We scurried around to this season’s shows in sub-freezing temperatures
wearing Chanel and Louboutin stilettos. No carrying
around bags of sensible shoes for us! At night our swollen feet received
hot baths. “It was worth it.”
Best show of the season? Christian Lacroix. This
was Mr. Lacroix’s 36th season in Haute Couture, and one of his
finest. Finally the fashion writers of the New York Times and the International
Herald Tribune have stopped harping on his commercial appeal. All in
good time, as Mr. Lacroix’s haute couture company has been bought
by a Florida based duty-free operation, The Falic Group, and it remains
to be seen where this beautiful design house goes from here.
was a delight to have Fashionlines’ editor at large
Margaret Pluvinage to help Timothy Hagy and me cover the shows .
We had a marvelous
dinner at Joël Robuchon with
Margaret’s husband Vincent, and said
hello there to Alan
and Susan Casden of Los Angeles, in Paris to see the
shows. The following night, Vincent took Margaret and me to Drouant,
the beautiful old restaurant in the 2nd arrondissement, famous
for its hosting of the Prix Goncourt, France’s highest
writing award. We dined downstairs, and afterward
saw the room on the second floor where the most famous French
writers have convened since 1903. Photographic portraits
of Jean Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir and others
lined the walls. This was a real thrill for me as a writer
and the wife of a philosopher.
It was a thrill, too, to introduce Margaret to my old friends on
aura tout vu, whose magnificent show we adored. Everyone
I knew wanted to get their hands on something from their Spring ’05
collection. Based on a theme I am hopelessly attracted to, semi-precious
stones and their meanings, I lusted after the jasper landscape
encrusted coat, while Margaret eyed the jade embroidered tunic.
All said, however, it was a good thing Margaret and I were in warm
coats on the night we had a little dining adventure on our own. We
ended up on the lake of the Bois de Boulogne, which Vincent later
mentioned is a “dangerous place”. Unbeknownst to us, the
restaurant we picked for the evening, Le Chalet des Iles employs
a boat to take you from the shore to the restaurant, a former
hunting retreat. As it was snowing and rather chilly, we devoured our
curried shrimp and Basmati rice entrees, while realizing that the Chalet
des Iles would be the perfect place to take the families on a summer
day (it even has a children’s menu). Proof of its appeal is that
it was packed on a weeknight in the January snow. We can't vouch for
any danger, other than to remind readers that the Bois de Boulogne
is where Dior has held its couture shows for the past several seasons.
We had a drink at the Ritz bar with our dear friend Tatiana
Sorokko, now a contributing editor at Harper’s Bazaar. Glenda
Bailey, editor in chief of Harper’s Bazaar came by
to say hi with John Galliano, whom we had last seen from
the Dior runway dressed as Napoleon. I couldn’t help
but notice that his appearance caused hardly a ripple in the bar.
I remember sitting at the Ritz bar during a fashion week back in
1990, and when Claude Montana walked into the room, the excitement
at every table was palpable. Times have really changed.
Finally we were put on the alert by our friend, plastic surgeon
Olivier Henry de Frahan that Yumi Katsura, the diminutive
Japanese designer of one of our favorite shows, will soon be opening
her salon in Paris. According to Henry, Miss Katsura commands
the same six figures in Japan for her wedding gowns that Mr. Galliano
commands in Paris. Times really are changing. This was my
12th Haute Couture season and I savored every moment of it. Who
knows where Haute Couture goes from here?