A Whirlwind Week of International Fashion, from Cali to Paris

Date: 03/24/2023

Oh readers, let me share with you what an exciting whirlwind trip I’ve had across the Atlantic to shop, explore, and most of all nourish my creative spirit through fashion, food, and fabulous art and architecture. Follow along with me as I take you through my exciting journey in Paris, sharing my first-hand thoughts on Chanel’s latest reveal, Hermès fashion re-see, and my visit to the exquisite Schiaparelli boutique…as well as little tastes of what I saw along the way. Enjoy!

Take me back to Paris!

If you’ve been a long-time follower, you’ll know Paris has a special place in my heart, and that it’s been three long years since I’ve been back there! What brings me back you ask? Well, I admit it’s not just the fashion that I love–but the pace of the place. There is a slow, charismatic, and deliberate atmosphere in Paris, and I can feel myself relaxing into that as soon as I step off the plane; as if I am becoming more conscious and intentional with every motion, just by being there. 

Everything seems more luxurious as well. From the plane ride, and the floating wonderful feeling of seeing the ocean so many leagues below, to the incredible hotel where we stayed – the lobbies and rooms filled with blooms of bright purples and greens (floral designs by Jeff Leathem), and gold accents everywhere the eye can see. I was in full abundance, pausing often to take it all in. I’m back! I found myself thinking often, grateful that my life (and body) continues to provide the opportunity to travel, taste, and experience all there is in the world to experience!

Chanel Fall-Winter from Virginie Viard

The true highlight of my trip was the Chanel Show at Paris Fashion week, where I spied tons of excited attendees all decked out in different eras of Chanel favorites–just as I was! Whispers went around the Grand Palais Éphémère (where the show was held) as we settled into our seats, holding a fresh-cut Camellia bloom that had been left for each of us, as we all eyed up a pair of giant white Camellias situated center-stage, wondering what the event would bring.

I’m happy to report that Chanel has done it once again, providing us with classic modernity in every piece with what I take as a medieval twist. Round-silhouette shorts and floral tights, tweed, and camellias adorning every piece in whites and blacks and purples, the collection developed an air of what is royal: as if each model were herself a queen on the runway, walking to meet her audience. And although each piece was heavily done up in neutrals, the camellia focus was paired with exquisite fabric texturing in quilted patterns that challenge the ways these textiles drape across the body–particularly exciting as Chanel explored a body positive show with plus and mid-size models on stage. I have since discovered the collection was inspired by a short film from Inez and Vinoodh, hence the long prairie dresses, culottes worn over lace tights, leatherette gloves, and apron-like A-line dresses. As each of these graceful forms went by, I became more and more eager for the finale, so I could see each fabulous piece again!

Of course, Chanel did not disappoint for the end of their show: in a stunning turn of mood and shadow, the large camellia sculptures center-stage were bathed in dramatic red light, sending a pink aura around the room as the blacks and whites of the collection took on an entirely new personality on their final walk down the runway. The camellias (the unifier for the collection) then seemed to take on a new brilliance, interwoven as they were into every piece.

Having started the trip with the amazing floral bouquets from Jeff Leatham, it was incredible to find flowers again a big part of this week’s fashion journey! 

I also made sure to ‘pit stop’ at Chanel during one of my shopping outings in Paris, where I managed to snag some incredible pastel knits and bright tweed that sent my senses into a full spring-time sensation! Just look at how much these colors pop like a bright spring day, or remind you of coloring eggs as a child for Easter. I soon learned that the childlike theme of these viewings would quickly become yet another theme that would crop up again and again on this trip:

Out Shopping: Be Back Soon!

Of course, in between all the excitement of each whirlwind day, I managed to do a little more shopping than just Chanel. When in Paris, after all! Almost immediately I knew I wanted to visit my friends at Louboutin and see what they had in store. Let me tell you, I am so excited by the ‘disco-tech’ inspired vision and color-palette that the shoe-maker is focusing on right now. From neon greens and pinks, to glossy transparent accents, I was obsessed with the cut and creativity of these new designs, imagining what retro outfits I could create by matching my new purchases with my wardrobe back home:

From there, my lovely friend Ingrid took me to Joseph Duclos. My luck was in abundance again when, on our visit, we were honored to talk to Ramesh Nair, the design house’s current designer. This was a deep moment for me, as I have been following Nair’s work closely since he was with Hermès, through his time with Moynat, and now with Duclos.

