A la mode

IMG_3066Why yes, please. I’d love that with some ice cream.

That’s what happens when you live here too long. Silly little things turn into abstract bi-lingualisms that are funny to one and no one else. The ultimate inside joke.


NOTE// no photos were allowed, but I was feeling a little criminal, so a stole a few. Enjoy!

IMG_3098 A craving for frozen sugar & fat isn’t what’s put me in such a giddy mood, it’s fashion! Yesterday, I headed to the Art Deco-glorious Palais de la Porte Dorée Musée de l’Histoire de l’Immigration, which is a really long name for a very cool museum on immigration to France. They’ve got artifacts and fish. Yes fish. Because there is an aquarium, too. We didn’t have time to visit it, but my museum date, Karen, started wondering if maybe the fish were all imported, making them immigrants of a sort, too.

We were at the musée to see their latest show, Fashion Mix; local fashion from foreign designers.

Lately, pundits are bemoaning that French ingenuity is dying, or has emigrated to London (the French are calling it the second largest city in France which is funny/tragic on so many levels…). Financial crisis, Charlie Hebdo, an extended “Sales” Season. Paris is going through a time of Existential Angst. But then the pundits site the fashion industry, naming all the foreign designers leading the great French Fashion houses; Lagerfeld at Chanel, Elbaz at Lanvin, Simons at Dior, Slimane at YSL…. the list does seem to get depressingly long very quickly. We’re doomed!

Fashion Mix sets that logic on it’s ear, celebrating the art and creativity brought to French fashion houses since fashion went retail. The show starts with a reminder that the man who first took dressmaking from the lower classes and made it high class was Charles Worth. Vurt? A Frenchman would pronounce, awkwardly. It is rather a mouthful for a Français, because Mister Worth was très, très anglais.

Mr Worth was in Paris working for drapers, but made dresses for his co-worker/wife on the side. Clients would see her gorgeous garb and ask for one of their own. Their French bosses were not impressed and didn’t think it was a very good idea when Worth suggested they go into dress making, so he found a Swedish investor, started dressing Princess Eugènie and a multi-billion dollar, Parisian industry was born.They show Elsa Schiaparelli’s request for citizenship, Cristobàl Balenciaga’s official Basque documents, passports, and papers from designers that have flooded French fashion from Europe, Asia and Africa.

The show goes on to display all the great French fashion designed by passionate Francophiles. It is the ultimate cocktail party with Comme des Garçons dancing by Ann Demeulemeester, Jean Dessès taking a spin by Mariano Fortuny. Old mixes with new, the traditionally staid with the avant garde.


Creative entries in the guest book show I wasn’t the only one inspired by the show…

After the show, we’d planned on finding a charming café nearby for some serious girl time, but the Palais was so 1930’s beautiful with mosaic floors and mural dressed walls, we didn’t want to leave. And we didn’t have to because they have a perfect little salon with an excellent tea by Thé des Ecrivains. Sat there chatting, watch the snow flutter by, dreaming of the summer when we’ll be back to appreciate their lovely terrace, over looking the entrance to the Bois de Vincennes.

The party goes on until May 31st, so if you happen to be in Paris, put on your party shoes and cha cha out to the surprising Palais at the Porte Dorée.

Chanel Fashion Week

Screen shot 2014-10-02 at 6.03.32 PMThere is a charming French film called Fauteuils d’Orchestre, which translates to Orchestra Seats, but came out in English as Avenue Montaigne, which is where all the drama unfolds. Impish Cecile de France, perhaps the best named actress in all of filmdom star in this poetic romcom. The movie begins with Cecile’s grandmother explaining she had to live surrounded by luxury, but as she had no money, she chose to work as the dame de piScreen shot 2014-10-02 at 6.03.05 PMpi, or bathroom monitor at the sumptuous Ritz hotel. I think of Mme Pipi often in my life as a journalist, honored to work in extraordinary circumstances, with a privileged peek into another world.

Screen shot 2014-10-02 at 6.02.45 PM Screen shot 2014-10-02 at 6.02.30 PM Screen shot 2014-10-02 at 6.02.18 PM Screen shot 2014-10-02 at 6.02.05 PM Screen shot 2014-10-02 at 6.01.49 PM Screen shot 2014-10-02 at 6.01.35 PM Screen shot 2014-10-02 at 6.01.25 PM Screen shot 2014-10-02 at 6.01.15 PM Screen shot 2014-10-02 at 6.01.04 PM Screen shot 2014-10-02 at 6.00.52 PMTuesday was a particularly spectacular day. Even the weather conspired to ensure absolute perfection as I headed out the door to shoot the crowds sauntering into the Grand Palais for the Chanel show. So much eye candy! As I shot, I thought of the grandmother and started to look around at my colleagues, the other photographers. A bunch of dandies if I ever saw a bunch of dandies. And I thought of my friend Joseph the Butler, a true Beau Brummel. It seems to me that many of the people who work for the rich and famous end up being the true trend setters, guiding them is what’s hot and what really shouldn’t be. The fashion paparazzi are dedicated to following la mode across the globe, developing an educated eye and indubitable style. After all it’s easy to look like a million when you have a million, but these men and women make fabulous happen with little more than their own inspirational creativity. So this season, I turned around from the stars and socialites to shoot them, the guys and gals who really have it going on.

