3 years ago I Googled “What to expect in Paris Fashion Week” as ridiculous as it sounds, believe it or not that’s what I Googled before flying to Paris to attend my first ever Fashion week. I was completely blank, I didn’t know what to expect, what is it like there, I didn’t know what to wear, should I wear heels or strut comfortable in flats? Should I dress like a press or blogger or what?
There were very limited amount of information and I had a hard time researching and I’m all about that #researchlyfe before heading on a work trip. On top of that I’ve been following Michelle Phan instead of Chiara Ferragni so how in the world I know anything about Paris Fashion Week? Sure I know what it is but never in a million years I imagine that I’m about to attend one.
The best way to explain it is I’m Elle from Legally Blonde is about to enter the world of The Devil Wears Prada. I’m into fashion, I love to dress up, I love clothes and shoes but I can’t tell the difference between Chloe SS 2012 and Chloe SS 2011, do you get I what I mean? If you’d ask me to explain the history of MAC Viva Glam, instantly I would list the celebrities who have been involved in the campaign but don’t test my fashion knowledge. It’s a whole another industry in which I enjoy but never fully understood and all of that is about to change after my trip.
When I open Instagram and Snapchat today, it is FLOODDED with Paris Fashion Week feed and since all of you dummies are tapping through each snap in your boring little classroom I thought why not share my experience, how my whole perspective of fashion has completely changed, how words and images can’t really describe the most historical week in fashion and if by chance someday, you’re attending one just remember my post and hopefully you’ll thank me later.
How It’s really like…
Before I ramble on about how I met Rachel Zoe and took a picture with Anna Wintour let me tell you the basics: Paris Fashion week usually begins late September and run through until early October, the event usually starts mid September in New York then continue in London then Milan and “ends” in Paris. Even though other cities also hold Fashion Week but the major players in the fashion industry LIVE & DIE in the 4 cities event, basically whatever trends and couture the week showcase will determine the FUTURE of fashion. So that mesh dress shirt you see in Forever 21 probably inspired by Givenchy SS 2014 runway. Not to mention the week is not only filled with industry players but also media, celebrities, bloggers, buyers and anyone you can think of (yes that includes the eye candy ushers in every show).
Fashion week be like…
September 2012 was not my first time visiting the city of love but it was my first experiencing early fall in Paris and it was beautiful. You have the slightest breeze of winter yet that summer sunshine still warms your beautiful bronzed cheeks. You can still get away strutting through Avenue Montaigne with a light jacket and doesn’t have to worry about snuggling up in layers of scarves. It was just the perfect fashion month, no wonder September has always been “the” issue in fashion world.
Obviously fashion week is all about the fashion shows but when I was there everything else that revolves around the fashion show was mind blowing, from the press previews, street style hunting, the guests, the after parties and not to mention the VENUES, O M G even up until now I can’t get over how beautiful the venues were, you have Loewe in Grand Palais, Chloe in Jardins de Tuileries, Staccato in a stylish industrial building and every other places that you can’t even think of were transformed in to a well sought fashion venue. Everyone who came was so STYLISH (duh) and we are not talking about some basic bitches here, we’re talking about really stylish bitches that can rock ASOS to ALAIA and during that time of the month Paris people flew from all over the world, some for Fashion week and some just love the view of fashionistas and A-listers scattered around, if you’re lucky you can catch Taylor Swift in between shows (I’m not kidding).
Our Schedule For The Week
The Fashion Shows…
Thanks to FIMELA I was lucky enough to be attending 3 shows during Paris Fashion week the first one was Loewe which took place in Grand Palais. The venue itself was beautiful, with or without fashion week so I really didn’t mind standing in line 15 minutes earlier before the show, everything was so well organized and you can see street style Paparazzi lining up to get perfect shots of guests with amazing style, Diana Rikasari instantly become the papz favorites they were snapping photos of her and writing down her details. It was so interesting to see all this in real life. The first show taught me that THE REAL fashion show only takes 45 minutes MAX, unlike in Indonesia, it can take up to 2 hours (plus ngaret…macet.. pidato.. sponsor.. dll) in Paris people were there for the show, it was magic, it was art.
Grand Palais by day via Pinterest
Love this pic of us taken from Diana’s Blog
The second show I attended was Staccato which took place in an industrial building in Rue Du Mail this fashion show was a bit different from the previous one, this one is modern & edgy and you have guests coming in from Tokyo with a Kenzo Snapback & ballerina skirt or a tall model from Moscow with a goth lip.
I had my first photo taken with a fashion papz on this show (YAY) HAHA but I think that papz was from Zimbabwe so my photo never got published, you have no idea how how it feels for your personal style to be acknowledged you guys hahahahaha.. when in Paris unless you’re Miroslava Duma think outside the box, you never know who you’ll bump into!
