Thursday, March 31, 2011

Timber Timbre's red headed stranger

The video for Woman off the album Creep On Creepin' On released April 11th is what I imagine a scene tamed from Fear and Loathing would look like if it was to take place in the apartment from Lennon and McCartney's Norwegian Wood. Maybe it's Slim Twig's hair.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Best Views of Paris

When you come to Paris, you will visit the top of the Eiffel Tower. I have, twice already, and will probably do so again before I leave in May. As one of the most visited attractions in the world since its erection in 1889, it is almost shameful not to go to the top while you are here. If that is not enough of a reason, just think of how you will be forced to repeatedly explain upon your return home.

Family and Friends - How was Paris?
You - Great
Family and Friends - So did you go to the top of the Eiffel Tower?
You - Um, nope.
Family and Friends - Why not?

During the day you are likely to encounter heavy haze. Nonetheless you will be able to get a good idea of the city layout and will observe that Montmartre really is quite the hill. Trace the Seine as it envelopes Ile de la Cité and Ile Saint-Louis, straight out into the suburbs that surround Paris in every direction. At night the most spectacular sight is looking up at the thousands of lights that decorate the tower. Just be sure to go early and avoid the lines. At the least you will enjoy the four elevator rides you will have to take up and back.

Now that I have given that winning endorsement I can get to the point: there are much better places from which to view the lights of the city.

best day view

I am not one for modern art but I am eager to absorb all of Paris and having received rave reviews from friends, I was happy to accompany Alex to the Centre Pompiodu on a Sunday afternoon. In the end I really appreciated, even liked, a lot of the artwork in the museum. Even if I had not, the visit would have been worth it just for the experience travelling up through the hamster like tubes that serve as the building's main artery between floors.

I had just finished reading Dickens's A Tale of Two Cities. Of all the places I have been to in Paris, the view from the Pompidou is the one that most closely matches the description I took from the book. More exactly, it matched perfectly the image of Paris I had before arriving in the city. The Paris of dreams. Namely, Paris rooftops.

If you are short on time don't bother skip the lineups for a ticket to the museum and go straight to the hamster tunnel where you will find an escalator to the café on the top floor. I have heard from friends and read in reviews that the George Pompidou is overpriced and serves terrible food, yet, despite their complaints, everyone continues to recommend it.

best sunset view 

Take the metro to Abbesse and enjoy an afternoon exploring the historical artist neighbourhood of Montmartre. As the day is coming to an end, take a seat among the crowds of tourists on the front steps of the Basilique du Sacré Coeur and watch the City of Lights unfold across the horizon with the sunset. Off to the left look for the two towers of Notre Dame, straight ahead is Montparnasse and to the right you'll see the Eiffel Tower.

A group of local teenagers will provide the music, strumming on their guitars. Don't expect a romantic moment to last however: it is sure to be interupted more than once by someone trying to sell you an overpriced heineken from the 12 pack under their arm. Thankfully you came prepared with wine!

When you leave be careful to go straight south to Boulevard de Clichy or even better west to Metro Abbesse. To the east is the neighbourhood surrounding Gare de Nord where you should not be caught after dark.

best night view

When my parents were here last fall we braced ourselves against the evening breeze and climbed the 284 stairs to the top of the Arc de triomphe. The street lights and billboards line the full length Champs-Elysées so that you can see straight down to the Obélisque de Louxor in Place de la Concorde. Turn around and you'll see what looks like a doorway into another world but is actually just the massive cube shaped monument known as the Grande Arche. What is most special is the spectacular view of the Eiffel Tower. After dark the metal structure is illuminated by 20,000 light bulbs, which sparkle for five minutes every hour on the hour.

Sunday, March 27, 2011



1200 LIE SANG BONG @ Hotel Westin

Zen sequins and cloud-like textures at Lie Sang Bong 

1400 BACKSTAGE SONIA RYKIEL @ Pavillon Concorde

backstage at Sonia Rykiel

1630 SONIA RYKIEL @ Pavillon Concorde

Quite the turn out for Sonia Rykiel. Models posed as school girls, giggling their way down the runway.

1700 COMMUUN @ Maion de la Chimie

Stripes and colour blocking at COMMUUN

1800 VANESSA BRUNO @ Palais de Tokyo

The fashionable front row at Vanessa Bruno, eyes on their blackberries.

Fur colours and gypsy inspired pieces at Vanessa Bruno

1730 SHIATZY CHEN @ Musée des Beaux-Arts

2300 COMMUUN afterparty @ Fidélité

1130 TALBOT RUNHOF @ Hotel Westin

A plethera of trends at Talbot Runhof: beaded sequins, stripes and colour blocking, bold primary colour palate, dyed fur... 

1430 ELIE SAAB @ Espace Ephémère, Jardin des Tuileries

to fall/winter 2011 

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

RIP Maggie the Cat

Paul Newman and Elizabeth Taylor in Tennessee William's Cat on a hot tin roof

Monday, March 14, 2011

"Our eyes high fived!"

