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Opening my mailbox on an otherwise cold and slightly melancholy Tuesday evening as the winter is taking its toll on most of us, an unexpected surprise was sitting in my cavernous tin boite aux lettres. No it wasn't an enormous bill from EDF. That was last week's surprise. On a white envelope, handwritten in whimsy calligraphy was my name and address. At first I thought it was a response card to our wedding but immediately dismissed the idea once it was understood that the envelope was only addressed to me.

Opening it, I pulled out a substantial piece of cardstock, the width of a quarter, with one side coated in deep red velvet. It was all so Eyes Wide Shut - well, not exactly, but this is the closest I'll get to a mystery invite so I'm going with the fantasy. What made is so very un-Eyes Wide Shut was the sufficient amount of information provided. Addressed to me was an invitation to the Nina Ricci showing of the Fall 2013 collection at the Jardin des Tuileries. Wow. Quelle surprise, indeed.

Rushing to the show on Thursday directly from work where even the notoriously honest four year old Franc told me I looked pretty with the "pink stuff" on my cheeks, I arrived at the side entrance, near the metro of the Tuileries....and there were absolutely no signs of a fashion show on the brink of starting. Trudging through the garden on another overcast Parisian day, a mild panic set in that I in the wrong place. With not much I could do, I decided to have a little faith in the gardener's vague instructions that the show was "là-bas", and continued walking through the eerily quiet garden listening to my towering wedged boots crunch onto the moist dirt.

It wasn't until I saw off in the distance (way off in the distance, may I add) the crowd, a white carpet outstretched from the entry of the Tuileries at Concorde lined with votive candles leading guests to the tent and well, Andre Leon Talley that tipped me off that I was in the right place. Not wanting to walk all the way to the beginning of the white carpet which would have resulted in an extra 1000 or so steps that my smashed pinky toes were protesting against, I shuffled in behind Andre and joined the precession. Walking on the carpet was intimidating and kept my head down from all of the photographers, not wanting to document my painfully dry skin. Clearly no one was after my photo per se, but they snap shots of everyone just in case. Ever wonder where those random shots of stars from "before they were famous" come from? Moments like these. Everything gets archived. Still, I felt pretty cheesy.


Inside the tent, that from the inside you wouldn't believe you were standing under mere tarp (yes, I thought of the toothless tent lady from last weekend), the decor echoed the invitation with a deep rouge carpet accented with red angled spot lights, placing the focus on the center of the runway of two face-to-face grand pianos. Knowing that the show wasn't going to start anytime soon because many of the important front row seats were still empty, notably Anna Wintour wasn't there yet, I made myself comfortable. I made adjustments to my camera settings to work with the fierce red, and took my time reading the provided show notes that annotate the inspiration and fabrics used in the collection.

Once the lights dimmed, after a long five minutes of silence where the photographers in the pit were making animal noises and shouting comments as if we were in a high school assembly and weren't allowed to talk, pianists Katia and Marielle Labèque took their place at their respective pianos. 

"Femininity is highlighted, with the purity and modesty that characterize the world of Dance" read the show notes. With dance being the theme, the red lights were perhaps a reference to the film Les Chaussons Rouges. Nina Ricci, whose collections typically err on the side of soft and feminine, stayed true to this exemplar. Inspired by the life of a ballerina, exploring all elements in flesh tone pinks, powdery ecrus and rosy beiges, the show took us on a journey of the enigma that is the ballet. Knit bodysuits layered by delicate belted mohair coverups, ribbon detailed parkas which lends an urban take on the life of a ballerina (because she does have to get to rehearsal during those cold winter days), complimented wool flared miniskirts teemed with matching cropped fur-trimmed hooded jackets. The inspiration expanded to even audiences of the ballet where evening gowns and cocktail dresses with crepe de chine rose detailing made an appearance. 

Being someone with a penchant for things girly, it was the best collection I had seen all week, as I revisited childhood memories of my mother taking me to amateur dance classes at the Joffrey Ballet on 6th avenue. Just when I'm feeling a little down and out in Paris, she sends me a little something; a message that establishes how magical this city really is. Walking out of the show, out on to Concorde, the Eiffel Tower was in full glitter, twinkling its on-the-hour light show. How apropos. 

 
To check out my shots of the show click here.

15 comments:

  1. That sounds amazing, although I know I shall ever be worthy of such an invite lol

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    1. It was really beautiful. It was the highlight of the week!

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  2. Looks like you had a seat with a really good view, too! :)

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    1. I was at the last row, I just have a great zoom on my camera! :)

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    1. It really was. This is the fashion I like, none of those modern, abstract collections that were all the rage this season. The inspiration for the collection we were selling in the showroom was - get this "an homage to being homeless". How offensive!

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  4. Such a great experience, I am hoping one day I will have this chance too :) xx

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    1. It really was a lovely experience. Maybe try hitting up Fashion Week in Australia, being French already give you a chic lead! :)

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  5. That's a day right there! Just the idea of what a day in Paris might be like. And when in doubt, I would say following Andre Leon Talley is a good call. :)

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    1. I loved going from teaching English to this. It was a lovely combination of my two lives. Yes, following ALT was definitely a good idea!! He gives off such a great vibe, he looked like he was enjoying himself at all the shows I saw him at. It was refreshing.

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  6. Fabulous! So SATC Paris! I love the pianos.

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    1. The music was the perfect supplement to such an elegant show! They handed out their CDs at the end of the show. Listening to it, I feel like a ballerina!

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  7. This posts makes me feel about a million miles from Paris! I can't even believe we live in the same country. I think Le Petit Village needs a fashion week. That's it, I'm starting it.

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    1. OMG! YES! LPV Fashion Week! Can I consult? : )

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  8. What a wonderful experience Lisa! As a lover all of all things ballet, I am very envious of you!

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