The Paris Fashion Week Adventures Of Zana Bayne & Todd Pendu
2/26 – Day 1
– Our flight to Paris arrives earlier than scheduled, landing at 10:30am. We cab it to our airbnb apartment in Le Marais which has a beautiful courtyard AND an elevator! We strategically found a sublet around the corner from my press showroom Public Image PR so right after getting the keys to the apartment we walk over to the showroom to drop off a massive duffel bag filled with all of my FW14 samples. I lead us 4 blocks in the wrong direction before realizing my mistake – my map privileges are officially revoked. There is a cafe on every other corner in the neighborhood where we are staying. For lunch I order a steak tartare (my favorite Paris food obsession) and Todd gets perfectly cooked duck with a honey-sauce. Designer/DJ Marcelo Burlon happens to enter the same cafe, and it turns out that his showroom is also located right around the corner.
– Somehow by the time we get back to the apartment after lunch our wifi has stopped working. We take a nap and hope that it will be on when we wake, but to no avail. Our airbnb host was kind enough to come back to try to fix it, but after calling the service provider it turns out that there are internet outages all over Paris. No wifi??? We swallow our sorrows and head to the 7pm Undercover show. Because of the internet emergency and difficulties with our US debit cards in the French metro ticket machines we don’t arrive until 7:20. But luckily for us, fashion shows almost always start late and we are shuffled in with time to spare. I never know what to expect from Undercover, and this season did not disappoint – the red-eyed models looked like deconstructed royalty with displaced sashes and crowns made from braided hair. Red glitter falls from the ceiling to the center of the venue to accompany the finale looks, an effect that can best be describe as looking like “blood dust”.
– Exhaustion sets in, but at 11:30pm we fight every notion of sanity and health and head out to the David Lynch’s club Silencio for the Sang Bleu party where our friend MxM, Marcelo Burlon (who we ran into earlier), and Virgil (Been Trill) were DJ’ing . We find our perch to the side of the packed dancefloor, and moments later look down to see that Kanye West has settled a few seats down from us. At around 1am we exit Silencio to head to Le Baron, where Purple Magazine is celebrating. Immediately we run into friends Jen Gilpin of DSTM and her husband, photographer Maxime Ballesteros, Bliss Lau with Jules Kim, Jaime Kay Waxman…
2/27 – Day 2
Hungover and jetlagged, we stayed in bed until 3pm (I had a splitting headache and could have hid under the cover all day), finally getting out at 5pm.
– With the day gone, our night beings at 8:15 with The Wild Magazine x Ellen von Unwerth party held at the historic Laperouse mansion (1766). It is a labyrinth of elaborately decorated rooms, complete with chandeliers, candelabras, and ornate moulding. We are told that this used to be a brothel and a refuge for important people to hold secret meetings of both business and pleasure. There supposedly is an underground passageway that linked Laperouse in order to hide the illicit behavior. While here we chat it up with various friends and take a selfie with Ellen von Unwerth. Todd gets a chance to talk to life/style icon James Goldstein who casually invites us to his mansion in LA while handing over his business card.
– At around 11 we head to Chez Raspoutine for the Jeremy Scott party. The club is also incredibly luxe, with red lighting cast over the byzantine-inspired interior. The Misshapes are DJing, and we drink too much champagne while chatting it up with stylists Anna Trevelyan, Marcell Rocha, and the designer himself. Sometime past 2:30 we leave to head home, hailing a cab which we now refer to as the “disco cab”. Our driver was blasting disco music and even had his own portable strobe light. He was completely entertained with the fact that we were from New York and raved about his obsession with Studio 54 while driving precariously. I must have been a bit too eager to get out of the “disco fever” because I accidentally left my cherished Norisol Ferrari blazer in the cab while getting out.
2/28 – Day 3
Today we spend most of the day playing catch-up with work, Todd is working on new photoshoots and editing images and I am confirming buyer appointments in Paris.
– We finally head to Palais Tokyo for A.F. Vandevorst’s 7pm show. To our delight, the designers were displaying their newest project – a pair of $3,188,000 diamond-encrusted boots which were made in collaboration with diamond trader Diarough/UNI-design – worn by a modestly dressed model reclining within a glass case.
