paris that the everyday street style is actually quite a personal decision. Comfort is key and as long as you walk with confidence, no one really cares what you wear. It was the same with the fashion show attendees. But every single person there held themselves in a very confident manner. Another note on street style in Paris is that people don’t own loads and loads of clothes. Parisians buy few, good quality items. Unlike the general preference in the United States, Parisians tend to prefer quality over quantity. Parisians wear what is comfortable, but they also wear name-brand. Even in the metro or bus, you can always see a variety of styles. Some look like they aren’t trying and others look like they are trying too hard, but they all look confident and somehow fashionable. As my three months continued in Paris, and having brought only a limited amount of clothes that I could fit into my two suitcases, I learned to dress like a Parisian. I wore the same outfits every week and added a couple items to my wardrobe. Sneakers with tights and a leather jacket with a blanket scarf are only two examples of fashion choices that I brought back to the United States with me. And to be honest, I don’t really care what people think about my fashion choices, now. I wear what I want to wear and I keep my head up with that French confidence that I learned those three months in Paris.
The fashion show was short, but quite entertaining. Rows of people dressed in all sorts of outfits sat on either side of the magnificent room, sunlight spilling through the beautiful, old windows. Being part of the press, I was directly facing the show. Bleachers were placed at the end of the runway for photographers and videographers to set up their equipment. I sat in front, on the floor with a few other photographers and an excellent view of the show. Calm yet steady music began and one by one, models walked down the stairs and straight towards me. Some paused at the end for a moment to let us take photos and others just kept on walking. From the moment that the show began, until the very end, the sound of camera shutters opening and closing was overwhelming. The collection was simple in color, mostly shades of blacks, whites, and greys. The designs were a deconstructed yet feminine look with many layers and different types of fabric. After each unique outfit had its turn in the spotlight, the models filed out for the finale followed by the designer stepping out for a just a mere second. And just like that, it was over. People immediately walked out of the walked out the doors. I assume, pleased with the collection they had just seen. It may have only been a short fifteen minutes, but my Paris Fashion Week experience is not an experience I will forget anytime soon.
A couple weeks later, I went to a fancier area of Paris than I usually hung out in for an afternoon tea outing with some friends. While in the area, Place Vendôme to be exact, I stumbled upon the Louis Vuitton Maison Vendôme with the recent installation of a golden sun on the exterior of the building. I had seen photos on Twitter earlier that week, but I had no idea I would see it for myself. As the sun shone down on Paris, the golden sun on the House of Louis Vuitton glittered with radiance. It was an incredible sight to see and for a mere second, I was taken away to the world of Paris fashion and glamour filled with memories of my Paris Fashion Week experience.
In the words of the lovely French fashion designer, Coco Chanel, "Beauty begins the moment you decide to be yourself." In true French culture, wear what you want and be confident. Believe in yourself and live your life to the fullest. And if you are ever in Paris, visit Angelina's for the best hot chocolate you will ever taste and a view of the table Coco Chanel would sit at in the mid 1900's between meetings and fashion shows.