Paris Fashion Week, by Jenny Jorns

Jenny Jorns

By Abby Rodgers

Paris Fashion Week: clothing, celebrities, elusive, glamorous parties. Paris, New York, and Milan all thrive on parades of new collections for the changing seasons. Just like that cool kid at school, who you so wanted to have as a friend, the fashion in-crowd possesses an elitist aura of unattainable magnetism. You love it, but you hate that you do.

Paging through Vogue, I get that love-hate feeling: the loathing, then bubbling of desire when I see the ads and read the articles. Firsthand, I’ve had a glimpse of what it takes to bring a fashion magazine to publication during seminars I attended for Teen Vogue in New York City. Riding the elevator in the Condé Nast building, instead of floor numbers, I’d pass the names Vogue, Vanity Fair and GQ. Not until I attended an advanced screening of The September Issue did I realize how much of a machine the fashion industry is and the extraordinary commitment and dedication of every person involved who work to bring those ads and collections to the pages of Vogue.

Since moving to Paris, I had wanted to attend a fashion show during Paris Fashion Week. When I lived in Chicago, I attended its first fashion week—but Paris and New York are an entirely different game.

I have always been fascinated by couture. Although I lack the desire to devote myself to creating a garment, I know that my study of fine arts has given me an appreciation for the artistry of fashion design and the couturier working endlessly to get that one stitch just right for 10 seconds of runway exposure. Like the wispy painterly strokes of Degas or the structured lines and shapes of Mondrian, the fashion designer is an artist. Each look is a masterpiece: a vision and labor of intense love.

Last year during the Spring/Summer 2013 show, I walked past the Grand Palais where the runway set for Chanel’s show was being constructed. It was like a dream. Huge turbines lined the runway turning the site surreal, like something out of a film. I wanted to be there—sitting next to Anna Wintour, chatting up Karl Lagerfeld, and watching Cara Delevingne strut the runway.

So how exactly does one get invited to a couture show? For big name design houses invitations are very exclusive; however, throughout the city during fashion week, there are many other designers who host shows if you want a taste of couture. To know when the fashion houses will host their shows, you can check the website for the Fédération Française de la Couture du Prêt-à-Porter des Couturiers et Créateurs de Mode. It lists the designer, date of the show and sometimes the location; so if you’re really dedicated you can wait outside for a glimpse of celebrities or the designer. (Visit: )

This year, I was fortunate to attend a couture show for the couture designer Ylan Anoufa at the Hotel Regina in Paris. My friend Marina called to invite me—she’s from Athens and is a very talented makeup artist and esthetician. Marina had been invited to do the makeup for the Gustavo Lins couture show and had called to ask if she could stay with me in Paris for a few days. When she received an invitation to the Ylan Anoufa show and asked if I wanted to come along, I naturally said yes. I’d walked past the Hotel Regina many times on my way to the Louvre or Tuileries, but had never been inside. Its interior architecture is regal with gold encrusted pillars and in its sitting room rich red hues.

We waited in the queue (if you live in France, you learn to queue and not to complain). Luckily, we were on the guest list. Chairs were arranged to create a maze-like space for the models to walk through and we had great seats at the entry of the makeshift runway. It was beautiful. The intense bright lighting accentuated the interior and chandeliers. Marina and I chatted as we waited in anticipation watching the crowd, which was an interesting group of eccentrics and fashion hybrids.

The music began with a French-language song with an electronic beat. The first model entered the catwalk. Her shift dress was sophisticated, yet modern, with sequined accents on the capped sleeves. It was something I could imagine wearing on a night out. Another favorite of mine was a white baby-doll dress, which would be great for a summer party in the French countryside. The models’ hair was alien-like with lots of volume and played upon the show’s theme, which was “atmosphere.” Many of Anoufa’s designs were short cocktail dresses in white or beige, with sequins and lamé accents. His finale was a jaunty wedding gown with a silver-plated bodice.

When the show was over we popped through the backstage area, then exited the hotel into the Parisian night. We decided to walk home and take in this beautiful city, our adoptive home.

Spring/Summer 2013 Paris Fashion Week, Videos

Ylan Anoufa Spring/Summer 2013 Paris Fashion Week, FashionTV


Atelier Gustavolins Spring/Summer 2013 Paris Fashion Week
ElleVidéos: Défilé Atelier Gustavo Lins haute couture été 2013

Abby Rodgers was born in South Korea, raised in Rochester, New York and is currently living in Paris, France. She is a student of International Relations at Schiller International University in Paris and works at Art Galleries Europe/London and Paris. Abby lives in the bustling 6ème arrondissement near the famed Café Flore and Luxembourg Gardens, providing the ideal landscape for creativity. She is a self-proclaimed Francophile and dessert connoisseur.

You may also enjoy A Woman’s Paris® post, Fashion Crashing: Paris haute-couture, by Barbara Redmond who crashed Maxime Simoëns’ haute-couture catwalk show during Paris Fashion Week with patience and persistence, but no invitation. The models, the show, the crème de la crème audience, and the style.

Diving into Paris Fashion: From famous to fresh, by Parisian Abby Rodgers, who asks the question, “…with veterans such as Lagerfeld making the move to the street-wear market, where is fashion headed in Paris and what influence does the newest generation have?” Included are fashion brands and stores that are favorites of Abby and her friends.

Children fashionistas: Why French children dress better than you do. French au pair Alyssa Glawe tells that a child’s clothes in France are more than just something to cover the body. “It’s safe to say that, French parents would never put an item of clothing on their child that they would not wear themselves,” she writes “Comfort is important, but in all truth, it’s really about the fashion.” Including a list of children’s labels and websites.

Beauty Confessions from a Globe-trotting Parisienne. Parisienne Bénédicte Mahé shares a French woman’s approach to beauty and makeup; and how the relationship Americans have with beauty is very different from that of the French. Including her list of Beauty Resources in Paris and a vocabulary of French to English translations. (French)

Ballet Flats in Paris: And God made Repetto, by Barbara Redmond who shares what she got from a pair of flats purchased in a ballet store in Paris; a feline, natural style from the toes up, a simple pair of shoes that transformed her whole look. Including the vimeos “Pas de Deux Coda,” by Opening Ceremony and “Repetto,” by Repetto, Paris. (French)

Text copyright ©2013 Abby Rodgers. All rights reserved.
Illustrations copyright ©Jenny Jorns. All rights reserved.
Illustrations copyright ©Barbara Redmond. All rights reserved.