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Paris’s Most Fashionable Venues (Valentino, Andrew Gn, Lanvin, and Akris)

Fashion Week involves much back and forth across the city, and when shows aren’t held at the Louvre or Tuileries (blessedly uncomplicated central locations), it means more planning. But sometimes the distant venues are so gorgeous you forget the extra time it took to get there…

Fashion Week involves much back and forth across the city, and when shows aren’t held at the Louvre or Tuileries (blessedly uncomplicated central locations), it means more planning. But sometimes the distant venues are so gorgeous you forget the extra time it took to get there.

Valentino yesterday was at the Cite de l’architecture at place du Trocadero, and there were more editors twittering about the lovely space than the clothes. “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” played while models walked past friezes of Romanesque churches in ’60s silk dresses with crystal beading and, as the press material mentions, “unreal furs” (a phrase that invokes princesses if I ever heard one). Even if some say the Valentino design team hasn’t found its way yet, the light caught the silk, and there it was: beauty.

Andrew Gn on Sunday morning took me to the Ecole des Beaux-Arts (the premier art school in Paris) in the Saint Germain district. Under the meditative beauty of the high-domed room, we watched a soigné, cool and restrained show. Not to say there weren’t some over-the-top designs—like a fitted, one-shoulder, mermaid strapless gown that Chicago designer/buyer Mark Gill loved.

Not everyone was happy to go to a large garage in the far-flung 13th arrondissement for the Lanvin show. But when Alber Elbaz sent out perfectly Parisian looks on a wet pavement runway, your mind was transported—as if you were watching the most fashionable street come to life. Elbaz always tries to take the woman from morning to evening, but that doesn’t mean he can’t do it with brocade, satin, gold studs, and swathes of fur. Look 49, a sort of loose brocaded turtleneck over a fitted skirt showed that embellished fabrics in the right shape can look youthful as well. There were so many fabulously simple black dresses with that little extra touch. Let’s be honest: most of us women at the show were probably shopping mentally the entire time.

Akris was at the ethereal Musée de l’Homme (a museum that displays the evolution of man). The simple architectural beauty of Swiss designer Albert Kriemler was perfect for this venue, with its huge windows and plentiful light. Gorgeous.

Leaving the Akris show at Place du Trocadero with the Tour Eiffel before us, we felt obliged to snap this cheesy group shot. (With Chicagoan Mark Gill, Stacey Jones our fashion director, their friend Fay, and myself.)

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