As I mentioned in my previous post, I attended Paris Fashion Week for the first time last week. It was wild. For the first time in a long time, I was flying solo while attending the shows. I didn't really know where the venues were. I was mainly allocated standing tickets as I didn't really know the PRs. It was all brand new. I'm in a fairly privileged position in London, I've been blogging and attending the shows for a long time so I haven't really experienced any of these things for a long, long time.
I felt somewhat like the new kid in class, slightly awkward and unsure. And you know what, I really enjoyed it. There was something really liberating and grounding about being new and starting from the bottom. My time in Paris was a blessing and I really enjoyed going along for the ride. Here are my highlights from Paris Fashion Week:
Lutz Huelle AW17
I was super stoked to attend Lutz Huelle's AW17 show, my first in Paris. If his name seems familiar, it's because Huelle has been putting in work at Margiela's Artisinal label and at Max Mara Group as a consultant, winning the ANDAM award twice and winning the Ackermann Pret-a-Reporter prize at GWAND.
His AW17 collection built on his decontextualised aesthetic; some pieces were heavily deconstructed and some looks mixed grunge sportswear with evening wear. The shoulder was his flourish, oversized, puffed or rolled, as long as it was a voluminous statement. The puffer reigns supreme next season, cut very slim with an unexpected combination of fabrics from houndstooth to Fair Isle. The Margiela connection was easy to see and executed beautifully.
Veronique Leroy AW17
Taking place in the iconic Palais de Tokyo, Veronique Leroy's show was a hot ticket. The show opened with an incredible amber crushed velvet jumpsuit. Experimenting with velvet and denim was a fresh direction for Leroy, who's name is more synonymous with knitwear albeit with a touch of eccentricity. earthy abstract prints and gunmetal lamé with dirty pastels in ruched minis and tapered trousers contested with teddy bear shearling for a super chic, covetable collection.
Agnes B AW17
Set in the iconic Les Invalides, resting place of Napoleon, Agnes B's show had a very grand feel, preempting a journey though women's fashion over the last 100 years. The show opened with long, conservative, utilitarian wartime silhouettes in muted colours and the odd jewel tone. The fabrics were heavy and luxurious, contrasting with the feeling of liberation for women in the interwar period - women in the workplace was a huge step forward for women's rights.
The interwar period was followed by boyish looks in will trousers paired with chic loafers and Italian suits, which contrasted with the the more feminine side of the period, gorgeous cashmere gloves and a beautiful velvet dress dress with an arm shawl.
And then the music changed, the time period was fast forward 60 years. A feeling of Carnaby Street in the 60s with leather trousers, cute combers, and geometric prints felt very punk and mod. The 70s followed, with burnt oranges, chevron prints and a touch of suede.
The show felt like a true celebration of women, and of course, I loved it.
The Paris showrooms are extremely different to London. In my beloved London, fashion week is squeezed into just 5 days between New York and Milan. The pace is relentless and 12+ hour days are the norm. Some days, it feels like I'm ping ponging across the city between shows, presentations and showrooms like the Road Runner from the Looney Tunes. I only get a glimpse of each collection.
Paris, by contrast, stretches over a week and is much more commercial in nature. This is where all of the selling and buying takes place, which is why visiting showrooms is key for the international buyers who flock to Paris. All of the London designers and PRs decamp to Paris for this season. I didn't have time to pop into the BFC London Showrooms but I did spy some of my favourite London designers in other showrooms alongside some incredible designers from the likes of Canada, Russia and Korea, which gives you a flavour for how international Paris Fashion Week is.
While I was visiting Paris for fashion, I obviously indulged in some delicious food too. My Air Bnb was situated in Pigalle, my favourite neighbourhood which has a ton of amazing places to eat, including Buvette, Hotel Amour and Rose Bakery. I got a super early Eurostar over to Paris and headed straight to Hotel Amour for brunch in their conservatory, which is the prettiest space in Pigalle. I also discovered a new bar to add to tried-and-tested favourites in the area. Le Mondian is a cute little neighbourhood bar with a great rum selection AND the most beautiful cocktail in all of Paris.
Away from "my neighbourhood", I also had the BEST vegetarian grilled cheese sandwich at Mabel, a grilled cheese sandwich shop at the front and a kick ass bar at the back. A favourite with Parisians, it's only a hop and a skip away from Bourse metro station.
For more comprehensive recommendations, check out my Ultimate Guide to Paris post.