They say Paris would be perfect without Parisians. “They” have clearly never heard of Paris Fashion Week, the one time of the year when this sleepy little village becomes inhabited by fresh, international blood, practically washing away its French inhabitants and transforming it into an outpost of New York. Personally, I thrive on this for exactly three days, up until the moment when I share my Le Progrès banquette with one to many Americans, all of which seem to have invisible loudspeakers tucked into their designer lapels. Nonetheless, it is undoubtedly a fun time in the city, providing endless opportunities to intermingle with the locals and spice up your dating palette. For those of you young fashion creatures visiting the City of Light and Love and seeking for a temporary distraction, I have created a guide that will help you utilize PFW to your romantic advantage.
Scope out the trade shows. While I am personally on a very serious Fashion Guy Detox, I wouldn’t disregard this breed of male species altogether. Amongst the myriad of useless DJ-photographer hybrids – aka Unemployment Artists – that pervade the city’s every nook and cranny, there are also quite a few talented, interesting men who just so happen to work in the fashion industry. While the chances of meeting them at the défilés are slim to none, some can be found at trade events like Première Classe and Tranoi. Pretend to be a buyer for a nonexistent store in Eastern Europe and make appointments with the cutest ones. (Um, hello – how did Carrie meet Aidan?!) My muse, who is always at these things, gets asked by owners of random sneakers brands – right in the middle of meetings – on a regular basis!
Hit up the afterparties. This one is easy as 1-2-3: all you need is the Ten Days in Paris party crashing guide, a genius compilation that will allow you to peruse every cocktail and afterparty and book launch in town. Be aware that these places are predominantly frequented by the aforementioned Unemployment Artists and should be used purely for drinking / entertainment purposes. (Yes, I am trying to grow up and so should you!)
Step it up sartorially. First of all, the shows are swarming with armies of street style photographers, the select few of which are both cute and straight (Adam Katz Sinding of Le 21ème comes to mind immediately). The more sartorially interesting you appear, the higher your chances of catching their attention, raising your street style profile, and potentially becoming half of the next Scott & Garançe power couple, If this fails, I propose a more creative approach – find an unsuspecting victim somewhere by the Tuileries or Palais Royal, explain that you are a prolific street style blogger and the sartorial selection of millions of readers is hanging by your next outfit post. Hand him a giant Canon camera and make him follow you around while you straddle historical monuments and faux-touch the tip of the Louvre Pyramid.
Enjoy the old-school locales. The beauty of PFW is that it opens the doors to beautiful spots like the École des Beaux Arts and Hôtel Salomon de Rothschild to us mere mortals, transporting us to a time when Paris truly was the epicenter of all things glamorous. Play the lead role in your own little fairytale by perching yourself in an open-air café and lingering over a café crème for a few hours too many. Who knows, maybe your New Car Smell (i.e. the scent that women exude in a new city, causing men to flock) will work wonders, and Mr. Right will perch himself next to you, changing the course of your life forever. (And, yes, maybe I should have been a fiction writer.)
Image via Lord Ashbury.