11:10 a.m. Invitation in hand (it’s too big to fit in my vintage YSL clutch) I jump into my Uber and head in the direction of the Tuileries garden. We pull up at the Westin Hotel (not an ordinary Westin, this one has golden lampposts flanking its grand doors) for the Spring/Summer ’17 show of Ziad Nakad, a Lebanese-born couturier popular in the Middle East.
11:20 a.m. I join a queue at the Imperial Ballroom. In front of me is a man in a purple velvet blazer and shoes with red snakes painted on them; to my right, a pair of women in chic silk turbans. Eventually, 200 people or so arrive, ranging from socialite mother/daughter duos to 20-something fashion bloggers with man buns.
11:40 a.m. We check in at the desk and file into our assigned seats (I’m in section D, row 2, near the photographer’s pit, which isn’t so bad). The best seats are front row, centre, where an Asian girl in a bejewelled green ballgown is sitting next to a woman in a burka.
11:50 a.m. Guests file in wearing outfits ranging from fur coats and couture, to jeans and the new Stella McCartney extreme platform runners. A butch man in women’s high heeled boots and a puffy skirt walks in late, making sure to swan by the photographers. Guests take selfies, open their gifts (a crystal pin in the shape of a wing) and admire the frescoes and chandeliers while bird song is piped in.
12:03 p.m. A man in a hoodie jumps onto the runway and shouts “everybody down!” At first I am frightened, but then he says “the show is about to start!” (I guess this is fashion parlance for ‘ladies and gentlemen please take your seats.’) A group of tuxedoed ushers starts pulling the white plastic coating off the runway revealing its glossy black surface.
12:05 House lights down. Music up. Runway spots on. The first 10 models march through in what are mostly versions of the same bejewelled floor-length tulle gown, all in a pale shade of nude, all with silver beading and embroidery, some with laser cut flowers, some backless, some with jewelled belts, some with Victorian buttoning or exaggerated hips. The show proceeds in this way through a rainbow of pastels (ice blue to peach to mauve to petal pink, and finally gold). The press release tells me the collection is inspired by butterflies in a garden (hence the bird song).
12:18 p.m. Lights down for the grand finale, the traditional bridal dress that is the last look of haute couture shows. This one has a train 30 feet long requiring four valets.
12:23 p.m. After the final parade of models and a round of applause, the designer appears in all black and blows a kiss. Within seconds everyone is up and out of their seats rushing to the door and to their next show. I taxi home to kick off my Chanel heels and eat a very un-couture-like big bowl of pasta and bake a cake.
5:30 p.m. I’m back in an Uber, heading to the Place Vendome for Greek designer Celia Kritharioti’s show at The Ritz Hotel. This time I know not to arrive too early.
5:40 p.m. With 5 minutes to spare, I wend my way through the labyrinthine bowels of the hotel to the ballroom and am quickly ushered to my seat…in the front row! Right across from Rumer Willis! (She is wearing fishnet stockings and combat boots and makes a break for it just before the lights go down.)
6:00 p.m. “Uncross your legs!” someone bellows from the photographer’s pit and everyone in the front row does so. When the models start filing out I can see why – one of the dresses is so big the models has to kick the front of it to make it go.
6:15 p.m. A showstopper of a gold mini dress with a plunging neckline appears on the runway and everyone starts snapping on the their iphone7s. It would be amazing on Gwyneth Paltrow, who has worn the designer before. Next, a floor length yellow gown (perfect for the Oscars) and a large pink frothy confection with a bow at the waist. My favourite are the metallic flapper dresses that work so well swishing down the runway.
6: 30 p.m. The final parade of models, the requisite wedding dress, and the designer’s wave follow. She slips on the runway but is quickly hoisted back to her feet before too many people notice.
6:45 p.m. Outside in the chilly night I can’t locate my Uber in the sea of black cars filling up the Place Vendome, so I hail a cab to the Hotel Saint James, where I have a girl-date with one of my blog readers.
8:00 p.m. After a quick drink, I’m heading back home, just in time to tuck my girls in to bed. But not before they appropriate the scarf and bracelet I was given at the show and watch all the videos on my phone. All in a day’s work, right?