A Fashionista's Guide to Paris
Hello, my name is Lauren and I'm a fashion-addict. (Hi Lauren!)
So while I may have previously introduced myself as a hipster, from time to time I also moonlight as a fashionista, worshipping at the altar of Lanvin to the all mighty Alber Elbaz. And although my time in London was filled with Hoxton hang outs and quirky cocktails, my Paris holiday was all about embracing the style capital of the world, one store at a time.
Since I spent almost two weeks in Paris, once I'd ticked the Eiffel Tower and Palace of Versailles off my list, I was left with plenty of down time to simply wander the streets in search of pretty things. My favourite area to shop was the arrondissement I was staying in, Le Marais. This area is commonly known as the Jewish part of Paris, but is also home to a wide range of creative activity, from art galleries to fashion houses. It was here I found some of the best vintage stores as well as unique boutiques. One of my favourite finds was the store Allison which sold local labels like Maje and had some really interesting pieces. I particularly fell in love with an oversized gold knit, but alas, with the price tag and exchange rate, it was not meant to be. I did however leave with a lovely caramel coloured knit which was far more practical and a lot easier on the pocket.
Another area well worth windowing shopping in is Saint Germain. On the day I was there is seemed a lot more quieter than Le Marais, but then again I wasn't really out looking at people, I was there for the goods. And boy, did it deliver! Within the back streets is practically a neighbourhood of luxury designers, from Sonia Rykiel to Celine, Givenchy - the lot. I may or may not have treated myself to a turquoise ring at the Yves Saint Laurent boutique. Please don't tell my mother. Mum, if you're reading this. I couldn't help it. The air in Paris is dangerous for splurging on shiny things. I swear!
While in town I was also lucky enough to visit the Musee Decoratifs for the Louis Vuitton – Marc Jacobs exhibition. Inside I was amazed to see the very first Vuitton luggage, historic designs and Marc’s most recent and relevant pieces for the Parisian house, all presented in really quirky ways. My favourite part of the exhibition was ‘Marc’s World’ a room filled with ceiling to floor TVs screening all of Marc Jacob’s favourites; Sponge Bob Square Pants, The Wizard of Oz, The First Wives Club. The man really is a lover of pop culture with a wicked sense humour, and he channels it into his designs beautifully. I also really enjoyed the unique insights into his most notorious moments, like when Kate Moss infamously came out onto the catwalk smoking. The exhibition runs until the 16th of September 2012.
And of course a fashionista's visit to Paris wouldn't be complete without walking the aisles of the city's best boutique - Collette. I had heard so much about the boutique wonder-force, where all the cool labels are stocked in cool ways for cool customers. Needless to say I was expecting to be bowled over by coolness. In a way the store did deliver. There were items I'd sell my eyebrows for, (Comme de Garcons please!) but then again it just didn't have the all encompassing vibe I was hoping for. The store itself is very shiny, almost too shiny. It was quite sterile, kind of like wandering through a hospital of very expensive things that you probably can't afford to touch let alone buy. I guess at the end of the day I was probably expecting too much. Seeing Catherine Baba or Yasmin Sewell swanning through racks and yelling 'darrrrrling I lurrrrve it!' was probably a bit too much to ask for, oui?
But even despite the more cold than cool vibe, and a distinct lack of Baba fabulousness, Collette is still worth a visit. Stroll there after a day of sightseeing at the Louvre to view some art of the clothing variety. Just do be careful of the euro-spending Parisian air - it'll get ya!