I love Paris. Love everything about it. The food. The people. The cafés. The champagne. The Champs. Chez Janou. (So good. It’s in le Marais behind Place des Vosges and I told the chef this season that if I murdered someone, which during fashion month is not outside the realm of possibility, and was getting the chair, and had to pick my last meal, his duck breast, mashed potatoes, and mousse au chocolat would be it. He found that mildly disturbing but took the compliment like a champ.) Running out of things that start with “c” here, so I’ll get to the point—most of all, I love the fashion. Maybe that’s because no one loves fashion with a capital F quite as much as les Parisiens. I mean, I’m not a Paris resident (I was briefly back in 2008 and—surprise—I loved it), however, as an outsider, the excitement around fashion and fashion week is palpable. In New York, it seems the general population thinks fashion week is…let’s call it “inconvenient.” In Paris, people line the block to try to get a glimpse of the action; they lit up the Eiffel Tower for Saint Laurent’s open-air extravaganza; they shut down the Champs-Élysées so Jane Fonda and Helen Mirren could hit the runway for L’Oréal. During that show, the crowd screamed the names of fashion stars like Naomi Campbell, who casually sauntered in long after the runway romp had begun. People in Paris just love fashion. And that’s infectious.
Fashion people, though, sometimes have a hard time loving fashion to that extreme. Pot meet kettle, I know—did you read my NYFW rant?—but I really felt that while, sure, some of the collections at the top were less than spectacular, there was so much to be excited about in Paris. Yes, there were some questionable bits—for instance, a number of people were super upset about those Balenciaga platform Crocs. Highsnobiety equated them to wearable meme-bait (accurate) and lamented the lack of craft at a top tier fashion house. I’m not thrilled that there were Crocs on the runway, but fashion is a product of its cultural surroundings, and honestly, what is more representative of our Internet-obsessed culture than wearable clickbait? The ’60s had women’s lib and thus, the mini skirt. The 2010s have the Kardashians, Insta girls, and thus, platform Crocs. Don’t blame Demna Gvasalia, blame the editors and producers and media executives who have championed vapid sensationalism while pushing depth and intellectualism to the brink of extinction…but I digress.