Tuesday, 14 March 2017

My Paris Fashion Week diary


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 showrooms

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.



The food

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.



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Friday, 10 March 2017

Paris Fashion Week AW17

Phew! We've finally made it to Paris, what an intense Fashion Month it's been. Here are my favourite shows from Paris Fashion Week: 

Jacquemus AW17

Simon Porte Jacquemus described this season’s girl as “(A) Parisian girl who wears couture who falls in love with a gypsy in the south of France. She tries to be like a gypsy, but she cannot – she is too couture!”. The resulting collection tells the story of an impossible love story and two separate aesthetics juxtaposed beautifully. Incredible sculptured details, from cosy shawl collars, high-waisted matador pants, huge raglan shoulders and corseted waists created art on the runway, both super conceptual but equally commercial. It takes a very special designer to successfully walk the line between fantasy and fashion, and for this reason Jacquemus is currently one of my favourite designers.

Johanna Ortiz AW17

When I think of Johanna Ortiz, I think of three things: sensual bare shouldered eveningwear, the most covetable and feminine shirting and endless ripples of ruffles. Her aesthetic is strong, sexy and sensual, so it’s no surprise that her label is such a commercial success. I was happy to see all three signatures going strong in the AW17 collection, in a soft colour palette of muted mint green and smooth lilac and mauve, pepped up with bold red poppies. Puff sleeves and bows were peppered through the collection, which I would sum up as restrained drama. 


Miu Miu AW17

Art Deco decked in lavender fake fur made for the most interesting set for Miu Miu’s AW17 show. Celebrating the madness of glamour, the collection featured fur everything, from baker-boy hats to coats and skirts alongside psychedelic 70s print tunic and flares and exaggerated shoulders. Shiny paillettes were sprinkled throughout the collection, on wisp-thin slips to sassy little dresses. The message was loud and clear – fashion and beauty are here to be celebrated. 


Saint Laurent AW17

Anthony Vaccarello did it again. He created one of the standout moments of Paris Fashion Week with a single shoe. Last season, it was the YSL-heeled shoes and this season, the stunning slouchy rhinestone-encrusted boots. I think they sum up Vaccarello’s high octane approach to designing for Saint Laurent. He has a knack for creating super luxury versions of clothing that you dream to have in your wardrobe, the black leather version of the boots are covetable enough but add the rhinestones and they become something else. 

The collection actually centred around an archive haute couture dress from the early 80s, eveningwear is clearly a focus for Vaccarello but the daywear is equally strong. Luxe details included denim jackets with mink or shearling detailing and pleated cocktail skirts and ivory mohair sweaters. The final lap stole the show, models clad in dramatic, sculptural after-dark looks, all short hemlines, exaggerated sleeves and those slouchy boots. Perfection. 


Chloe AW17

This was Clare Waight Keller’s swansong, her final collection as Creative Director at Chloe, a brand she has helped shape for the last six years. At the helm of the brand, Waight Keller has developed an intrinsic personality behind the brand – the Chloe girl. Bohemian and free-spirited, globe trotting, festival-loving and carefree, the Chloe girl became who we all wanted to be. Dressed in signature floaty frocks which were toughened up with leathers and Baja shirts, her life seemed as dreamy as her wardrobe. Her final collection was full of her greatest hits, as well as a sharper focus on tailoring, with strong shoulders and pleated trousers taking centre stage. An undeniably strong collection from a designer who will be missed. 

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Friday, 3 March 2017

Bonjour, Paris Fashion Week!


After a glorious, wonderful 14 seasons at London Fashion Week, I have the urge to try something new. So I'm skipping over to Paris today to experience my first season at Paris Fashion Week. Keep up to date with my adventures on Instagram
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Wednesday, 25 January 2017

My Ultimate Guide to Paris


If you follow me in Instagram or Twitter, you’ll know that I snuck across the channel to Paris for a long weekend. It’s a cliché but I absolutely adore Paris, it’s one of my favourite European cities and a place I fondly think of as a second home. I’m fortunate to have visited Paris about a dozen times, so each trip tends to be a mixture of revisiting old haunts while discovering new favourites and just a touch of sightseeing in between. I always get asked about my favourite spots in Paris so it’s about time I stopped keeping them to myself and shared them with you! I’d love to hear your favourites too so share your best in the comments section. 

Shopping

As one of the big four fashion capitals, many flock to Paris to shop til they drop. The Champs Elysees is lined with beautiful designer boutiques, both home-grown French brands and international superbrands alike. But…there’s not much in Paris that I can’t find back in Bond Street or Selfridges. Plus, it’s not much cheaper now due to the Brexit effect. Instead, I invest my money in the following stores and bring back things I can’t find at home. 