Because the day had made its promises, I left the crowd to visit the opening of the Hokusai exhibition next door. Which was so fun, it deserves a post of its own. And next week I’ll tell you about meeting the Prince….

Fashion with a passion


Woot! Woot! Inès was in the house. Roger Vivier’s house for Vogue Fashion Night Out, that is. Absolutely stunning in white pants and a flowing white top, her equally gorgeous daughter in tow. No photos, although the lovely Melissa of Prête-Moi Paris was there and gamely offered to play photographer.

P1080047 P1080046This year, I went out with daughter E and the quite elegant actress/dance Thais, a Brazilian with her own Mr French. We started the evening chez RV, savouring the Ruinart champagne, great music by Yasmine Hamdan, Faty Sy Savanet et Alice Lewis, and mouth watering fashion eye candy. Good thing that stuff is calorie free!!!

It’s such a wonderful party, we could have stayed all night, but the place was packed and Paris is enjoying a very late summer, so we left to get some air.  Next stop Sartore. Like a bucket of ice water in the face, the doorman gave me a hard time about trying to bring along my own invitee (the invites are for two guest), but let us in, anyway. Their space is ab fab, in a cobble courtyard of a 19th century mansion, with plenty of air and the right accoustics to get the party rolling. But the crowd. So sad. There about 12 people trying to look like they were having fun to  sounds being orchestrated by an excellent dj at the plate. Where were the crowds of adoring Sartore boot lovers? Me thinks they’d gone elsewhere once they realized that the champagne was reserved for the owners and their personal friends. Why send an invite if the guest isn’t welcome? Not très chic, mes amis !

P1080049 P1080053Back out on the street, it looked like a Saturday night. It was such a fun crowd, in the greatest garb. Nothing could make us leave. Except maybe the promise of chocolate. Some really exceptional chocolate from the newest Pierre Marcolini boutique. The man may not be French, but he sure knows how to seduce a woman. There was a handsome greeter at the door, shaking guests hands and welcoming them in to the bright little boutique where we were plied with champagne, offered a taste of cocoa infusion and offered endless trays of chocolate, including his famous red hearts with a raspberry truffle filling. We were smitten.

Unable to resist the man’s sweet nothings, the situation became desperate, either we left, or we were going to explode. We left and head across the street to Moynat for some absolutely scrumptuous cocktails starring Henessey cognac. I was a big sceptic, but couldn’t resist the crystal tumblers sprouting funny thyme do’s. I have to say, I’m a fan! The cognac gave my drink a smokey hint that was almost creamy. Dreamy! And our favorite moment of the night was watching Moynat’s charming Japanese artist paint original icons onto their fun totes.

P1080061Ready for home, we headed on our way, passing an impromptu catwalk on the way. Fickle as 7 year old girls at recess, we decided that THIS was our favorite moment, watching hopeful fashionistas take center stage on the treadmill to strut their stuff for the world. And oh, what a big, glorious world it was last night!!!

Feeling kawai at the Bon Marché

Screen shot 2014-09-04 at 11.45.14 AMThe entire city is feeling something like Dorothy moments before her house lands on that witch; in a daze, with hearts thumping as we hurtle through space. “C’est la rentrée”, we say, the beginning of The Season. Theaters announce their calendar for the year, museums unveil their latest exhibitions, boutiques put out their new collections. Invitations roll in, galleries competing with shops, museums facing off museums, for a bit of attention from the general public. Screen shot 2014-09-04 at 11.45.56 AMThere is the Maison et Objets home design convention with Paris Fashion Week just around the corner, sandwiched between the Nuits Blanches cultural all nighter and the Journée des Patrimoines cultural heritage to weekend.

The Bon Marché hosted the very first event this week, putting on a soirée celebrating all things Japan. Arriving at 8:45 for an 8:30 invitation, I was surprised to see a long line of patient Parisians waiting to enter. Surprised because Parisians rarely wait in line, especially not the privileged fashion crowd with invitations to private cocktails parties at the Bon Marché. But everyone seemed clear that the night would be worth the wait. Or perhaps they knew that trying to cut in this line would be much like trying to swim with sharks in chum filled waters.

