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July 11, 2009

Geeking Out at Chanel

Sasha Pivovarova with Karmen Pedaru

Earlier this week I was in Paris to attend what was supposed to be two couture shows: Xuan-Thu Nguyen and Alexandre Matthieu. Then I was bumped from the latter by Vogue Italia! I was one of the last confirmed and they made requests after the list was closed and therefore I became the sacrificial lamb. I was disappointed because I really admire the beautiful work of Alexandre Morgando and Matthieu Bureau and this was the first time they were invited to show during haute couture week. However, their people were very apologetic and asked for my understanding. And uh, yeah, I think I can understand why Vogue might have won out there. Turns out I wouldn't have made the show anyway, I got in to Paris too late, so I was saved the frustration of missing it.

Xuan-Thu Nguyen's superb collection deserves a post of its own so this one is about what I saw afterward, outside the Chanel show at Grand Palais. And this is where the geekery comes in. I couldn't care less about celebrities (although I'd love to see Vanessa Paradis who really is more than a celebrity). Haute couture favours the socialites who are the ones who buy from the collection and fashion editors and other big players in the industry, and it's those influential people I'm most interested in. Socialites slide right off my brain, however, but I was looking forward to seeing Daphne Guinness who must have been there but I didn't see her (and she's so much more than a socialite, it must be noted). Her cousin Jasmine was and she looked fantastic with her red lips, red belt and red seamed stockings (she never goes out without something red). And she paused for a photo when she saw me light up at noticing her but the shot blurred. (Ed note: this was before I had my beloved Nikon D-7000.)

It rained while sunny and we got a rainbow over the Petit Palais across the street!

Before that, the same thing happened but with Mario Testino. I nearly died. He saw me gasp (I couldn't help it) and stood right in front of me, looked me in the eye and smiled. My heart was racing and my fingers were so shaky that the photo came out completely blurred. But I'm keeping it because you can still see that he was smiling. And what a smile it was. He's quite tall, too. He has a very charismatic presence.

And then it was like my fairy godmother granted all my wishes at once with a parade of style icons, editors, the models from the show and the most gorgeous Chanel haute couture dresses. One young socialite who couldn't have been more than 17 years old was wearing the most exquisitely detailed dress with lace and tulle and camelias which I believe is from the current collection.

The Queen of fashion journalism: Suzy Menkes and her famous quiff.

I was so excited to see Suzy Menkes, then I turned around and Carine Roitfeld, Editor in Chief of French Vogue was right in front of me in a stunningly tailored black jacket with silk satin lapels, and I happened to catch the split second where she smiled. I was expecting Balmain shoulders but she's already done that. Next.

Carine Roitfeld

And to top it off, there was Anna Piaggi looking as no one but Anna Piaggi could. And no one was taking her photo but me! How can you not photograph Anna Piaggi? She was whisked away in a waiting car, which was a Vogue car. Yes, it had 'Vogue' painted on the side. Speaking of Vogue, Vogue Italia's editor-in-chief Franca Sozzani went unnoticed as well. I didn't take a photo because silly me didn't want to appear ravenous like some others out of respect (I must have confused a major fashion event with a funeral). But then the subjects became far too tempting and I remembered that I do write a fashion blog. And they are surely used to being photographed by now!

78 year-old Anna Piaggi. A legend.

And this woman below was something else, she was wearing a sheer dress with nothing underneath on top and had a much younger and very dapper man on her arm. She hammed it up, flashing some leg and dancing around and then she changd her shoes with the help of her date who replaced her heels with ratty flip flops! Awesome.