Sephora 
This beauty mecca needs no introduction. Home to over 300 brands as well as its own line, Sephora is practically on every corner and no trip to Paris is complete without a mini-spree. I really like their own-label skincare and I picked up yuzu face wipes, a rose eye mask and an intriguing foam mask on my last visit. 

French PharmaciesFrench pharmacies are the stuff of legends and thankfully there are about 3 on each street. Forget dour British pharmacists who grumpily hand over your antibiotics prescription, their French counterparts are part skincare expert and part scientist. If you can speak French, tell them what skincare issues you’re facing and they’ll provide the perfect remedy from brands like Bioderma, Vichy, Klorane et al. I *always* stock up on Bioderma miceller water and Klorane dry shampoo, they’re both the best in the business and cult items. 

Vintage shopping This is where Paris really excels. I started and stopped vintage shopping in London within a week, everything was just crammed together and I couldn’t find anything decent for a reasonable price. This is not the case in Paris, vintage stores tend to be merchandised much better and most of the pieces I’ve picked up have been between €5-10 and in pristine condition. Marais has at least a dozen vintage stores but there are 3 that I absolutely adore. I make a beeline for Vintage Desir/Coiffeur (32 rue de rosiers) first as it’s my favourite and I have never left it emptyhanded. I also like Come On Eileen/Les Beautiful Vintage (40 rue de rivoli). It’s like a treasure trove and you’re likely to find vintage Gucci and Issey Miyake alongside Levis cut offs. My last ‘must visit’ is Free ‘p’ Star (20 rue de rivoli) which is a mishmash of curated vintage


Eating and drinking

The Paris restaurant scene is very similar to London, booming. You can pretty much find whatever cuisine tickles your fancy at any budget and there are always new places to check out. I have a few tried-and-tested favourites below but also a list of places I want to check out next time including Kong, Septime and Artisan. 

Hotel Costes
Located a hop, skip and a jump away from Jardin de Tuileries, Hotel Costes in a Paris institution. I’m yet to eat here but I can vouch for the opulent bar, which is a firm favourite of the fash pack. Decadent chandeliers glitter in the candle light while the great and the good of Paris cosy up on red velvet sofas. Drinks are expensive, even by London standards, but they do a great Bloody Mary and it’s the best spot for people watching. 

Hotel Amour
Full disclosure, Hotel Amour is set in a former brothel and is on the fringe of Montmatre’s red light district so you’ll find a few  *ahem* cheeky details in the hotel and reception. Part-owned by one half of the duo behind Hotel Costes, this is another must-visit spot in Paris. I love this quirky hotel and their beautiful plant-filled,glass-roofed courtyard is a cosy spot for brunch or dinner. I popped over to a brunch of boiled eggs and soldiers washed down with Sencha tea over the weekend but next time I’ll be coming for dinner. 


Buvette
Buvette is a short stroll from Hotel Amour in Paris’ gritty but trendy South Pigalle, or SoPi, area. The Paris offshoot of a New York favourite, this neighbourhood hangout brings some Greenwich Village cool to Paris with its cosy atmosphere and exposed brickwork. The menu is full of comfort food served in small plate form, I popped in for a brunch of scrambled eggs with chevre but I wish I’d had room for the avo toast and Nutella waffles too!  

Candelaria
This little spot is my current favourite. It’s a tiny taqueria  with an open kitchen, the décor is a little pared back but the food is to die for. I love the cactus and mushroom tacos and veggie tostadas and there are also plenty of meat options. The highlight is the hidden bar, just push past an unmarked door and you go from a bare little taqueria to a clandestine drinking den lit by candles. The cocktails are as good as the food, but be sure to arrive early as Candelaria doesn’t take reservations.


Rose Bakery
Paris’ Rose Bakery is so iconic there’s even an import in London’s Dover Street Market. Nonetheless, I still have to visit one while in Paris. Rose Bakery is known for its ingredients, which are mainly organic and from small producers. I used to go to the one in Marais until it inexplicably closed so I was super happy to discover there was one in SoPi. I normally hit up Rose Bakery for a hearty breakfast, usually eggs followed by pancakes, but this time I just stopped in for a delicious matcha cake and an Earl Grey. 

Angelina
Angelina is one of the most famous tea houses in Paris and its beautiful interior hark back 1903. There are a couple in the city now but the original is across the street from the Jardin des Tuilleries. The setting is grand and decadent; high ceilings, huge paintings and a soothing colour scheme. Le chocolat chaud a l’ancienne l’Africain is the reason for the queues out of the front door, a hot chocolate so thick and creamy it’s practically a dessert. It’s served in a jug accompanied by freshly whipped cream. Pro tip: Avoid the queues and grab a chocolat chaud to go and head across the street to the beautiful gardens. 


