DIARY OF PARIS FASHION WEEK
For this seasons ELLE Collections (A bi-annual industry standard dedicated to the catwalk) I was asked by their lovely Editor-in-Chief, Lorraine Candy, if I would like to submit my Paris fashion week diary for printing. If you can, please go buy the magazine, its basically a beautifully put together art book and something you will want to save for years. For the rest of you, I thought you might like to see a little bit of what I wrote about!
Wednesday the 29th of September
The first day of Paris fashion week my husband James and I rented bicycle’s and headed across town to see my old friend Jean Paul Gaultier. Coming to see Gaultier has always been a highlight of my visits to Paris through the seasons. The last time we saw each other, Jean Paul stopped everything to lead me up a series of staircases to watch the sun set over the city. It was like a wild fire on the horizon, so beautiful. This time I was there to try on clothes for Saturdays show and members of the press were invited to observe the process. The great thing about Jean Paul is that unlike many other designers of his stature, he still styles all the models himself. Together we had fun experimenting with different looks and he ended up wrapping bandanas all down my leg as a photographer documented the humble genius down on one knee. The prints Gaultier came up with this season were all 3D inspired images printed in dirty shades of blue and red. I loved the look and suggested that he should do all the makeup in a faux 3D coloring and style also. Jean Paul and I have a history of throwing out crazy ideas that actually become reality. Over the years I’ve Irish danced his runways, Ive had a public cat fight in mud and I’ve been dressed as a mermaid on crutches. Gaultier’s eyes lit up at the idea of the 3D make-up but in the end practicality would win out this time.
After my fitting with JPG I went to see Zac Posen and Christopher Niquet at their impromptu studio in Paris. I’m so happy Zac decided to show in France this year, I feel like its a good fit for him. At the fitting are Isabeli Fontana, Crystal Renn and Zacs little dog who keeps running off with pieces of fabric and clothing. Crystal and I talk about what to wear for the big event Paris Vogue is throwing for their 90th anniversary this week. Do we go casual or do we go all out? We both agree that if there was ever an occasion to “go all out”, this was it. Zac kindly loans me an amazing dusty peach ball gown dress he just happens to have laying around the studio and voila! I have my outfit. Its good to have friends in Paris.
Thursday the 30th of September
Thursday morning I walked in my first show of PFW and Zac Posens first show in Paris, ever. The show was set in the beautiful Westin Hotel ballroom and I feel like the clothes gave off a particular Parisian vibe this season; lots of feathers, sheer fabrics and marabou jackets. As far as the cast goes, Zac had a dream team of girls to work with - Hillary Rhoda, Crystal Renn, Behati Prinsloo, Karlie Kloss, Isabeli Fontana… all the girls were there.
That night James, Behati, Cameron Russell and myself all headed out to the ball, thrown in Karl Lagerfeld’s incredible old house. Everyone you can imagine was there, whether you realized it or not. Its was interesting to see who wanted to be seen and who didn’t. Some masks are obvious: Gisele, Tyra, Marc and Natalia were all fairly easy to spot. Diane Von Furstenburg had probably the most glorious head dress of the night and for some reason Lenny Kravitz, who I kept bumping into, reminded me of a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle? As we wander around upstairs Sasha Pivovarova told me that the 4 giant rooms we just walked through were formerly Karls clothes closets!? You could have fit my entire apartment into each room. In the final room we discovered what can only be described as a Willy Wonka garden of deserts. Entire plants and vegetables were made of chocolate and fountains overflow with every delight you can imagine. I break every model taboo by gorging on chocolate to the silent horror of the fashionable crowd.
James and I round up Behati and Cameron and decide to leave the party. The only problem is we never arranged a car to pick us up, and taxis are next to impossible, so we end up walking the entire way home, in ball gowns and masks. Eventually we ladies in our impractical heels are forced to walk barefoot through the Louve gardens which must have been quite the sight in the middle of the night.
Friday the 1st of October
Friday afternoon was Dior. Its notoriously hard to get people backstage but with the help of a manager we snook James in, who spent his time trying to stay out of the way in the smallest backstage of Paris fashion week. John Galliano loves his themes and this year he had nautical inspired clothing: sailor pants, caps galore paired up with the vintage glam of Betty Page inspired hair and make-up. Other than a massive paparazzi fuss over Kate Moss the show went off without a hitch and I had the rest of the day to relax!
Saturday the 2nd of October
Saturday was Gaultiers show. Rather than my idea for 3D make-up Jean Paul decided on a Joan Jett meets Ziggy Stardust inspired look. The make up is so severe that its kind of hard to recognize the models backstage. Is that Karolina Kurkova or Anja Rubik? A problem arrises when t I’m given red boots that are about 4 sizes too big for me, I look like Ronald McDonald. Finally my size is found and I’m ready to go, but, the show isn’t. We run over time by about an hour but I’m sure everyone was glad they waited when they discovered that Beth Ditto was opening and closing the show with acapella performances and a strut down what would be the longest runway in Paris until Chanel’s epic show.