In a happy daze, I then became absolutely enamored in-store (where the customer service was excellent, I might add!) by the soft yet edgy handbag creations calling to me from every shelf. After much gushing over the different styles however, I knew it was the Diane Collection that most drew my eye, due to the line’s completely unique drop-latch closure on the front flap. Against the classic, streamlined leather, these bold clasps range in metal type, giving each their own unique “edge” while remaining soft and feminine–my favorite aesthetic!

I couldn’t help myself. After humming and hawing over which was the one I wanted to take home with me, I chose this fabulous red number with a silver clasp:

Hermès Re-See Extravaganza and Schiaparelli Treats

Thanks to that very same Instagram friend (@thebaghag), I enjoyed a surprise excursion at her invitation to a re-see (or press day viewing) of Hermès ‘sneak peek’ from next season’s collection. This was such a different fashion event than any regular fashion show (no runway, etc), but I did get the same happy feelings at witnessing what’s coming next from one of my favorite design houses! Plus, the bonus with the re-see is that, instead of watching from the sidelines, I was able to obsess over everything I wanted, up close and personal. 

Truly, the bags were as exquisite as the clean-cut presentation of the re-see itself. I fell in love immediately with the mini Kelly and the Studded Constance bags, but had to remind myself to be patient: after all, these bags aren’t yet in production, meaning I’ll have to wait until next season to get my hands on them again! Oh the anticipation…I mean, just look at this darling embroidered handbag! Could you resist?

From there, we explored other amazing designs coming down the road from Hermès, including a similar medieval theme in some of their chain accessories, from chain-mesh halters, to belted metal loops, to a chain-mail goblet on display! Every room had a different style to it as well, from edgy travel to pastel disco goddess.

Seriously, being among the fray I get the sense that we are going to be seeing much more in the coming seasons that reflect the themes I’ve mentioned from this week; let’s see if I’m right when next season we see more mid-century, retro-futuristic pastels and disco-wild silhouettes on the runways!

And after that we went to see gorgeous Schiaparelli boutique on Place Vendome. Once inside, we were given delicious access to pieces from their latest runway collection, as well as iconic items from past collections that are still in high demand. And while I admit the Chanel show and Hermès re-see were incredible in their art forms, I did get the sense of incomparable class, grace, and down-right zest for life as soon as I walked into Schiaparelli–though I refuse to succumb to a sense of betrayal to the other brands I love by being there—even though it’s true that this couture house from Italy does have competitive origins with Chanel. Oh well. Who doesn’t love a bit of healthy rivalry?

All that aside, the displayed collections ranged from bold and quirky, with far-out button embellishments, to exciting new twists on classic styles:

Besides this, the ‘home’ feel of the place, mixed with the non-seriousness of some of their designs (some of which actually look at you! haha!), really made the entire experience feel like being a kid again, working through the maze of rooms and exploring new delights at every turn. Then, every so often glimpsing the incredible architecture outside the windows out beyond the stunning jewels displayed in cases around the place, you would remember where you were and ‘grow back up again’…for just a moment:

Truly, it’s not often in my experience that you find absolute joy and mirth in a fashion collection or space, and the freedom these pieces imbued – to be exactly what they wanted to be.

Last Day in Paris: Succulent Eats

Happy that I had the chance to once more see the most romantic city in the world, my last day in Paris was filled with the delights of an amazing rooftop meal with my friend Enna. We took ourselves above the clouds to L’Oiseau Blanc, a Michelin-starred rooftop restaurant overlooking the Eiffel Tower.

Truly a finale to end all finales, our last fancy meal of the trip was fine indeed: we enjoyed course upon course of featured delicacies that explode on the tongue, leaving behind a lot of ‘mmms’ and ‘aaaahs’ at our table as we nibbled away.

Completely satisfied, my  eyes, minds, bellies, and hands full of wonderful tokens of my  trip, I said goodbye to my friends and stepped back onto the plane the next morning, exhausted but nourished, my sights set on the comforts of home…and all the new gems I brought back with me. Filled with much goodness in my heart from the trip, I hope you’ve gotten some good feelings yourself from hearing about this journey–and if you want to learn more, I’ve posted extra photos and snippets from this trip on my Instagram. I think you’ll agree, from all this together, that the trip was indeed a whirlwind week of fashion…and though it was incredible, I am happy to be back at the house with my family,, new inspirations and creativity rattling around in my mind, and a fun child-like passion for spring’s latest designs just around the corner.

Until next time,

Keep blooming and lots of love,