Paris Fashion Week Unzipped

Seven days, twelve designers - a voyeur’s diary

(page 2 of 4)


AT THE LOUVRE: Chicago Fashion director Stacey Jones (left) and associate editor Elisabeth Fourmont

There is a last-minute surprise: Stacey Jones, the director of Chicago Fashion, is delayed by meetings and will have to miss the first couple of days this week, which means that I can shimmy into her seat instead of using my own “standing” assignments. Forget worries of stamina—I wonder if I’ll have enough to wear.

YOHJI YAMAMOTO Some shows blast rap music so loud that your fillings hurt, but Yohji starts with a model wheeling
a suitcase down the runway, the room silent except for the shutters of the 50 or so photographers. What starts as a riff on Louis Vuitton logomania (model and luggage are decked out in head-to-toe logos) ends as a lovely bit of drama: The skirts twirl and swirl via a hidden mechanical wonder.
I am flat-out breathless. This is exactly what the art-school students would have wanted to see.

Across the runway in the front row, I spy a smiling Ikram Goldman, the owner of one of Chicago’s top boutiques, Ikram, with her husband, Josh, and her colleague Shane Petyko. This might be a good place to mention how seating works: Buyers and the press put in their requests, and based on a few factors (their relationship with the house, how much of the designer’s work they’ve photographed for print or purchased recently, and variances in the weather), they are assigned a seat. It’s a visible ranking system, as in the army. Ikram’s placement reveals the kind of power she holds in the eyes of this designer.

VALENTINO I know that the Valentino show is about to begin because the girl in front of me (I recognize her as a Voguette) is running. I follow her matchstick legs and miniskirt (all the Vogue Paris girls seem to wear black miniskirts, tights, and Balenciaga ankle boots—they’re not really about individuality, but gosh they look good) and zip through the hallways of the Louvre.

When we arrive, the show is packed and I’m made to sit on the steps just outside of my row. Halfway through the show, a PETA protester begins stripping in front of the cameras in one of the most talked-about stunts of the week. She gets all the way nude, save for a sign that reads i’d rather be naked than wear fur before she is tackled by the Cravates Rouges (the Fashion Week security officials) and escorted out through the aisle where I’m sitting.

The protestor certainly picked the right music to get naked to. This show has my favorite soundtrack of any all week. They’ve mixed Kim Carne’s “Bette Davis Eyes” with Amy Winehouse’s “Rehab” for very sexy results.

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