And now, the models. When Sasha Pivovarova appeared, my favourite of the last few years and the one who filled the void Gemma Ward left but in her own way - people went absolutely apeshit. Imagine this, gasped in the most over-the-top male 'fashion' voice: "She's FANTASTIC!" Gasp. Moan. Gasp. "She's THE BEST!" More gasping and shaking of the head with mouth agape. And a little bit of drool. She was in FULL model mode and with that Chanel cap (see the header photo), the hip-skimming multi-strands a la Coco and her attitude ,she gave everyone exactly what they wanted. Her intensity is really quite surreal. Her signature 'psychotic episode' stare is a force of nature, yet for that brief moment I wasn't sure what was in front of me was actually human. Here's an example if Sasha is new to you:


More girls who just can't help being 'modelly' when off the clock:

She whipped out the cigarette and began smoking in one
overly-dramatic motion. She still reeked of tobacco, though.

I love this photo, they are still in model mode from the show and every movement seems camera-worthy. Yulia, Tara Jean and I can't tell who is on the left (many do look the same!). Just about everyone but Yulia and Elsa walked out in their wingy eyeliner, the look from the show.

Lara Stone. Her gift bag was bigger than that of a lot of the other models.

Remember, she's considered the 'normal-sized' girl':


Baptiste Giabiconi, who appears in every Chanel show and is Karl Lagerfeld's longtime muse. Apologies to him for the laser eyes.

Elsa Sylvan. She walked out eating a sandwich, likely in response to rumours about her weight.

Magdalena. Stunning.

Shu Pei Qin. I cannot begin to describe just how gorgeous she is in person. Especially when she smiles. She's so tall and she presented as the most impressive out of all the models.

Oh, and I finally got to sit in Ladurée's dreamy bar and have my macaron cocktail. I went for the cassis. And it was only 22 euros! Seriously, it was, but I had to do it once. It was strong, as in alcohol, and that cream at the top while at first seems more fresh and milky than rich and creamy, is deceptive. I got so full that halfway through I had to stop. Maybe I should have had it before I had lunch upstairs. I didn't know how I was going to finish it, but despite feeling very uncomfortable I persevered - it cost 22 euros after all!

I finished all but a couple of sips. As I ventured out on Champs Elysees I thought at one moment I might throw up right there on the street. And if I had, do you know what my next words would have been? "I REGRET NOTHING!"



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This is amazing.... simply amazing. Really cool snapshots.

such a fun romp- love it, thank you for sharing. la

Awesome pictures...we're just missing one of you!

Right about now I am crazy jealous! Your trip sounds AMAZING. I can't believe you ran into Carine Roitfeld and Mario Testino! I would have died. Love the macaron cocktail. Brilliant.

what an amazing post! I wish I could have been there with you - those are all my heroes too :-) and BTW I think Carrine is stunning - just cause she has a real face does not make her less so - it makes her more so

Oh my god what an adventure. I ate up every word. Good for you for being a fan enough to feel the giddiness of seeing these amazing fashion players but not completely losing your mind. I think you were a perfect lady! Sooo envious.

i want the chanel bags, carrie's necklace, and the cigarette. but after the dessert. i would've regretted not a thing.

Amazing. And unreal-- the off-duty model poses. I suppose they can't help themselves; they are as God made them-- models, after all. Lara Stone is so flipping cool. She's one of my favorites. OMG. Carine is awesome, of course, but I think a Suzy Menkes sighting is just as cool in my book. She's a writer! A real working journalist! Not to say that all the fabulous pictures aren't awesome. Sigh. Can't wait to read your report of the actual couture show... Dreamy dreamy dreamy!

so jealous that you got a picture of carine! très up close and personal too! thanks for sharing! Hx

Aw, thanks guys! So glad you like them. I have to admit that I keep reading the post over and over and over, I can't believe how well some of the photos turned out. And there was even a rainbow as if the rest wasn't enough! ♥

Wow, sounds like you've had an AMAZING time! I love all of your photos. Sasha Pivovarova makes me hate my face x

Wow! This post is amazing, looks like you had a fabulous time. The snapshots you took are fantastic; I just cannot stop staring at Carine's jewellery - I want! x

Wow. Your blog is simply fascinating! Love it. :)

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