The 3rd show, the most glamorous, fanciest, loveliest show of them all was Elie Saab in Jardins des Tuileries. This puts the cherry on top of everything. For VIP guests, they arrive in their black Mercedes in front of the entrance and we were lucky to see everyone arriving. That was the first time I saw Taylor Swift, tall, blonde & glowing quickly entered the venue surrounded by bodyguards. After all the VIP were settled in then it was time for the rest of us to enter and as though all the star studded view wasn’t enough we were greeted with dozens of 6 foot men lining up in their suit all well groomed, chiseled cheeks(they’re probably gay but whatever) ushering us to the designated areas, “Bonjour Mademoiselle” one of them greeted, and all I can think of was.. Holy mother of God this is going to be a good show.
Jardins Des Tuileries by day via Pinterest
Elie Saab SS 2013
Post Elie Saab OOTD
The Press Previews…
Now other than the shows, this was actually my second most favorite thing about Paris Fashion Week. Again, thanks to FIMELA we were able to attend the press previews for SS 2013 collections of Christian Dior, Christian Louboutin, Lanvin, Newbark, Roger Vivier etc which have not been published or showcased in any other part of the world. We were the first human being to see the collection (okay I’m exagerrating but you know what I mean) and on some press previews like Christian Louboutin we had to sign an undisclosed agreement which states that NO photo should be published or we’ll get sued. That was the first time I saw a pair of studded baby pink pigalle, and you have no idea how excited I was and not allowed to post anything #thestruggleisreal.
Each brands showcased their collection in different places, some took place in their main flagship store yet some took place in just the most amazing & beautiful hidden gem in Paris. My most memorable one was the press preview of Newbark, it took place in this beautiful old building and we had to take many stairs to the top level, and it was my first time smelling Diptyque’s Geranium Rosa candle. That scent lingers on me the whole presentation, and the cute little space was this…. cozy.. a bit undone parisien chic which I still can’t over up until now.
Another memorable one was Vika Gazinskaya which took place in a hotel suite, same like Newbark both are not French designers but they take the opportunity of Paris Fashion Week to showcase their collection for press and potential buyers and they pay attention to the small details, they really made sure we had a memorable visit.
Not all press previews are as intimate though, some goes big and pictures were actually allowed to be published like Roger Vivier and Dior. I remember sipping on the free flow champagne and munching on Canapes each time I got tired. Then I’d continue trying on shoes, bags, accessories and taking endless photos because no one will be able to wear it until next summer! The funny thing was every press preview I always thought “what da hell is this collection” then 1 year later everyone was wearing it hahaha. Always remember to think ahead while you’re there! That metallic pumps may look ridiculous now but not next summer!
I was on that fashion week diet prior leaving for the trip, because in my head I just have this vivid image of tall skinny European girls running around in their heels and little to my surprise when I arrive it was completely the opposite. The guests for fashion week were so diverse and to be honest, size 0 policy didn’t really apply. It does apply for the models but not for the guests. No matter what your size, as long as you have a distinct stylish persona, most probably you’ll be snapped by a street papz.
I remember doing my “live reports” before the Chloe show and snapping street styles, and most of the time I got fooled by posers. I thought they were guests but they’re just pretty girls lounging around in fashionable clothes just waiting to get their 5 minutes Instafame. What I learnt from them is that, YOU just gotta BRING IT when it comes to fashion week, the confidence, the style and most importantly you gotta keep it cooool and not cocky.
The best way to meet and network with people is through the press previews and in between shows, just like us, the A-listers wouldn’t pass a good Parisien cafe, you can spot fashion editors, bloggers, celebrities in nearby hotels or coffeeshop. This is not something I planned nor know before leaving for the trip but just to name a few I bumped into Rachel Zoe sipping on latte in the lobby of Le Meurice Hotel and Anna Wintour during Roger Vivier so best chances are you’ll meet them there!
Anna Delo Russo
If you ever wonder how can people survive in high heels during fashion week, well as I mentioned above most of the VIPs were dropped off at the main entrance so they don’t really have to walk but I survived by bringing an extra pair of flats. Maintaining a stylish image while you’re there is important but comfort is also important, so make sure you strategize & plan your day in order to get the most out of it.
This is what really happened:
My trustee Prada Flats to the rescue
I’m writing this because you’ll never know where life takes you and maybe you’ll be going to Paris Fashion Week next year! Who knows! It would’ve been a better post if I did it LIVE rather than 3 years later, but since Paris I went to other fashion weeks and the experience is simply not the same, I mean.. Who could beat a runway inside Grand Palais?! Paris Fashion Week was a lovely, fun & unforgettable moment in my life. Thank you FIMELA who made the trip happen.
Remember, always love what you do and it will love you right back 🙂
Missing my PFW 2012 Girls
Andra Alodita, Diana Rikasari, Agnes Oryza (and ofcourse Mba Dien, Mba Lolet & Didi)
*all photos are taken by yours truly & the FIMELA team, please credit if you wish to repost them 🙂