After a nearly fatal pile up at the escalator, we found ourselves on the 2nd floor in a mad crush of people, the air growing humid with body heat. Keeping our priorities straight, we hunted down some champagne before checking out the 9 minute film on Benesse Art Site Naoshima, an ambitious art project that covers three islands in Japan.

Screen shot 2014-09-04 at 11.47.44 AM Screen shot 2014-09-04 at 11.45.30 AMLarge, red globes evoking Japanese lanterns divided the sales floor in to a collection of pop up boutiques like a series of rising suns, featuring beauty products, gourmet specialty and home decor. At every cash register there was an opportunity to buy a good-luck bracelet, the proceeds going to help earthquake victims.

Guests had gone to great effort getting dressed for the event, brands had invested a great amount of time putting out their most exciting collections, but it was hard to see all the fashion through the crowd, and impossible to photograph it.

The rooms were hot, the crowd dense, but I was thrilled to be part of the history first created by Aristide Boucicault in the 19th century. He was the founder of the world’s first department store, the Bon Marché, and the one to dream up these extravagant cultural events celebrating the world to bring shoppers in, and stir them into a shopping frenzy. I felt like I was in Zola’s novel, Ladies Paradise, watching people gather around for a free taste of sake, an introduction to Japanese whiskey, a sample of sparkling tea.

Screen shot 2014-09-04 at 11.47.04 AMAs we left, a group of women were playing taiko drums in the fragrance department, their beats vibrating through my core, sending the blood rushing to my head, dizzy with excitement and I could feel the spirit of Boucicault nodding in appreciation.

Fall-Winter 2014-15

Screen shot 2014-02-28 at 8.20.19 PMHarvey Weinstein is casually chatting away with Rihanna as five Eastern European sirens pose for a photo op. Rumors fly, Jessica Alba is in the house. Is that Emma Roberts? China doll beauties surround us, one wearing a short veil, studded with small blue blossoms, another with a six strand pearl choker that rises up her neck. Italian women looking like princesses, Americans like fashion iconics, Russians like stars. We are in a sea of luxury, from bags to shoes to furs to dresses, each woman looking more stunning than the next; cream colored lace, black silk, blue fox, silver moiré in a rainbow of colors.

The enormous white tent is packed; colorful, geometric lights creating a visual buzz, the heat of our bodies warming the space despite a rain sodden winter sky beyond the thin canvas. The lights dim, casting a blue tone an expectant hush over this unique privileged world, the world of Dior.

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A sudden shock of white light, with a jolt of techno music and the models begin to pour in… the lines are pure, with gentle curves that make even these too-thin, androgynous girls look like women. The first pieces are in muted tones, necklines low, an asymmetrical detail here, a splash of color there. Jackets are tied up in wide laces running up the side, down the back. These are the power suits of the 20 teens. 55 outfits plod past, worn by serious, intent women, their hair slicked back, hanging straight and long down their backs; a series of astrahkan coats one in a grey so lustrous it evoked rich, opulent pearls. And then a burst of powerful color as a bright yellow, vivid blue and dramatic fuschia bring a illicit a twitter, instagram, and vine excitement from the crowd.

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Screen shot 2014-02-28 at 8.23.29 PMAs the last model steps behind the podium, the rest file back out, a fashion parade celebrating Fall-WInter 2014-15 and the talent of Monsieur Raf Simons, a man who understands where women want to be, tomorrow.






A special thank you to the stunning Cindy Jones, for inviting me to be her guest and making another of this girl’s dreams  come true.

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Stepping on out…

SInce I was training for the 20km as I ran around from Palais to Musée during Paris Fashion Week, my feet got a tad sore and I developed something of an obsession for footwear… seeing all those torture chamber heels made my feet feel much better, and maybe gave me a bit of shoe envy. There are some gorgeous pieces out there this season.

I love the stappy lace up heels I saw in different variations. There were flowers galore and I think that next season everyone is going to be talking about lucite, because see-thru is definitely back. Saw it on these shoes, but also handbags and even a few dresses (yikes!).


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Ze ‘at

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I know! It’s not nice to make fun of their accents, but I live with a Frenchman and French teenagers and I can not remember the last time we’ve made it through dinner without someone asking me to say “route” just so they can laugh their heads off when my accent makes it sound like “rut”. Which means “in heat” as in horny animals. Hysterical, n’est-ce pas? Seriously, you’d think it was a preschool over here.

Screen shot 2013-10-09 at 7.02.13 PMNow back to the work at hand. Seems I’ve been obsessed with fashion lately. Fashion week, then the Alaïa show and now I’m talking accessories. Hats. Well, one hat in particular. Every so often you start looking and you’ll notice a trend in Paris. You’ll see a girl go by with a purse that really catches your eye, then another and another and before you know it, you’ve found yourself a trend.

