Last Thursday night, when Coperni earned the distinction of being the only brand lớn host an audience during Paris Fashion Week, I realized that the last time I had been inside the Accor Aremãng cầu was for the Off-White show a year ago. Baông xã then, hundreds of us squeezed onto lớn benches looking out to lớn a runway strewn with disfigured vintage cars. Pitched vertically as though defying gravity, sliced in half & tilted sideways, they appeared like ostentatious industrial artworks, staged gratuitously.

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Now, cars were baông chồng on the runway, only with the purpose lớn separate us, a group numbering around 70. Coperni’s Sébastien Meyer & Arnaud Vaillant had fearlessly and masterfully orchestrated a drive-in défilé as a workaround khổng lồ COVID-19 restrictions. With our PCR-tested drivers and no mingling allowed outside the vehicles, we watched the show from inside 36 electric vehicles—our windows down, the headlights throwing spotlights on the models. The effect was thrilling, but the empty stadium seating struông chồng me as yet another chilling reminder of how much the world has changed.


For anyone in Paris during the fall 2020 shows last February, those days và the experiences that filled them will remain inextricably linked to lớn our final memories of the Before Times (a term that initially registered lượt thích a science-fiction thiết đặt until we collectively realized there was no going back). Today, one year since the World Health Organization declared the novel coronavi khuẩn, SARS-CoV-2, a pandemic và with mass vaccination campaigns underway, the darkest days may be behind us. Let’s not rush to celebrate, of course; but now that these lachạy thử collections have wrapped, designers, who inherently think months ahead, seem determined khổng lồ deliver some newly calibrated joie de vivre. (More on that to lớn follow.)

Make no mistake, things here are not bachồng khổng lồ normal by any stretch; restaurants, cafés, & cultural institutions have sầu been closed since the over of October. A few weeks before this second confinement, I had written about the season’s lineup of fashion-related exhibitions & how the Matisse retrospective at the Centre Pompidou was likely to lớn be a blockbuster. How Pollyannaish that reads all these months later. What’s more, authorities have given no indication as khổng lồ when they might lift the 6 p.m. curfew, regardless of the longer days that are testing our willingness to lớn observe it. And as Mayor Anne Hidalgo pointed out during an interview on France Inter this past Monday, the situation continues to be “serious” và “preoccupying,” with the country’s weekly average of daily COVID-19 cases stable at around 21,000. Translation: We’re hardly out of the woods yet.

If your last visit was pre-coronavirut, you would be shocked by the state of Paris in shutdown; but anyone living here no longer dwells on this. The other day, my eye landed on the characteristic bistro signage advertising service continu (“nonstop service”), & I wondered how thousands upon thousands of restaurant workers have sầu been passing the time—& making ends meet. It’s not unusual to see lines outside stores such as Louis Vuitton on the Place Vendôme và Kith—newly opened, gorgeous, and gleaming with good vibes—although this has more khổng lồ vị with crowd control than a swell of international tourists. (Kith, for instance, requires a reservation and allows just 30 people inside every 30 minutes.) Interestingly, one of the hot conversation topics right now is whether we can look forward to lớn a redux of the Roaring Twenties. (On the radio this morning, economists Thomas Piketty & Dominique Seux essentially arrived at the same conclusion: Expect a few months, not a decade.) Outwardly, Parisians are tolerating the situation, but it’s obvious that everyone is desperate lớn resume the activities that render the đô thị so special.

Here is where I giới thiệu that I have sầu not once left Paris—not even a day trip lớn the countryside, despite some lovely và generous invitations—since December 2019. While I can’t fully explain such self-imposed confinement within the confinements, it’s made me especially sensitive sầu khổng lồ the city’s adaptations, people’s shifting behaviors and moods, and the passage of time when subject khổng lồ circumstances often beyond our control. It’s made me, in the quotidian aspects of life, consider the line from Lawrence Ferlinghetti, who died last month, “I am awaiting, perpetually và forever, a renaissance of wonder.”

