A bunch of nicely dressed, young Parisians gather in a grungy alleyway. something is due to happen.
This something has been happening in this city for nearly a week now. It is Paris's fashion week, the best time to be in town. For us it's busy. You might have noticed that this is becoming more of a photo blog than a textual one. This is because the French adventure is financed by articles and I need to pour my words where money comes from. I'm not complaining, though. When your gig is to write an article about fashion week. You are in serious luck.
First of all, you get to mix with a nice crowd. Fashion's in the details,
and so the public at the shows is often as interesting to encounter as the creations.
Then there are the works themselves. A definite fave is this year's collection by India's Manish Arora. A man with an imagination.
Russia's Alena Akhmadullina showed at a somewhat more upscale venue: the Carousel arcade beneath the Louvre. It was so posh the floor was literally cellophaned.
Alena knows how to be elegant.
Her designs feature some of the human hair that's been used in recent Years. I think it Was Givenchy that introduced it in Paris last year. It met with some success in the London Fashion week. It's true we still don't see people in wig skirts on the streets, but the filtering down to independent designers signals the stubborn persistence of an infant trend.
I spend most of the shows with the photographers on the media tribune, while Itka does most of the research. I'm still a straight guy, for Christ's sake. Theres only so far a I can go in interpreting fashion, although I don't understand why there aren't more straight men in this business full of stunning (albeit generally underfed) women.
It's fun on the tribune. The crowd is international and the little intrigues over who-gets-which-spot occupy us during the dead spells before the catwalk is set on fire. Then it's fun to look at the photographers swaying unconsciously to the cool music.
Japan's Junko Shimada offered the most difficult show to photograph, the lighting conditions were abominable, but visiting another planet is always a worthwhile treat.
Then again, there's certainly no planet quite as groovy as planet Paris.