Tuesday, March 8, 2011

What happens at Paris Fashion Week?

Paris FashionWeek is best described as hectic. As this was my first time at PFW, I wasnt sure what to expect and given how different NYFW and LFW were, I was ready for pretty much anything. And that is probably the right attitude to have because PFW is aimed at testing your endurance, dedication and commitment to fashion. I only had the weekend at PFW so I was determined to cram as much as possible into those two days.

PFW shows are spread all over Paris, so you are forced to become closely acquainted with the Metro from the word 'go'. A lot of the venues are not disclosed on the official timetable so the added challenge is to find out where the shows are.. of course everybody finds out eventually but I guess the suspense adds to the excitement of the whole thing.

Paris Fashion Week is like New York, London and Milan fashion weeks put together and on steroids. There are more photographers, more paparazzi, more fashionistas, more editors and more glamour; and all of this is set against the gorgeous backdrop that is Paris.

So here are my highlights and impressions from my two days at PFW (I am secretly happy and relieved that I didnt have any more days because frankly, I doubt I would've survived a whole week):
  • there are way more tourists at PFW than any other fashion week
  • as a photographer you are at risk of becoming a victim of stampede of other photographers chasing celebrities and editors
  • you are also at risk of becoming a roadkill as the streets are narrow and the mopeds, cars and cyclists are vast
  • a lot of the stampedes are caused by French celebrities, but you dont know it at the time and when you victoriously find yourself in the middle of the scrum you often realise you dont know who this big celebrity getting out of the black car actually is - awkward!
  • the 'hangers on'* tend to be much younger in Paris and can often be identified by a distinct lack of style - a juxtaposition to the uber-stylish legit Paris fashpack!
  • the 'hangers on' are RELENTLESS - I was so surprised to see some of them trying to get into Hermes show which is, lets face it, one of the most coveted shows at PFW! 
  • the photographers' scene is extremely competitive as locations are difficult to shoot at and the people you actually want to shoot are often not willing to stop because they are running late to a show
  • on that note - all the shows are running at least 30 minutes late because the venues are quite far apart
  • food/lunch/toilet breaks are near impossible to fit in as the schedule is so incredibly tight
  • the mystery of how Anna Wintour arrived and left the shows remained unsolved - I did not see her walking into a show once over the two days.. but she was there in the front row
  • Kanye West attended a record number of shows being patient and photographing with fans
  • Paris is pretty. Even police officers are pretty. All the bloggers/photographers had a group crush on the the police/traffic control lady outside the Hermes show! 
*by 'hangers on' I mean people who come to the shows with the sole purpose of hanging out outside the fashion show venue. They do not photograph, I doubt they blog and I am pretty sure their main purpose is to actually get into a show without any particular interest in the designers or the clothes.

Jardins des Tuileries - the main venue for PFW
the fashpack


Nadine2point0 said...

Great post!!

the nyanzi report said...

Impressive observation. So true.

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the style crusader said...

Amazing! I love reading your take on all the different fashion weeks! Sounds like absolute mayhem... London was just about as much as I could handle. Can't wait to see more photos! xx