Monday, March 14, 2011



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

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