I ordered a big hot chocolate at the café in the Tuileries gardens yesterday morning and I watched people run every which way trying to escape the rain. Parisian rain, it made me so happy. It purifies the air, gets people running, and often hides a big orange sun.
I was watching the girls leaving the Lagerfeld show. They cracked up as their heels sunk into the mud. Sunday joggers continue on as if nothing’s happening. Photographers protect their equipment with their dreams of fortune, enough to keep them shooting the two starlets who made the effort to get up early for Karl.
Just next to us, only fashion people, come to find shelter here a little like trying to get on the last lifeboat. Camcorders, flashes, cameras, everything has taken a quick break for a few minutes before leaving for the next shows. Lots of wrecked blow-dries and wrinkled dresses, and tons of laughter.
We turn around back toward our coffees, this fashion week is different. You get the feeling here of an amused weariness as if the financial crisis has given us the opportunity to relax a little, stop playing the game for two seconds. You dress up less, smile more. You’re making your way, a teeny tiny bit, toward the earth, toward being grounded.
And better for everyone after all, because these fashion girls, no one asked for their opinion. One of them, who can’t take one step into a runway show without being assaulted by a hoard of photographers, told me about the immense pressure it all creates at the last second. Really? I get it.
This big breath of air that the fashion world is taking is giving everyone a rest, and even if the photographers are pushing their way more and more into the entrance of the runway shows just to get a shot of the new looks and take feverish notes on the brand name of every last thing (all the way down to the socks, you gotta do it) that the girls are wearing, you get the sense that the girls are a little more lax with it all, wearing clothes from last season. Finally.
It’s outside of all of that where I find myself taking a picture of a pretty girl, who is happy to pose, all the time I want, and all the time the horde of 364,756 photographers to my sides wants as well with her, frozen in the glacial winds in a summer dress, in Dior, top to bottom, at the Dior show, and all is well because it’s all Dior she tells me, and I say okay, fine. You can chill out with all the BS. Yeah, it’s pretty, but what do you want me to do here?
Just like the rain yesterday, the financial crisis has done some good. It puts everything back into perspective. You learn to really look again, to notice. And I see it here in Paris more than anywhere else as it was here that I saw my first runway show, and I can compare the craziness of the bling bling from a few seasons ago with the somewhat relaxed spirit of today.
The clouds are parting some. They left just enough space for that big orange sun.
Translation : Tim Padraic Sullivan