This is Paris Fashion Week. Let me tell you, there’s nothing quite like a Paris Fashion Week in February. Cold and wet, and there’s nothing between your blood and the city’s cacophony. Gales blasting between buildings. Sudden, out-of-the-blue tempests. Rumbling motorcycles. Honking horns. The sound of high heels a-click-clacking. And everywhere, paparazzi cameras a-popping. Heck, even the pigeons rock street style-worthy poses. But what an eyeful on the runways! I’ll take it all!
Here’s the deal
Ever since I bought my first copy of Vogue at age 12, I’d dreamt about attending the Paris fashion shows, and I’m so thankful that that dream eventually came true. By now, with several past years’ shows under my belt, I know the velvet ropes routine, and can actually enjoy just being there, no matter how frightful things may be outside.
Naturally I’m always thrilled if I get to be on the front row (if I’m lucky), but I don’t worry a bit if I find myself being directed high up toward the standing-room-only platforms (the shows are only fleeting things—10 or 15 minutes at most—and the bird eye’s view is actually better from there).
First stop? My first show of the year: Victoria/Tomas
While I try to focus not only on the catwalks but also take in the bigger picture, I have to confess that I fell hard for this collection—literally. Note to self: When trying to channel your inner-Anna Wintour, slide on the cat-eyed sunglasses after you’ve found your place, not as you are making your grand entrance. Yes, I tripped in the dim lighting just before the show launched in a brilliant flash. So much for trying to be starlet cool.
Victoria/Tomas: Poetry in motion
Down in the basement of the Palais de Tokyo, dream team Victoria Feldman and Tomas Berzins celebrated the City of Light at night. “This collection is about our love of Paris, and faith in a bright future,” they told the crowd. So yes, I not only tumbled flat on the new red carpet, but also fell for every piece in the collection. That’s something I’ve never felt after any previous show. Let me share a few favorites.
Accessories: Goat as Heck
Please forgive the soft focus; my hands were a-trembling at the kinetic beauty. My eye spied: feathers, fringe, red trench coats, boots in chains, bucket hats, and again more fringe and feathers, too. But the real knockout round for this outerwear junkie was the finale. Each model strutted back through with umbrella held high. The crowd went wild, which doesn’t always happen. For the love of the movie, Parapluies de Cherbourg, I cried. I actually sobbed. I’m still floating, though, so hallelujah to all that. Let it rain, let it pour, I say.
Lastly: My PFW survival secret
What this Wonder Woman needs on a regular basis is not a telephone booth in which to don her cape and shiny belt but a comfy bus stop shelter with seating, perfect for making the quick switch from the cushy white lunar platform sneakers that get me from one venue to the next to my oh-so-hip, pointy matte red “Old Town Road”-inspired boots for the final few meters to the entrance.
They may look great but leave me thinking, it’s no wonder cowboys had horses—those boots were made for riding (and for showing off), not for hoofing it in the rues. After each runway show, as soon as I’m out of sight of the venue, it’s back to my bouncy white sneakers, so I can keep catwalk-hopping in comfort ’til I can’t no more.
As the late, great designer Christian Dior himself said, “In this machine age, which esteems convention and uniformity, fashion is the ultimate refuge of the human, the personal, and the inimitable. Even the most outrageous innovations should be welcomed, if only because they shield us against the shabby and the humdrum.”
Oh, you said it, Mr. Dior. Sneakers may be an outrageous innovation, but they do shield me from the cobblestones.