Some days are better than others.
Ones which include images and experiences that make up for an entire month worth of stories. This is how I experience Paris Fashion Week, these nine days where anything can happen!
I have previously written how I managed to get into Paris fashion shows and how Fashion Weeks became my passion (for those who missed it, you can read here.) But this time round I chose to focus on a selective travelogue, because this year was a bit different.
Generally, every six months I run from one show to another and I visit as many presentations as possible. It’s a really crazy and exhausting program no matter how much I enjoy it (unlike my feet that don’t enjoy it at all). But during this Fashion Week for Autumn-Winter 2017, I was with my friend Silia, a Greek photographer who lives in Vienna. So, I decided to experience fashionable Paris mostly away from the catwalks and I only attended the ones I found most interesting.
Are you ready to travel with me to the craziest Parisian period?
This is how my Paris Fashion Week rolled out…
My first stop was the Hotel Le Pavillon in the rue Saint Dominique, one of the most picturesque streets of Paris. Here we were offered a cute suite in the hotel so as to be close to the shows. Rue Saint Dominique is in the 7th district, near Grand and Petit Palais and Palais de Tokyo, spaces more preferable for the shows. I loved this white room and it felt like home. But the best of all was returning every night to the hotel and popping into the Eiffel tower which was sparkling like magic.
Waking up early and sleeping late is kind of mandatory during Fashion Week, but who cares? Everything else has stopped. My first show was the colorful Indian designer Manish Arora with his cosmic love. In celebration of his tenth anniversary, this collection took us on a visual journey that spanned from the tribes of Africa into the outer reaches of the cosmos. Astrological embroidery of shooting stars and golden sunrays adorn silk crepe drawstring dresses and cropped denim jackets and intricately embroidered heavenly bodies aligned in glittering galaxies for the stellar forecast full of cosmic love.
The perfect debut to Fashion Week.
Between the shows I like whizzing around town and visiting my favourite places in the city of lights. So, after Manish, I went for a walk to Île de la Cité to capture the most instagrammed restaurant Au Vieux Paris d’ Arcole and then to Île Saint–Louis to eat burgers at Saint-Regis, a place the fashionable world loves.
My next show was Pascal Millet, which started with live background piano music. La femme Pascal Millet is elegant, sophisticated yet modern, confident and utterly feminine. She is “quintessentially Parisian” says the note on my chair. And I imagine her exactly like that. A woman who wears youthful looking dresses and jackets wearable for day and night. She walks her dog in the streets and parks of Paris, goes to her usual cafes, and loves “Diner en ville”. She enjoys nightlife, chic restaurants and the Opera, as well as dancing in a buzzing Parisian Club.
I also received an invitation for a Fashion party at Le Kong. On the 5th floor of a Haussmann building, every window boasts a different view: the Pont Neuf, Henri Sauvage’s Art Deco design of the Samaritan building, Art Nouveau by Frantz Jourdain, the Seine, the Louis Vuitton HQ… You may know the restaurant from Sex and the City, where Carrie met the ex-wife of the Russian but below there is a classy bar, with female face prints on the chairs as well. Le Kong was for years my favourite place for dancing. I used to go with my Greek girlfriends who lived in Paris and danced all night long. So I have excellent memories and I don’t miss the chance to visit it again even if my friends are not in Paris any more. But beware. Cocktails are succulent but as pricey as the roof is high.
Another highlight of this Fashion Week was the presentation of the Italian shoe designer Cesare Paciotti at the hotel Plaza Athenée. It’s always a pleasure to visit this kind of luxury hotel, even if it’s only for an event. Entering the space of the presentation felt like I found the promised land (of shoes)! I grabbed a glass of champagne and went straight to shoes. I swear I could have run away with these fur sandals.
After this presentation we got the chance with Silia to discover the Peninsula’s afternoon tea at “Le Lobby”, a Belle Epoque dream! From the ambience and the live jazz trio to the incredible sweets, everything was perfect and the relaxing moment that we got to spend at Le Lobby in this iconic hotel was very appreciated after our busy day.
The following day, Silia proposed we to go to a showroom with many brands because she knew the PR Manager Julia. We were really close, so I didn’t check the brands, I just said “yes” and opened my umbrella (God played a joke on us with torrential rain almost every day). By surprise I discovered 3 Greek brands there, Evi Grintela, Ancient Kallos and Di Gaia. Because Greeks are everywhere!
Evi Grintela is a renowned style icon and a former Editor in Chief of L’Officiel and Vogue Hellas. Her exquisite capsule collection “The Shirt Dress” is based on the idea of the timeless iconic, high quality well-cut shirt that combines sensual elegance and intellectual simplicity, in feather soft cotton and luxe silk.
Lamprini and Stella are two sisters from Thessaloniki who are behind the first purely Greek Resort wear brand Ancient Kallos, a name deriving from the ancient Greek word for beauty, “kallos”. A series of beach wear like kaftans and pareos and beach towels make up the highlights of the collection, for women who love summer and know how to enjoy holidays.
And in the end I fell in love with Di Gaia, a high-end footwear brand, designed by Elvira Panagiotopoulou, -born in Athens and educated in Paris and Milan-, and hand-made by the finest artisans in Tuscany. The name of the brand is inspired by Gaia (Γαῖα), the primal Mother Earth Goddess, Di Gaia reflects the inner strength that women were given instinctively by nature. With these shoes, -hell yeah!- we are strong.
It was about time to eat, so we went to a new hip restaurant called Daroco with a mirror ceiling, great for photos. In the beginning they told us unfortunately there were no tables available. But then I saw a Greek friend of mine, with a company of Greeks (it’s not by chance that Greeks are found in the same places). She gave me the most valuable information. “The girl at the entrance is Greek” (it sounded like music to my ears.) So, we spoke to her in Greek and guess what, she immediately found us a table. There are some times that Greece is the medium! (Her name is Sissy, don’t forget it.)
Last but not least at Paris Fashion Week, my favorite designer, the Russian Valentin Yudashkin. I don’t miss a show of his. This year he changed his location, from the Westin Paris to Palais de Tokyo, a key-movement because this collection was far more minimalistic, but with a luxury (Russian) twist, as he had some “grande” outfits that turned heads.
I could continue writing about my walkways through fashionable Paris, the shopping windows at rue Montaigne, Parisian cafés and the eccentric characters of this fashion world that I never tire of but it would be yet another 1500 words and I should keep my energy for next Paris Fashion Week.
I will surely need it!
*All images by Polina Paraskevopoulou (Copyright)