I found the latest trend on Vogue Fashion Night Out. I had given an invitation to Em and she had invited one of her best friends to join her. The friend showed up wearing THE hat. It was the first time I’d seen it and it was adorable on her. I rarely ask people where they purchase such unique gems, because I figure they don’t want everyone going out and copying them. But for this hat, I had to know. The answer; a thrift shop in NYC.

Screen shot 2013-10-09 at 7.18.03 PMBlack felt, droopy and oh-so circa 1970’s I love this hat. We headed out the door for fashion night and what did I see? More girls wearing THE hat. Coming out of Prada, heading in to roger Vivier. Ever where I looked was the hat. Even my partner in fashion, EllaCoquine, made a comment about THE hat.

I don’t want one. I want three, one for the Fashionista and my daughters. But its just so young and fun and gorgeous.

And the show goes on…

Alaïa Exhibition

Fashion week may be over, but it seems like I just can’t enough. Yesterday Mr French and I spent a lazy Sunday afternoon waiting in line at the Palais Galliera to see the first exhibition since the City of Paris’ Fashion museum closed its doors for renovation in 2009.

The city continued showing fashion at other venues, and I am still kicking myself for having missed the Balenciaga show, so I was not about to miss the first show back at the old digs. Especially when I heard that it would be all about Azzedine Alaïa.

AlaïaBorn in Algeria, Alaïa came to Paris to study sculpture at the Ecole des Beaux Arts. He got a part time job sewing up dresses for women and before he knew it, he had found his passion. He credits much of his success with the fact that he never went to design school, but rather learned his metier by dressing women. As he says, “Women, women define fashion, I make clothes.”

And his clothes define a woman’s fantasy, of being held tightly, yet totally free. They are sexy, seductive and most importantly, flattering. Of course, all the dresses on display were cut to fit a size 0 model, but his prête à porter line is designed to highlight the roundness of the female form, and looks breathtaking on women who are too large for the catwalk.

Its a small show, with only 5 rooms in the Palais, featuring dresses that are easy to recognize as they had been worn by such stars as Grace Jones, Tina Turner and Rihanna. There is the black and white hound’s tooth dress that was designed in collaboration with France’s historic discount store Tati and at least 4 garments I wish I could have packed up into a suitcase to take home.

Its not very clear, but there is a 6th room at the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, directly across the street. The continuation is in the salle Matisse, where some of the most astounding pieces of the collection seem to sway under the dancers painted by Matisse.

The crowd was just as fun as the show. A man who looked like my Turkish tailor bent forward to study the stitches, a boy with white running shoes and an athletic sweatshirt was busy sketching the designs in his notepad. A black hatted woman in a silk Prada coat, despite the threat of rain, another with gorgeous laser cut, patten leather jazz shoes.

Everyone lingered over the collection, savouring the details that put these garments on the fine line somewhere between fashion and art.




Yay! Firday@Flore is back… well kind of, because these photos were not taken at Flore, they’re all about Paris Fashion Week. But its street fashion and it is all about what is in now, THIS fall!!!

First on the dock, plaid! Perhaps inspired by the amazing success of the Kale project, it is time to let out your inner farmer, folks!!!

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In the weeks to come; keep your eyes out for that special shade of… (no, not 50 shades, and it is NOT grey, I promise!), the must have accessory du moment and shoes, ladies, lots o’ shoes!!!

I just can’t get enough…

More of Paris Fashion Week; outside the Chanel show this morning. I’d love to tell you all about everything we saw, but I’m off to raise money to fight breast cancer. When I get back, I have so much to share… like which is this season’s must have hat, what pattern you could bring out from the back of your closet, the effects on Paris fashion Week on training for a semi-marathon, a new magazine I LOVE and the resounding success of the latest FindingNoon Literary Salon… Words&Wine!!!Screen shot 2013-10-01 at 1.02.44 PM Screen shot 2013-10-01 at 1.02.31 PM Screen shot 2013-10-01 at 1.01.59 PM Screen shot 2013-10-01 at 1.01.29 PM Screen shot 2013-10-01 at 1.01.17 PM Screen shot 2013-10-01 at 1.01.01 PM Screen shot 2013-10-01 at 1.00.40 PM Screen shot 2013-10-01 at 1.00.23 PM Screen shot 2013-10-01 at 12.59.22 PM Screen shot 2013-10-01 at 12.59.02 PM Screen shot 2013-10-01 at 12.58.28 PM Screen shot 2013-10-01 at 12.58.11 PM Screen shot 2013-10-01 at 12.53.54 PM

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