Vanessa Bruno and Isabelle Marant are my two Paris fashion muses. They design the kind of clothes I love – sexy, comfortable, outré but not avant-garde. I have a pair of Isabelle Marant tweed jogging pants I bought in the Marias on a past trip that I have worn to death. Same with my favourite navy blue linen camisole from Vanessa Bruno’s store in St. Tropez. So when my new friend Kate, who is the founder of the amazing guide book company GoGo Paris, sends me an invite to the press launch of Vanessa Bruno Spring 2017, I go into intense negotiation mode with Murray, who will have to babysit. It’s at her showroom in the 11th Arrondissement on a Sunday night. I jump out of my Uber (wearing Derek Lim, which I hope won’t offend) and enter the beautiful space. There is a huge skylight letting in the late evening sun, models are circulating in red backless rompers and flowing bohemian dresses. I am immediately drawn to a pair of leather sandals with large metal grommets that I am sure will be an “it” shoe for next spring. Bloggers and press are sitting along a wall eating little spoonfuls of ratatouille and sipping champagne under a tent while a cool band plays in the corner. I walk to the back of the showroom and out from behind a rack comes Vanessa, with her signature white-blonde cropped hair and dressed casually in flared jeans and an Oxford style shirt. She stops and says hello to me. I can’t believe it is really her!
A few days later, I head to the Grand Palais between the Tuileries gardens and the Champs Elysees, where Chanel always has their show. Next year, though, it will move to The Ritz Hotel nearby (which has just finished a major renovation) and was the legendary home of Coco Chanel for many years. I don’t have an invitation to today’s show, but like a lot of the people here, I’m interested in the spectacle of it all – people dressed to the nines in their double CCs– even dressing their dogs and their babies. There is so much gold, glitter, and bedazzled leather I keep my sunglasses on in the morning sun. Everyone is whispering about the Kim Kardashian robbery, which happened 2 nights before in a private hotel near our apartment. The Canadian contingent shows up with its own set of twins – the effervescent Beckerman sisters, as well as a couple of other fashion bloggers. I have an amazing time just watching the crowd – The supermodel Stella Tennant, the Italian fashion press with the deeply tanned faces sucking on the last of their cigarettes, a guy in leather fetish wear. Young American bloggers mixing vintage with new, and even people in jeans and Stan Smith sneakers attending the show. Surely I could sneak in, no? It’s very high security this year I hear someone in the crowd complain. No paper invitation, no Chanel!