Fashion

THE CHANEL SHOW; WHAT HAPPENS ON THE STREETS

Yesterday morning the highlight of Paris Fashion Week took place: the Chanel show. It doesn’t matter what way you look at it, there is no greater spectacle than this. Just like every season, all fashion forces head off to the Grand Palais which is hands down one of the prettiest locations in the city. Last season King Karl transformed the entire place into a Chanel airport, before that it was a French café and before that, a grocery store – anyway, you get the point: big, bigger, biggest.

Decor wise this year, they were a bit more subtle. On the invite (which I unfortunately didn’t have) it stated: “front row only” with a small picture of a chair. Like I said, I didn’t have an invite. I watched the show through Instagram and Snapchat and indeed: it all seemed a whole lot more calm than what we’ve been used to. I think the idea was to recreate the feeling of a private viewing like they used to do when new collections were introduced: a few rows of chairs so everyone could see everything. Except in this specific case it was hundreds of rows of chairs and everyone was indeed seated front row.

But as expected, the spectacle outside the venue was just as grandiose and impressive as the runway. And an added bonus: you don’t need an invite to watch it. So I hopped in the subway headed towards the Grand Palais and as I exited, I hit the jackpot. Chiara Ferragni was passing by so all the photographers were going crazy.

You have to imagine that every big show has about 100, perhaps even more, photographers standing outside. For shows that have ‘regular’ celebrities (think Bieber, Rihanna, those kinds of guys), a huge chunk of the group are paps. They’re goal is simple: make sure to snap a good shot of the celeb in question. These photos are then sold for a ton of money to photo agencies and newspapers.

The other part of the group are the street style photog’s, and the amount has increased immensely the past few years. Brands and labels deck out influential fashion figures in their designs, hoping that they will be photographed wearing their clothes for free PR for the company. Street style images are hugely popular and pretty much any website and magazine uses them so they often even send out their own photographers to the shows to capture it all.

And that’s the big difference with the paps: street style photographers are all about capturing the outfit as best as they can. Clothing first, then the person wearing it. Albeit there are a few exceptions like Chiara for example, who has become so popular that people would even take photos of her if she was wearing nothing but a trash bag. But even people who aren’t famous get photographed, as long as they’re suited up in a killer outfit. This always results in a couple of crazies walking around in the most hysterical outfits who only have one goal in mind: get photographed.

The latter can be experienced in all its glory at Chanel. Everything, from celebrities to fashion mavens to bloggers to customers and everything in between can be found here. And a lot of them actually go inside for the show and the other chunk stay outside – myself included. Dammit. Imagine a dozen big black cars with tinted windows driving by, a celebrity coming out and photographers barricading that person in a split second. Then on the other side of the street a bird of paradise comes walking down the street and the entire group skids over that way to reenact the exact same thing. Seriously, it’s so entertaining and fun to see the workout the photographers have running from one person to the next. Everything for the perfect shot.

Incase you are ever in Paris during Fashion Week, spend the last Tuesday of PFW at the Grand Palais around 10 AM and the afternoon in the Jardin des Tuileries, where Valentino always has its show. Find a place to sit and watch. You’ll be so entertained by the spectacle we refer to as Fashion Week. And on the street, it’s always “front row only.”