Little Red Door
Warning: Do not open the little red door. It’s purely for decorative purposes! Instead, head through the door to the left when you’re ushered in by the lovely bouncer. Inside, you’ll find a softly lit, bohemian drinking den with cosy couches and tons of candles. The menu is unique; you pick a drink based on a picture an artist created when they tasted it. I picked one with absinthe but it was as delicious as my companion’s rum-based cocktail. The bar tenders and staff are super helpful and attentive in this quirky little bar. Make the most of it now, before you have to queue to get a table. 

Glass
Glass is located in the heart of SoPi. A dimly lit dive bar, this place wouldn’t be out of place in New York. By the same group behind Candelaria, the bar serves hotdogs and homemade pickles along with speciality beers, cocktails on tap and boilermakers. Parisian it aint, but it’s good fun, open til the wee hours and has a little bit of a rebellious spirit. 

L’As du Fallafel 
This is one of my guilty pleasure eateries and handily located next door to Vintage Desir/Coiffeur. Don’t worry too much about hunting down the door number, just head down rue des rosiers and look for the queue, there’s always a queue. The falafel here is legendary – fresh, light and crisp. The falafel special is a mere €8 and consists of the famous falafel along with salad, cabbage, roasted aubergine, lashings of tahini and a dollop of chilli sauce. If the queue looks unbearable, head to the handy take out window for a shorter wait. 


Accommodation

If you’re expecting some dope hotel recommendations, I’m sorry to disappoint. There are some beautiful hotels in town like Le Bristol, but I tend to stay in a cute little Air Bnb apartment. It just feels much more homely that way and Paris has heaps of stunning apartments filled with gorgeous antique furniture and bathed in Paris’s golden sunlight. 

C’est tout, that’s a concise little list of my favourite spots in Paris. Let me know your faves, I’ll be heading back to Paris again next month. 

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Sunday, 22 May 2011

The Sarenza What's Hot party

Last week, I was fortunate to be invited to Sarenza's launch party for their new What's Hot section in Paris with Jen from A Little Bird Told Me and Tor from Fab Frocks. The section highlights the hottest shoes from their mind-blowing selection of shoes, a great idea for a site with over 300 brands online. The section is only available on the French site at the moment, hence the party in Paris, but it's coming to the UK site soon. The party was amazing, it was set in a huge gallery in the Marais district and had photographers, shoes from the What's Hot section, hotdogs and delicious cocktails. The girls and I had such a fun time spotting gorgeous shoes, here are some of my favourites. 



Fire shoes. Disclaimer: Not actual fire



Fashionista's favourite refreshment - Vitamin Water


Jen & I
Jen, me & Tor
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Monday, 6 December 2010

Sarenza High Heel Race 2011

Phew....I’ve finally had a chance to recover from the weekend, and what a hectic weekend it was. As you may know, I was in Paris this weekend. What you may not know is that I was on a patriotic mission to represent the UK in Sarenza’s annual high heel race as part of the Fab Frocks on Foot team with fellow bloggers Tor from Fab Frocks and Amy from Wolf Whistle.

So what exactly is the Sarenza high heel race?? Well, Sarenza is a huge, huge shoe company in France and every year they hold an annual high heel relay race. If you’re lucky enough and quick enough to make it through the several heats, you will attend the grand final and be in with a chance of winning 3,000 of shoes! This year, 12 UK teams were battling 12 French teams, as you can imagine rivalry was high.  To build on the rivalry, teams from each country were given a fancy dress theme. The theme for the UK was ‘English Eccentrics’ so we went for Alice in Wonderland. I must have written about the book and film a thousand times and the Natalia Vioidanova editorial in Vogue is one of my favourites of all time, so it seemed like a no brainer. I decided to go as Alice, Tor dressed as the white rabbit, Amy went as the Mad Hatter and my plus one – the gorgeous Mariana from Sketchbook Mag – was our very own Cheshire Cat.


The event took place at the Piscine Molitor, as the name suggests it was an old swimming pool! We were told this was an incredibly cool location in Paris and I can understand why, it’s very industrial as pretty much everything is concrete but it’s covered in some amazing graffiti making it very contemporary and urban. The UK ladies didn’t really know what to expect but the French ladies took the competition extremely seriously – shoes were ducktaped on, warm ups were taking place and tactics were being discussed. There were so many journalists and press at the event, we soon realised that the high heel race actually makes national press in France! Before the anticipation starts building, we didn’t win. But I think we have a pretty good shot at the fancy dress prize which I think is more meaningful anyway?! I think we’re lucky to have gotten out of there relatively unscathed; there were lots of accidents including tumbles, falls and broken heels!



