Life is all about making things happen, and for me, one of the things I had always wanted to tick off my bucket list was Couture Week. Not only as a blogger (4 years and counting), but for the child in me who used to look wide eyed at magazine spreads, watching Fashion TV, wondering what it was like to live that glamorous experience. I had shoved it aside because Fashion Week invitations are only for celebrities, magazine editors, fashion buyers and the likes, and it isn’t an event you can buy tickets to attend, but a highly coveted personal invitation must be in your possession.
I want to share my first hand experience with you if you ever get the chance to attend PFW, I went clueless but you don’t have to!
A couple of years into my fashion blogging path I started receiving the random invite now and then but I never made it happen. It was either work or family or just general laziness from my part. This year and as part of trying new things and living with no “what ifs”, I made it happen in record time. Within a week, even less, I had confirmed my invitations, booked a flight and hotel and started thinking of outfits to wear to the shows. In fact, I was still looking at hotels a day before my flight, it was all so surreal and happening fast.
The challenge was deciding on my PFW outfits in addition to my day to day clothes for an entire week. Being freezing cold in Paris in January implied heavy coats and layers and no cute frilly dresses, but I knew I could use my styling skills to mix and match pieces without sacrificing warmth.
I was off to Paris knowing nothing, expecting everything.
I didn’t get sucked into the whole “Oh-my-God-I-have-to-book-a-photographer-for-a-photoshoot” trend, nothing wrong with cell phone pics, am I right? Fact is, these sessions for PFW are time consuming, so unless you’re a) collaborating with a clothing store, b) have a friend who happens to be a photographer and can do a quick impromptu couple of shots or c) a celebrity, then disregard this (beautiful but not really necessary) element of Fashion Week. You know what else? Ditch the heels, I’m serious. Whether you are taking a cab to the venue or arriving by metro, there’s a whole lot of walking and waiting before each show. Expect to stand for at least an hour before being seated, and always have your invitation handy, as you’ll have to show if to around 5 or more different people as you pass each check point. The wait is long but the shows are short and never start on time. I had to miss one of the shows due to the overlap in timing, looking back there was no way I would have been able to make it with all the waiting going on. You will enter and be seated while rehearsals are still ongoing, and it is part of the experience. If you are lucky enough to go backstage, then by all means do! Meet the designer, have a glass of champagne, take photos and chit chat with socialites from all over the world. Another thing I learned is less is more, don’t stress your outfit, and I mean what I’m about to say in the nicest way possible, no one cares. All eyes will be on the models and celebrities so if you’re dressing up, do it for yourself. I don’t regret my outfits, for they were the epitome of simplicity, and I did actually get a bunch of follow up comments at later shows when women recognized me as the lady wearing the cape. But other than that, don’t sweat it, stay casual.
Georges Hobeika presentation for his Spring/Summer 2018 collection was at Universite Paris Descartes, Faculte De Medecine. The collection was inspired by Greek goddesses and ancient civilizations, intricate details on the dresses were in perfect harmony with the oversized earrings and crown like headpieces. The show was stunning, each outfit more beautiful than the next in terms of design, color and structure.
I got the chance to go backstage for a souvenir photo with the designer himself, as well as mingle with the models and staff while having a closer look at the dresses in the fitting room.
I wore a piece close to my heart, as I had revealed earlier during the fashion show that this cape is an heirloom handed down to me by my aunt, and it is handmade from Ecuador. I had never worn it before and was leaving it for something very special, and what better than an occasion like Fashion Week to rock this dramatic piece? I opted for understated makeup, focusing only on the eyes with a simple black liner as to not overpower my outfit and accessories. The earrings I wore I’ve been hanging on to for years, and the necklace is a gift of rare jewels from my hubby from Africa.
Rani Zakhem at The Westin Paris Vendome. The venue was majestic, and the designs were feminine and ethereal.
Walking around Paris in boots the first day wasn’t ideal, so I decided to choose comfort for practical purposes and mixed and matched to achieve this look. I picked up this coat while walking in Montmartre, paired it with a simple black top, a silk maxi skirt and punk rock inspired studded bag.
Georges Chakra at Musee de L’Homme at Place du Trocadero. The collection tells of a modern fairy-tale with a touch of timeless glamour and delicate muted colors.
For this show I wore a cozy sweater with a dramatic collar, pattern pants with the same versatile coat and shoes as the previous day.
Dany Atrache at Boulevard Des Italiens conveys the age of enlightenment with delicate feminine designs and a hint of oriental flair.
I am over the moon that I had the chance to attend, and what makes me so proud is that Lebanese designers were rocking Paris Fashion Week. No talent comes close to ours when it comes to creativity in fashion, it was a truly goosebump rendering moment to see crowds from all over the world gathering to watch our very own designers displaying their collections.
If you’re interested to watch more coverage of Paris Fashion Week through my eyes, head to my Instagram profile @stylememaria and click on the story highlight titled “PFW”, and enjoy the action!