Paris Fashion Week: Being part of the crowd

Friday, 11 March 2011

I finally left Paris with all its distractions and I can focus on telling you everything about how it feels like to be in Paris at the Paris Fashion Week! If you haven't been there you can't even begin to imagine all the mixed feelings, the insecurities - will I ever get a good picture? will I be close enough? am I tall enough to see anything? - the hurting feet when you spend an entire day on 4 inch heels and you have to run around on cobblestones or go up and down massive staircases, the adrenaline rush when you see someone you've been dreaming to see all your life for the first time. It's simply amazing!

The best day for me was Tuesday with the Chanel and Valentino fashion shows. I woke up early in the morning and anticipating that I would have a long day I put the stilettos in my bag and left the house in flats - the best decision of my life I'd say. Crazy being something normal in my agenda, I was sitting in a crowded subway when I changed my shoes in front of everyone and got off at Grand Palais, near the Champs Elysées. The huge staircase, the adjacent park and the space in front of the building were all full of people, I couldn't believe what I was seeing! A lot of bloggers and street style photographers, accredited photographers and free-lancers, everybody was holding a camera and looking around them to catch the best pictures, the best outfits, the celebrities - anything worth their attention.

I quickly got the hang of it: where is the best place to photograph people coming to or leaving the show depending on the hour, how not to get stomped on your already aching feet when the crowds get crazy (yes, I did in fact get stomped once and it was the last time I was going to let that happen considering the pain it caused!), how to smile at people, how to ask for permission to get a good picture - everything that most of the people there already knew. It's a tacit understanding between photographers and the people attending the show, we don't harass them and they are nice enough to let us take a lot of pictures. As you could already see in one of my previous posts about the photographers at the show, they all have very strong personal style and thought through every outfit they chose for fashion week. Like this one here, wearing studded Christian Louboutin shoes or the other one wearing a red bag and a fur coat:

Before the show I saw a lot of great outfits - Chanel of course, everyone was getting into the atmosphere of the show - and also some familiar faces, like Mr. Cortina, the Associate Fashion Director for Vogue Nippon that you also saw yesterday in my post about menswear or Alexandra Golovanoff a french journalist specialized in politics, economics and surprise, surprise fashion as well!

Mr. Cortina

Alexandra Golovanoff

As the minutes passed and the last guests were running to catch the show I focused my attention on the photographers and bloggers. Everybody was waiting for the show to finish and for the people to come out again to take some more pictures. They were gathering in small groups, commenting who they saw, what pictures they took, if they were any good. Some time afterwards, the first guests started to come out holding small Chanel gift bags in their hands. The break was over and everybody resumed their previous positions.

After finding some interesting faces and outfits, suddenly the crowd started to rush to a single spot near the staircase, pushing, gasping for air, trying to take someone's picture. Of course I rushed there instantaneously and tried to make my way through the madding crowd and pointed my camera to the same spot as all the other photographers - I didn't even see who we were trying to photograph - when all of a sudden I see a crazy beaded green skirt with pink roses poking out and I slowly started to look higher and higher until I reached the face. Then I froze... but that's another story because this post is getting too long! How about this afternoon, what do you say? It's worth the wait, trust me ;)

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