For the rest of the weekend we were free to do as we pleased so Mariana and I visited the Champs Elysees, the Arc de Triomphe and the Louvre. Thank you for a wonderful weekend, Sarenza! Huge thanks to Melissa and Camille from We Are Social for looking after us and making sure we were fed and watered.

Coat - vintage, shirt - H&M, leggings - eBay, boots - New Look, headband - H&M
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Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Paris, Je T'aime

A couple of weeks ago, I received some return Eurostar tickets from the lovely folk at WeAreSocial. It literally made my year, I love love love Paris! I grabbed one of my best girlfriends, hopped on the Eurostar and started planning a fabulous weekend! We stayed in the Opera Diamond hotel which was just beautiful. It is definitely 'my' hotel whenever I'm in Paris. Every corner is beautifully decorated, the location is amazing and the staff are beyond wonderful. We actually had to tear ourselves away from the comfy bed with a padded headboard, black bathroom and champagne bottle.





We met up with the absolutely fabulous 
Mireille Nagourney, founder and fashion director of online boutique Je Ne Sais Quoi. I had been talking to her for a while on Twitter and when she read that I was coming to Paris she invited me to the studio to meet her. She is so, so lovely! They were in the middle of shooting some new clothing and accessories for the site, and she kindly took time out to talk to me about selecting brands for her site, style vs. fashion and fashion week.


Mireille is an advocate of timeless, classic style over fashion. She's not one to jump on the bandwagon of the latest IT bag or killer heel by the designer du jour. Instead, you will find niche,  luxe brands which are hard to find on Je Ne Sais Quoi. She is one of only two stockists which sell Catherine Michiels in Paris, and one of a handful of stockists of Heimstone worldwide. I spotted this amazing Heimstone belt on the shoot and instantly fell in love! It was really heavy but the quality and workmanship was beautiful. 


Dress - Miss Selfridge, Belt - Heimstone @ JNSQ


After leaving the studio, we took a walk along Rue du Fabourg Saint-Honore, one of my favourite streets for obvious reasons. I absolutely love window displays, they are so inspiring. 




That evening, we headed to VIP club, Mireille described it as one of the best clubs in Paris and very jet-set. We had an absolutely amazing time so thank you for the recommendation! 


Dress - Miss Selfridge. I shop there a lot!


One of the highlights was finally climbing the Eiffel Tower. Like any tourist, I absolutely love it but I have never gone right up to the top. The weather was horrible but the views were still impressive. 




Although this trip is only just over and still fresh in my mind, I'm absolutely dying to go back. I think Paris has stolen my heart. 
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Saturday, 2 January 2010

Paris - New Years Eve 2009-2010

Happy new year, darlings!

I hope all of you had a fantastic NYE and saw in the new decade in style. I had an absolutely amazing New Year's Eve in Paris, it was absolutely unforgettable! It was snowing, not really heavily, but how special is that?! The road trip was epic, over 500 miles in 2 days, but way worth it. This is the furthest I've roadtripped so I wasn't sure what to wear but I knew comfort was paramount! I wore something similar to what I would wear on a flight, a comfy dress and leggings with thick socks. It's an unbeatable travel combination!

Dress - Blue Inc

We decided to head to the Champs Elysees for midnight, it was like a massive street party the atmosphere was crazy! It's by far the chicest way to see in the new year, and I thought it was very appropriate to be wearing new clothes from head to toe. It was so unbelievably cold though. I did wear a coat, but could have done with scarf, gloves and thermals!

Top - Topshop, Belt - Primark, Skirt - River Island, Boots - New Look

The next day, we took in the sites of Paris. For me, that meant heading to Chanel on Rue Cambon and then onto Colette while keeping an eye out for Karl Lagerfeld's yellow Hummer!! I didn't spot him, but there's always next time ;) After seeing Coco Before Chanel, I've been a bit obsessed by Chanel and I've been dying to see the Rue Cambon store. Unfortunately all the shops were closed but I took loads of pictures of the gorgeous window display.

Cape - ASOS

 
 

While we were in Paris, it was snowing very lightly. However, on the way to Calais, the snow started coming down pretty hard. So hard that we were in standstill traffic for what seemed like forever...well long enough to create a, well it's not quite a snowman but that's what I'll call it!I That was the perfect end to my mini adventure, I hadn't played in the snow for years!

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