front row


A guide to getting into Paris Fashion Week

Published July 5th, 2013

If you know your Guccis from your Pradas and your Scott Shumans from your Tommy Tons, then you also probably know that this week in Paris marks the best of the best in fashion. Haute Couture week darhlings! Less of a fashion week and more of an institution, Paris Haute Couture Week is when the world’s richest descend upon France’s capital to eye off the world’s very best and most expensive clothes.


But to put it in perspective, money can’t even buy you a ticket to these exclusive shows. Or any fashion weeks really. These events are industry only, designed to showcase new season collections to the world’s buyers, celebrities and media. As such, it can be tricky for a fashion outsider to make it passed the sharply dressed security guard. But with the RTW Paris Fashion Week coming up in a few months (September 24 – October 2) there’s plenty of time to start working your magic to get inside the shows. Here are some helpful tips.


Volunteer your time

The fashion world loves a freebie. Free samples, free goodie bags, but more than anything – free labour! Between assistants to interns, work experience kids and volunteers, the fashion world would practically collapse if it had to pay ALL of its workers. As a result, if you’re willing to offer up your time, you may be able to make it to the shows. And you don’t need to be a master sewer to be in with a chance either. Volunteer positions come in all shapes and  sizes in the fashion world, from helping with PR and seating to dressing models backstage and generally running around to make sure things go smoothly (although they never do). If you’re keen to be a part of the action, start harassing some of your favourite labels and PR companies now to offer up your time.


Fake it

There are always fakes at fashion week and I’m not just talking about LV handbags. Plenty of people fake their way into the shows. Some get caught. Some don’t. It’s just a roll of the dice – and your self confidence. Most fakes try and forge their importance with lavish outfits and ‘I lost my invitation’ stories. Door staff are cottoning on more and more to these gatecrashers though and so if you haven’t got the gutsy ‘don’t you know who I am?’ confidence, it can be better to play it low key. Instead of pretending like you’re a Russian Princess, opt to pose as a hairdresser or makeup attendee instead.  Dress in all black with a trunk suitcase and look stressed. Everyone who is really important at fashion week looks low key and stressed. It also helps to be carrying a tray of fresh coffees. If you run into a road block, offer them a coffee and say you’re in a rush. A coffee will get you everywhere in fashion!



Befriend an attendee

At fashion week, safety lies in numbers so if you can manage to latch on to a bunch of attendees, you may be able to slink passed security without having to show your invite. Just remember, the busier you look and faster you walk, the less likely door staff are going to stop you. Although this comes with a word of warning - don’t try this at the hot-ticket shows. Pretty much everyone at Chanel will have their ticket checked so don’t push your luck.


Carry camera equipment

You may think sitting between the Olsen Twins would be the best seat in the house at a fashion show, but you’d be wrong. It’s the photographer’s pit that is privy to the best view – and the least amount of restrictions. In order to sneak in with them, you’re going to have to look the part. Photographers don’t really care much about fashion people. In fact they’re the most unfashionable lot in the room. As such, dress casually, stick to black and always wear comfortable shoes. Once you look the part, it’s time to make friends. Mingle with the photographers outside the shows, buy them coffees and offer to carry someone’s equipment. If you can help make their stressful job easier then chances are they’ll happily hide you in the photographers scrum. Just don’t get in the way of anyone’s lenses!


Lauren Burvill

Australian born but London based, I'm a sucker for big cities and small tropical islands. When travelling, I like eating like a local, dressing like a local, but staying in 5 star style. Have a travel story to share? Tweet me @laurenburvill.