ELLE Ed-in-Chief's Paris Fashion Week diary: day 1
Andrea lunches with Jonathan Liang and goes to the star-studded H&M show in the evening. It's a fun start to Paris Fashion Week!
I arrived at my hotel in Paris not to a welcoming hotel room bed and a nice warm shower, but an apologetic concierge informing me that my room wouldn’t be ready for another two to three hours. Luckily, as I took a stroll outside in search of le petit dejeuner (breakfast!), I spotted Paris Baguette on the corner of the street of my hotel. An interesting discovery indeed, seeing as this is a Korean chain. Anyone who has been to Seoul would have seen this French-style bakery on practically every corner. I decided to pop in anyway (the free wifi sign helped my decision) to see just how French this place could be, in the Frenchiest of places (um, Paris), and am glad to report that I completely enjoyed my galette jambon fromage (ham and cheese galette), with my café au lait.
Finally my room was ready. and after settling in I made lunch plans with our favourite Malaysian designer living in Paris, Jonathan Liang. We ate at a typical French bistro, where a glass of wine costs €1, while he showed me pictures of his latest Autumn/Winter 15 collections for both his eponymous line and Dude & the Duchess, of which he is the creative director. I only got to see pictures because he has shipped all the clothes to Hong Kong already, but he assured me that I am the very first member of the media to view both collections, and I felt all warm and fuzzy. I was particularly impressed by his collection for his own line, which was inspired by American artist Jim Hodges’ ‘Untitled’ series, which consists of large blocks of granite half covered in reflective stainless steel and lacquer in coloured metallics.
A piece from Jim Hodges' 'Untitled' series, which inspired Jonathan Liang. (Photo: Instagram/jonathanliang_)
This juxtaposition of natural and organic with manmade and manipulated elements is what makes Jonathan's collection shine. Plus, the fabrication is just magnificent. Jonathan shared that he showed his fabric manufacturers a picture of a stone with an iridescent and cracked surface, and told them to follow it as closely as possible, and the end result is simply stunning.
Next was dinner at the fancy L’Opera restaurant, courtesy of H&M, a little pre-show meal before what was going to be an out-of-this-world event. At the Grand Palais, we were given hints of the show set up with two large posters on the façade depicting lunar surfaces. Sure enough, once we were inside, the runway was decorated with UFO-like contraptions made out of aluminum foil, the lights were flashing blue and purple and there were more than a few smoke machines around. The seats and walls were plastered with moon surface wallpaper, and clusters of pillows with the same print were scattered over the seats (I snagged one to take home as a souvenir). There was much celeb-spotting as I made my way to my seat, including Bond girl Olga Kurylenko, French darling Audrey Tatou, queen of cool Solange Knowles, and English model Erin O’Connor.
(L-R) Karolina Kurkova, Olga Kurylenko and Solange Knowles (Photo: Instagram/ellemalaysia)
With this space-age set up, the collection that was presented was a surprise. It was more retro than futuristic, more utilitarian than otherworldly. This was certainly not a bad thing. Wearable winter layers, from nylon parkas to oversized turtleneck sweaters and robe coats, were aplenty while Seventies-style suits, in glitzy green and black and a bright tangerine, felt modern again. Dresses, skirts and pants in a bold chevron print that came in green and blue are sure to fly off the shelves. After the finale of the show, the spacecrafts that were placed so strategically in the middle of the runway opened up to reveal a cocktail bar and a dessert counter inside, which was the best thing ever, short of little green men popping out. A DJ spun from inside one of these crafts, and the fashion crowd, which included supermodel Karolina Kurkova, danced the night away. Watch the take off below!