Back home as of seven hours ago. SOO tired, but by body clock is off...so I'm up.... and finally filling in some of the missing stories on my Paris blog.
Paris has a very special place in my heart... and the Tuileries in particular. I had signed up for the show before I even knew where they were being held... and when I found out that the venue was a tent in the Tuileries... I knew that I had made the right choice. That garden, that place in the city, feels like I was there many, many times before. To top it off, the photos I will post, were taken there as well on the last night. It was just meant to be.
I heard that the weather was cold before I arrived...but it was fairly mild while I was there except for rain most days. I don't know if I mentioned it.... but it took me three weeks to find a hotel in Paris that was not 500 euro a night ,or a complete flea bag. I found my hotel the week before I left; a charming small place in Montmartre, which was very cozy and in a quiet, quaint neighbourhood, but not at all convenient for the show. The commute at rush hour every morning and night was not fun.I often walked for an hour or more in the rain before I could flag a cab.
Paris had at the same time: The Car Show, Fashion Week, The Accessories Show and three other shows which I don't remember.....which is why there were NO hotel rooms, no cabs, no restaurants and masses of people everywhere.Well dressed of course.
I had the MOST fun just people watching every day at the show. I think that 1/3 of the attendees were from Asia... and they LOVE fashion and the vehicle of self expression that it is like no others. Amazing, great, original and interesting fashion compositions... all day long. And I mean FLOODS of people. I had the idea of making match boxes with my logo and brand on them...chocolate brown with silver lettering and my lions. We gave out 2,500 of them, 500 postcards with the image of "The Seduction"( from my album), about 100 business cards, 250 fold outs with jewelry images on them and 50 press kits to the press room. I had NOTHING left to come home. Not one solitary card. Out. One of the magazine editors came by to congratulate me; that I had the best press kits of the show and I can guarantee that no one had the marketing materials I did. Everyone LOVED the matches.( I had thought," Paris= smokers paradise = matches.")
The show was pretty well set up... but from my perspective....the United States is the capitalist center of the universe because it has been built to make doing business easy. France has not. Everything was an ordeal... and I mean everything.
My trunk with my display materials was confiscated by customs. I didn't get it until the second day if the show. Another FB friend, whom i hadn't met before, Dimitris Koubourlis, drove down from Dusseldorf to meet me. He picked me up from the airport and was a godsend in helping me get all of this stuff done. I had to go and turn in papers, go back and forth to FEDEX, go to the show, back to the hotel... go back to Charles de Gaulle and pick up the trunk from customs, take it to the show...etc, etc. His girlfriend arrived the second day and then his time was tied up...but it was an enormous help to have him and a car for the first 2 days.
I hired a guy, Yohan Bismuth ( you can look him up in my friends) to help me with the show and I could not have been luckier. Handsome, nice, helpful, smart... we spent 12 hours a day together to get through the show, and we still liked each other at the end;) I don't think that anyone who has not done a trade show understands just how exhausting they are.It sounds glamorous, and there is that too, but they are VERY long days, on your feet with tons and tons of people that need your attention and very little time to eat or even look around. It was a group of exhibitors with THE BEST though, and it was an honor to have been included. Another woman from the States had been trying to get in for 3 years before she was accepted this year to show... and her things were great.So... yes...super cool to be in that group.
The view outside of the tent of the gardens was so beautiful. Even now in the fall the gardens have the most beautiful flowers; magenta with indigo blue and pinks. So, so, pretty. The show had a place with sit down lunch with tables, chairs, china, glasses, napkins...Americans don' do that. Everything stateside is disposable. There was wonderful food all day , every day; croissants, sandwiches in baguettes, original, salads, . What can I say...but... "sigh"....Paris.
I went to an art gallery opening in St. Germain de Pres the second night, the first night to Pershing Street Hotel Bar; which was very hip and cool... another night there were a couple of parties- one after another; a third night the bar at the Hotel Costes. I thought that it would have been easier to find out about parties and get in... but I was also exhausted. I mean I have the constitution of an ox... but EXHAUSTED..'Gay' Paris was just not manageable on a few hours of sleep a night with work all day. The fashion photographers say the same thing. They have to be lined up to get a spot at the shows at 7:30 a.m. and they are running around town all day to shoot...then at night they have to upload the images...so when is there time for anything else?! It's just not possible.
I finally got my Paris photo shoot on the last day of my trip, and saw a fashion show that morning.We did the shoot in the Tuileries, so we got some daylight shots, then a magical, amazing sunset because of the clouds and then some shots around the Louvre in the rain.That ended at 7:30, then to the photographer's hotel to download the pictures etc... so back to my hotel after 8:30 pm on the night before I left. That was my last day and my day off.
My head is still flooded with images of this trip with every word that I write. The view inside the tents, the gardens, the Rue de Rivoli, walking down the Faubourg, the charming little bistro in my neighborhood lit up, with welcoming warm lights in the rain at night- the laughing faces of friends I have made this week that I will keep for life; the 'knowing' that I have what it takes to make it in this group, in this venue. The acceptance and security and self confidence that all of this brings... the 'belonging' of knowing that I have found what I do well, and that I am doing it.