Since its release a few months back, this video has received, and is still receiving, a lot of attention. Even if you are not the biggest fan of Nils Edenloff's voice, it is sure to put a smile on your face. Also, the girl is absolutely beautiful.

Stamp, Rural Alberta Advantage



1900 NICOLAS ANDREAS TARALIS @ Palais de Tokyo
I teach in the day and then rush my way over to the Palais to get in line for a seat on the podium.
Taralis's French representative is Michel Montagne who is notorious for being difficult. I am on the list as a photographer but she won't let me in until she is sure Madeleine is coming. I wait for over an hour watching her hand pick her favourite people out of the crowd to let bypass the line. 

Madeleine arrives at 1930 just as the show is about to start. Thankfully all the photographers are standing so there is a place for me to sit right at the front however lighting is terrible and my photographs turn out grainy and unfocused.

Twilight and True Blood inspired with crimson blood-like splatters on white boyfriend-shirt sheer tunics and men's civil war cut suits. Midnight colours. See more on Fashion Windows.

Madeleine and I grab a glass of wine at the on site cafe. She gives me what invites have already come in for the week's shows. Note some won't show up until the day before. 

Nicolas Andreas Taralis Fall/Winter 2011

1400 FELIPE OLIVERIA BAPTISTA @ Palais de Tokyo 
Same poorly lit boring room at Tokyo Palace. I have a seat in the front row just as the models walk out. The highlight of the show was the sheer blouses with brightly beaded cuffs and colours. 

Felipe Oliveira Baptista Fall/Winter 2011

1900 AF VANDEVORST  @ Musee des Beaux-Arts  
I love Relative MO! I am a little late to the show which really is the best time to show up as the PR are rushing to fill up empty seats and don't have time to scrutinize your every move. I politely ask a rep to sit in the front row to take pictures and they welcome it. 

A few violin and trumpet players provide the musical backdrop to the presentation. Again a dimly lit room. So far not having good luck with taking pictures! 

Clearly equestrian inspired: straps wrap around the body like harnesses, the models' hair is tussled like a horse's braid, random fur tuffs appear like tails hanging from the waste. The most interesting part are the hockey mask bustles set at the back. The designers are a husband and wife team who met their first day of classes at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp. Filip wears an eye patch. They have serious style. 

Walter Van Burendock menswear, Iris Van Herpen Haute Couture and now AF Vandevorst, from what I have seen the Dutch avante-garde designers are leading the way in terms of fashion creativity.

AF Vandevorst Fall/Winter 2011

2200 AF VANDEVORST afterparty @ Le Pompon 
We have been talking about going to Le Pompon for ages and this after party provides the perfect opportunity. Very cool but small and smoky cave-like location. We order champaign as our one gratuit drink and install on the dance floor which is slow at first but quickly fills up. Surrounded by models among many and mostly beautiful people our main source of entertainment turns out to be the Facehunter and his consort. Dancing machine!

I meet Madeleine for the exchange of more invites. She gives me the good news that I am in at Lanvin! She has been contracted to cover the show and wants me to tape off her videographer's spot on the podium: literally take her masking tape and mark out a 1 ft square on the carpet to ensure the camera has a reserved spot front and centre on the podium. This means i have to be there three hours before to line up with the professional "tappers". More than okay if it gets me into Lanvin which is one of the oldest most decadent houses in France and the true emblem of paris luxury fashion.

1300 AMAYA ARZUAGA @ Grand Palais
I leave Madeleine and race to the day's first show. Stretch maxi dresses striped with one thick band of colour. Mini dresses constructed in interesting shapes from wool crepe are shown in bold but basic primary colours, a scheme that has become a trend this season. Likewise black sheer has been everywhere and appears here in the form of decorative mini-dresses that hang like a shell around the model's body. 

Amaya Arzuaga Fall/Winter 2011

1730 LANVIN @ Tuileries tent
After Amaya Arzuaga I grab a quick lunch in the Tuileries gardens and go straight to the nearby tent which is being prepared for Lanvin. I am fourth behind three other tappers. I explain my situation and make friends with the security guards but without a photographer's backstage pass entry is absolutely impossible. The others are let in to tape off their spots (each one is hired by several photographers and organizations) but I must wait until Madeleine arrives. After three hours of what turns out to be useless waiting, I leave the line and try to sneak in with Madeleine and her videographer. Fail. Since Madeleine has used her backstage pass she has at least left me with her invitation and I finally get in with the rest of the crowd. 

I take over Madeleine's job of guarding the spot she has tapped off on the podium and she runs backstage to join the videographer. I make friends with the photographers around me and grab us a few glasses of wine from the catering boys. The videographer returns and I establish myself at the base of his tripod. Despite the day's frustration (reaching its high point when I was accused of lacking initiative because I could not find a way to break into the tent grounds) all of this has been worth it as I have the best front row view for the show. I would need a zoom lens instead of my usual 35 prime to get good shots at this size of venue but at least I have had the opportunity to learn from these experiences. 

Lavin Fall/Winter 2011