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Chanel, Balenciaga, Christian Dior, Hermes, Lanvin, Kenzo, Celine… It may sound like a wishlist, but anyone who has a slight interest in fashion knows that Paris Fashion Week has rolled into town. In the coming days, the designers and design houses will present their ideas for the season of spring and summer 2013 to buyers, fashion press and those interested in the world of glam.
It’s the second time I’m attending the fashion madness aka Paris fashion week. My first experience was last season and what an experience that was. I come from a small country where there are no real celebrities, no paparazzi and the biggest event you can sneak into is some kind of tv version of the Oscar’s. Nothing glamorous to see there unlike all the fuss that is going on around the fashion shows. It’s not just about the shows anymore. The media, bloggers in particular, changed that long time ago. So now, along with the presentation of what we’ll wear next season, there’s a whole other fashion show going on outside the venues. It can get a bit overwhelming from time to time.
Fashion editors, like Anna Dello Russo, Taylor Tomasi, Emmanuelle Alt and Christina Centenera, became not just style icons but real fashion celebrities. Photographers from all parts of the world are flocking into town to capture the most distinguished and creative styles. And where’s press there’s other who follow. Models, bloggers and fashion enthusiasts of all kinds all participate in this craziness. No wonder street sytle quickly bacame as important as the fashion week itself. My biggest suprise of all was the realization of how few of those people posing for a good shot were actually participating or being invited to the shows. Most of them were there just to make an apperance and get their name around. And me? Well… I was there to stalk models and that’s a whole other story.
Of course everyone wants to get in but that may sound easier that it actually is. As a journalist/blogger/fashion stylist (yeah, I know) I send about 80 emails every season to different PR agencies who cover fashion week for their brands. I get a reply from maybe 15 and most of them read something like this: »Thank you for your interest in the show. Unfortunately, due to space limitations in our venue, we regret to inform that we will be unable to accommodate you this season.« In translation that would mean that I’m simply not that important to have made the cut. A lot of brands send their invites without the effort to write back, so in the end I still have 10 invitations to the shows. Hope to get some more in the upcoming days.
For a journalist, experiencing the show is important. It gives you a deeper insight and it tells the whole story of the collection and the concept that the designer was envisioning. It’s so much different, more intense and more personal, than just going trough pictures online or seeing the clothes on store racks. After all, fashion is a way of expression and I won’t do it any harm if I refer to it as a form of art. Don’t agree? Just imagine the extraordinary Alexander McQueen, English designer whose label is being presented in Paris. Or Christian Dior or Yves Saint Laurent. The list could go on and on. Fashion design is no longer hanging just in stores, it’s increasingly making its way to museums. Fashion is without doubt our heritage and a part of our history. I’ve already mentioned Alexander McQueen, but his “Savage Beauty” exhibiton has just earned him the second mention. Recently there was also a Louis Vuitton Marc Jacobs exhibit in Paris’s Musée des Arts Décoratifs and you can still catch the Balenciaga & Comme des Garcons exhibition at Docks en Siene until 7th October.
Other than already established and round-the-world known fashion names, there are also new upcoming talents presenting, who are less known but aspiring and no less creative with their designs. Names like Impasee de la Défense, Fatima Lopes, Moon Young Hee, Le Moine Tricote and Steffie Christiaens may not sound as familiar as Elie Saab or Jean Paul Gaultier but they bring a fresh breeze to the otherwise already known and predictable esthetics of big fashion houses. In a way they are more free and therefore more open with their work. The first day of fashion week which is almost exclusively dedicated to fresh names. My bet is on Steffie Christiaens, who has interned at Balenciaga and Maison Martin Margiela. Her approach to design is simplicity when it comes to color, but richness of shape. It’s the perfect fusion of sculpture and clothing. While it may not be an everyday outfit, it will sure get you noticed.