Yesterday was the inaugural Vogue Experience day in Paris, and it was every bit as fabulous as it sounds.
The French fashion bible chose the prestigious Hôtel du Duc near Opéra for the setting, with a dozen or so masterclasses spread across two floors.
Attendees could customize their Nike trainers and Levis denim up on the second floor, while the first floor featured skincare diagnosis with French brand Lierac, a blow dry bar courtesy of Dyson and make-up animations from NYX and Guerlain.
My personal favorite was learning how to authenticate an Hermès Birkin at a masterclass from French online luxury secondhand retailer Vestiaire Collective.
And because fashion is thirsty work, there was a Ladurée tea bar where you could stop and refuel.
The highlight was definitely getting my copy of Vogue Paris signed by editor-in-chief Emmanuelle Alt. And the Vogue tote bag with a selection of goodies that we were presented with on the way out was the icing on the cake.
If you’re coming to Paris before June 10 (or are lucky enough to live here), the Azzedine Alaia exhibition should be top of your to-do list.
Mostly monochrome, with a flash of red, it showcases 41 of the Tunisian-born designer’s works, chosen by fashion historian Olivier Saillard.
As Vogue’s Suzy Menkes mentioned on Instagram a while back, among the pieces on display is the dress worn by Naomi Campbell on the runway of Alaia’s last show in 2017, and a white version of the vivid pink draped dress worn by Grace Jones in 1985.
Tickets cost a bargain €5.
Azzedine Alaia “Je suis couturier” is on through June 10 at the Azzedine Alaia Association, 18 rue de la Verrerie, 75004.
If the Dior exhibition on at Paris’ Les Arts Décoratifs was right up your street, then the recently opened Musée Yves Saint Laurent is not to be missed either.
The museum is located in the legendary hôtel particular at 5 Avenue Marceau, where Yves Saint Laurent designed his collections for almost 30 years, from 1974 to 2002.
Around fifty designs are on display, alongside sketches, photographs and videos.
Visitors can see the haute couture salons, where clients would be welcomed by after collections were presented to place their orders, as well as the studio where Saint Laurent worked.
Musée Yves Saint Laurent, 5 avenue Marceau 75016
The Hermès Les Mains Sans Sommeil (The Sleepless Hands) exhibition on at Paris’ Palais de Tokyo is so wonderfully weird, I went to see it twice in one weekend.
It showcases the work of the nine artists that took part in the second cycle of the Artists’ Residencies programme of Hermès’ Fondation d’entreprise. These chosen few, who were mentored by leading figures on the contemporary scene, were able to discover the artisan skills used at Hermès’ workshops, with work created during this time showcased alongside other works by the same artists.
From spoons to shoes via a shop of nightmares, this must-see installation will definitely leave its mark.
On until 7 January at Palais de Tokyo, 13 avenue du président Wilson, 75016.
If you haven’t yet been to the free Hermès exhibition at Paris’ Grand Palais, make sure you fit in a visit before it closes on 3 December.
The exhibition celebrates the work of Leila Menchari, arguably France’s most famous window dresser, who was responsible for creating the flamboyant window displays of Hermès’ flagship store at 24 rue de Faubourg Saint Honoré.
“How much does one of those cost?” and “Will I ever be rich enough to afford one?” were the questions that immediately sprung to mind as I salivated over the haute couture gowns on display at the Dior exhibition at Paris’ Musée des Arts Décoratifs (on until 7 January).
Called Christian Dior, Couturier du Rêve, the exhibition celebrates the 70th anniversary of the House of Dior, showcasing more than 300 couture gowns created between 1947 and the present day.
Most of the pieces on display have never been seen before in Paris, coming as they do from Dior’s heritage collection.
Looking at the exquisite craftsmanship and stunning designs, it’s not hard to see why Dior has dressed royalty, first ladies and maybe one day (in my dreams)….Isabelle Andover?
Despite having lived in Paris for many years, there’s still so much about the city I don’t know. So with Halloween fast approaching, my friends and I decided to book ourselves on the Paris Dark Side Tour to see a few sights not in the guide book.
Our tour guide was Justine, who, armed with her history degree and bags of enthusiasm, dug up lots of interesting facts about Paris, the French revolution and writers like Marquis de Sade, Victor Hugo and Jean Paul Marat.
We visited the site of Paris’ first cemetery, the city’s morgue (which apparently used to attract up to 40,000 people gawping at the dead) and learned about the non-Disney version of Victor Hugo’s Notre-Dame de Paris (The Hunchback of Notre Dame). Then it was off to Hotel de Ville, where public executions took place, and on to Place des Vosges, where Justine read us a passage from Peter Weiss’s play Marat/Sade. We finished up, quite fittingly, at Place de la Bastille, the birthplace of the French Revolution.
And once the tour was over, we decided to book ourselves onto the pub crawl, which was also organised by Sandemann New Europe Tours. Because you can take the Brit out of England…
The Dark Side tour is running up until Halloween, so make sure you don’t miss out.