After the show my car picked me up and I headed to my fitting with John Galliano. Girls from the JPG show had already got there ahead of me. The Russians, Sasha and Snejana were hard at work on a pack of cigarettes while Karli Kloss and I hungrily picked from a snack table that consisted entirely of candy and coke light? As we all sat waiting what seemed like forever I started getting a little anxious, I had a dinner event to go to later that evening. Luckily for me, my amazing agent Micki Schnieder called the casting director and told him I needed to leave very shortly. Out came the casting director who asked all the other girls if they would mind if I went in first. Very graciously they allowed me to do so, though I’m sure they wanted to kill me.
Running a little late I finished my fitting and headed directly to my dinner party. Glamour magazine had invited James and I to have dinner with Leah Michelle, star of Glee, in recognition of her recent cover. We got there a little after appetizers were served and I find Zac Posen had stole my seat right next to Leah. Oh well, that’s what happens when you’re late. Zac introduced me to Leah by telling her I can sing and dance and that I should be the next guest on Glee. As a side note, Zac has never heard me sing, nor do I - still Zac makes a great, if not slightly dishonest talent agent! We have a lovely dinner together and we all take turns feeding Zacs little dog (named Tina Turner) who is hidden under the table of this fancy restaurant.
Sunday the 3rd of October
Sunday was the Galliano show at the beautiful Opera Comique. Galliano was inspired by the muse Maria Lani, a woman from the 1920’s and 30’s who posed for artists like Matisse and Leger. Our hair and make-up were inspired by different portraits those artists have made of her and before the show began John encouraged us to be as dramatic and theatrical as we wanted on the runway. If we wanted to sit in Hamish Bowles lap, we could. If we wanted to pirouette in front of Janet Jackson, that was fine too. I decided I was going to play with my pigtails like a scary rag doll. Ive seen the pictures, it was pretty scary.
After the show I was chased through the streets by the Asian paparazzi with my hair and make up in full effect. I got home and scrubbed the makeup off my face and red dye out of my hair just in time for the Fendi party. At the party Duran Duran performed their biggest hits and everyone was turned into a 14 year old fan again. Of course my fellow Elite model Yasmin Le Bon was there in support of her husband Simon. Abby Lee, Anja, Behati, Dree and a slew of other top models were there too and in the middle of “Hungry Like the Wolf” I looked up and there on the balcony was Mr. Karl Lagerfeld himself, nodding in approval to the music.
We all sang our hearts out and had the best time. Lucky for me, the next day I could sleep in.
Monday the 4th of October
After a long sleep in Behati calls James and I and tells us she’s coming over. Behati was like our 3rd room mate the entire week in Paris and nearly every night ended with all three of us sat in bed playing the addictive game “Angry Bird” on our iPhones and iPads. By mid-week we had nearly conquered every level. I hear a knock at the door that can only be Behati and I decide to answer it with my scariest face… it turns out to be a poor maid who I horrify.
Behati does eventually come over and we decide to go on a bike ride up to one of my favorite spots in Paris, Sacre Coeur. Unfortunately it rains most of the way and we all realize how horribly out of shape we are. So after a delicious onion soup lunch at the top we call a car to come pick us up to take us to our fittings with Chanel and Hermes.
Tuesday the 5th of October
Tuesday morning I’m up at the crack of dawn. Only Chanel could get me out of bed at 5am. Behati and I head to the Grand Palais where we find a massive indoor garden inspired by Versatile has been laid out, Chanel never cease to amaze. In the background an 80 piece orchestra practices as we models are shown how we are to walk the runway, a catwalk so long it would take each model 5 minutes to complete. Right behind me is a newer model, a beautiful doll faced girl named Barbara Palvin. She’s almost crying with excitement before we go out and I’m reminded of how excited I was before my first Chanel show. Barbara says she’s a little nervous she won’t remember where to walk, I tell her to follow me and she’ll be fine… i think?
Wednesday 6th October
Wednesday was the final day of fashion week and in the afternoon was preparing to walk in Jean Paul Gaultiers final presentation for Hermes. For his last collection Gaultier went back to the roots of the Hermes brand with an equestrian theme and during the show there were actual horse and riders in the background. The whole thing was very beautiful and powerful, a wonderful conclusion to the week and Mr Gaultiers run as creative director.
A few hours after the show I again ran into Jean Paul, this time at the Marie Claire Prix d’Excellence awards. Apparently all the editors of Marie Claire had voted me model of the year and so I went up to accept my award. In fashion we don’t have a Grammies or an Oscars so this was my monument to thank all the people who have made my career a success - my family, my agents, the photographers, the editors and the designers. Especially Jean Paul, who gave me so many memorable fashion moments. Up next was Designer of the year award which, you guessed it, Gaultier won. He went on to thank his team and… me! Double the honor that night.
Off I went with my 15 pound crystal award in hand. An award that would go on to cost me over $200 in extra luggage fee’s to bring home, but never the less, it was a very nice ending to a very memorable Paris fashion week.