Last Day in Paris...
Too many days have passed again without word from me..My apologies..but my plate is a bit full being the in-house designer, marketeer, courier, negotiator, salesperson and model/stylist .
My last day in Paris was a bit poignant. October the 6th...Edward James confirmed our photo shoot for that evening in the Tuilleries.....we were to meet in the bar at the Westin across the street. He also let me know that he had an invitation for me to attend on of the last fashion shows to be held in the ballroom at the Intercontinental, near the Opera. That meant I needed to be there at 9 am, and since my hotel was not close by, also have my things with me for the shoot at the end of the day.
The Intercontinental is beautiful old hotel with ornate gilded plasterwork and an old money crowd. I met Edward in the lobby where the house was hosting a continental breakfast for the attendees. .. and then into the show. I have been to my share of fashion shows, but it was great to see one during fashion Week in Paris. Edward was a wealth of information, being the owner of FASHION WATCH.com... and a runway photographer for years. He said that the Channel show in the Grand Palais was the best he had ever seen ; an amazing, magical spectacle. I was green that I couldn't have access and see it for myself, but happy to have a first hand account.
The show was pretty brief....about 40 minutes beginning to end, and in my opinion the clothes were unpectacular...then I was off to Le Printemps to have my makeup done for the day... and hoping it would look half decent by 6 pm when Edward and I were supposed to shoot. This was Fashion Week...so did I mention...no cabs, no restaurant reservations... and no stylists or makeup artists with any free time. Hence my appointment at Le Printemps at the Dior counter. In the States, you may be obliged to buy some makeup or the service, but in Paris, this sets you back 95 euro.
I had worn high heel booties to the fashion show, and now had those in my bag, and lace up flat boots to walk through Le Marais a bit before lunch with Yohan to say goodbye.
It was rainy and overcast, but I love that neighborhood, because it isn't a s touristy and I got to feel like a Parisian for a few hours. We met at this concept store called MERCY. It is owned by the family that has Bonpoint children's clothes ( wonderful, beautiful fine baby clothes)All of the proceeds from the store go directly to needy children in Madagascar. Every penny. I don't know why Paris is ground zero for concept stores( think Colette, L'Eclaireur) but I think that it is the way to go.. and that this family sees it as an opportunity to do good around the world with retail revenue is awesome.
There are more men's fashion lines, shows and accessories than ever before, but it seems like fashion week and the core of stylists, models, designers, photographers... are all geared towards one thing- celebrating and enhancing women's beauty. Now.....who am I to point fingers, being that in -house-model for my company, and also someone who loves fashion and the self expression it brings. I do see it as self-expression though- not status. One of the reasons I started to design my own things was one...I loved the ability to make my own creations.But number two was, since I did always get attention for my style, I wasn't going to be a walking billboard for anyone...except myself. I knew that my company had a value system, a code of honor, that was intrinsic and intentional to the DNA of my brand.; embedded in the designs. The others I see create pretty, and beautiful things that are more about superficial ornament, than about an extension of self with the outer shell.
Lunch was great. Yohan and I got along so well, and I know will stay connected for life. One of those wonderful and rare, special friendships that come along once in a while.So sitting outside, at a sidewalk cafe on a cloudy, rainy Paris afternoon in the Marais, eating lovely, real bistro fare food with good company was my last meal in Paris. It doesn't get more French than that.
Then I had to get back to the Westin to meet Edward for our shoot. I got there and sat in the bar to watch reruns of the fashion shows on the bar television and wait for him. He was running late, because the shows were running late. He had shot Louis Vuitton after our morning fashion show and this was his second to last day of shooting. He had fit me in , after NY, London, Milan and now Paris. I don't know how the photographers do it. It is a brutal pace to keep up for over a month, twice a year. I didn't ask, but I'm pretty sure he missed the Miu Miu show to do my shoot for me. A very good guy.
When he arrived we talked over what I wanted, I went to change, and we walked across the street to the gardens. The first shots we still had daylight... and I was worried that we would be shooting at night.Looking at the images during and after the shoot,I'm so, so glad that we did shoot as the sun was setting because the cloudy skies and brooding clouds added an element of magic and drama that daylight just could not have.
By now it was 8 pm, I hadn't eaten since lunch, ( I don't know about Edward) my cold was going full force and my feet were aching from walking all day and walking through the gardens for two hours in high heels. My cold was not helped by walking around in the cold and rain for two hours in a little low cut dress either. But I look at those images...the magic of those images and I count myself so fortunate to have this incredible, beautiful imagery to go back to for the rest of my life - of this very special time in Paris.