At their best, Fashion Weeks serve up some solid wonder. But with no shows, no gatherings, và none of the precious in-between moments, those of us here spent the week trying khổng lồ find it elsewhere. Like in the abundant sprays of magnolia, forsythia, & camellia blossoms arriving early around town. Or in the newly reopened Hermès store on the Left Bank, an architectural oasis that occupies a former swimming pool. Or in something as simple as an Iné vegetarian bento prepared by Sarah Ueta, who as of this season pivoted from her fashion-P..R. gig lớn hosting Fashion Week’s tastiest pop-up at the Broken Arm. Or in the intimate showroom visits, which felt like an enormous privilege and sheer pleasure. There was the moment that Guillaume Henry of Patou told me how his team gets excited anytime they spot someone dressed in a more eccentric way. “With our view to lớn Saint-Michel, we see an incalculable number of people, so anytime you see someone more fantastical, you just want lớn open the window and applaud them.” Or the moments ogling the surreamenu bijoux circa 2021 at Schiaparelli, where Daniel Roseberry said, “You should be stopped on the street every five sầu minutes in these pieces,” rightly adding, “but it’s not campy, it’s not a joke.”

Marine Serre in her 19th-arrondissement atelier. Photo: Amy Verner

Photo: Amy Verner

Daniel Roseberry at Schiaparelli. Photo: Amy Verner

Photo: Amy Verner
Guillaume Henry at Patou. Photo: Amy Verner

Photo: Amy Verner

Catching up with Rabih Kayrouz was especially poignant—our first time reunited since he was injured and his headquarters were destroyed in the Beirut explosion. He noted how one client had asked hlặng to lớn reissue a housedress from an old collection, & in doing so, he realized how he was sitting on so many valuable archive sầu designs that he could propose anew. He then proceeded lớn slip the dress over his head và onto his slimmer frame. (There is a considerable menswear potential here.) Visiting Marine Serre’s headquarters in a mixed-used building in the 19th arrondissement included an eye-opening tour of her deadstoông chồng inventory—piles và piles of table linens, T-shirts, blankets, denim. There was also a sense of discovery in the moments spent with Victor Weinsankhổng lồ và Kevin Germanier, two young, independent designers whose respective sầu collections (the former, a cross between street and burlesque; the latter, wearably flamboyant) are hedging that brighter days are ahead.

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What’s interesting to consider amid all the videos is how many of them took advantage of being unconstrained by city venues and audience numbers. Had this been a typical Paris Fashion Week, Thom Browne & Miu Miu could not have sầu filmed in snowy, mountainous destinations; Dior would not have decamped to lớn Versailles; Rick Owens couldn’t have sầu benefited from the same Venetian winter light; Chanel could not have sầu accommodated thousands of guests at Castel (they just would have reconstructed it), và so forth. Even Louis Vuitton took advantage of no audience khổng lồ film in the (relatively) narrower Denon galleries of the Louvre versus its tent in the Cour Carrée.

I happened to lớn be walking past the Louvre the morning that the video was underway, which reminded me of a recent comment a frikết thúc made: “I forget what FOMO feels like.” I’m sure the filming would have been fun, but my yearning is rooted in the museum itself— breathtaking galleries, the artworks across centuries, the sense of historical perspective. In the final seconds of the film, a Model looks up at the Winged Victory of Samothrace, which felt loaded with symbolism given that a year ago, on the eve of confinement, President Emmanuel Macron repeated several times in his speech, “We are at war.” Years from now, with more hindsight, people will be assessing those words in the context of what we have sầu lived through.

Incidentally, the word that was on my mind all week was attend và its double meaning in English (khổng lồ be present) & in French (wait or expect). We are all still waiting; but pretty soon, with any hope, we will all be attending—the shows, the concerts, the family events—once again. Runway

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