– The show began with a soundtrack of 80’s industrial music, and out came models stomping in knee-high boots and wonderfully textured wooly looks. Last season was A.F. Vandevorst’s 15-year anniversary, so this collection felt like a fresh departure from the brand’s history while maintaining their beautifully cut classics.
– Since our arrival in Paris, everybody has told us that we MUST go to club Cicciolina at Folie’s Pigalle. It was described to us as a Berlin-style all night rave that everyone in fashion goes to even though it is not any sort of official fashion week event. Obviously we had to go see for ourselves, and judging from the quantity of fashion editors waiting in line at 11pm outside of the club we knew we were in for something special. Within an hour of arrival the club was full and the dancefloor was kicking! From models to stylists to buyers to designers, everyone was going nuts. DJ Pandora’s Jukebox was killing it with a set that ranged from a remix of “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” to deep techno to the classic Dead Prez “Hip Hop” to Trap and Bass music. There were plenty of other fellow NY’ers in the club too like Shayne Oliver from HBA and Alexander Wang. It was the kind of party where taking off your clothes seemed like the right thing to do, I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen so many people dancing and sweating and not giving a f***.
– On Saturday our agenda began with the Comme Des Garcons show at Place Vendome. We were immediately taken by how intimate the space was, compared to the colossal size of other Paris runways. Rihanna was everywhere this week and no exception, she came in to sit front row with stylist Mel Ottenberg. The collection was stunning and nothing less than expected. Kawakubo continues to make each look as much a sculptured art object as it is clothing, with heavy knits that were knotted, braided, and tied around the models.
– After Comme Des Garcons we headed back to Le Marais for the Rad Hourani showroom presentation on Rue Charlot. The all-black collection was presented on low racks lining the gallery with framed campaign photos hung above. An accompanying show video faced outside so that it could be viewed from the street. Often times it is difficult to discern the layers or details of a look from runway images alone, so it was a treat to be able to touch and view the individual garments.
Saturday night was the Lui Magazine party at Le Montana, with the current cover girl Kate Moss. Unfortunately we have no photos from this as Miss Moss refused to be photographed, with her security guards kicking out anyone who even tried to pick up a lens.
03/02 – Day 5
– While this trip might sound like all play and no work, you must remember that we came to Paris with the entire Zana Bayne FW14 ‘Ornamentalist’ Collection in tow. On Sunday evening we hosted a cocktail viewing of the pieces from the runway show at my showroom Public Image PR, as a way for my Parisienne friends and European press to be able to interact with the collection in person. During the event, Todd shot this photo of Ellen von Unwerth shooting me just for fun.
03/03 – Day 6
– We began our Monday night back at Silencio with a very private acoustic performance by Beth Ditto. She started off her show by announcing that she would be doing ‘grunge covers only’ which would have been great, but instead she performed a completely brilliant set which included soulful and spirited renditions of “Killing Me Softly”, Amy Winhouse’s “Back To Black”, Adele’s “Someone Like You”, Kanye West’s “Run Away”, finishing with the hit Gossip song “Heavy Cross”. Beth Ditto is such a fabulous performer, flirting between incredible vocals, self deprecating humor, and a completely captivating presence. The entire audience was under her spell including the likes of Jean Paul Gaultier, John Galliano, and Haider Ackermann (amongst others).
Every fashion week season, Tommy Saleh & NYCult throw their infamous “NY NY” party in Paris, featuring a stacked roster of NYC-based hosts and DJ’s (myself included as one of the hostesses). When we rolled up to Le Regine there was a crowd outside that took up the entire sidewalk, near-rioting due to the strict list at the door. Once inside and down the stairs to the club, it turned from mob-scene to total dance party (Hannah Bronfman was on the DJ decks when we walked in). We spent most of the night behind velvet ropes bumping elbows with fellow hosts/DJs Keegan Singh, Mike Nouveau, The Misshapes, and Patti Wilson, and notable guests such as Chiara Ferragni, Rad Hourani, Anthony Vaccarello, Allison Mosshart, Mike Nouveau, and drunk models.
– No trip is complete without Todd doing a photoshoot, so when I left for showroom appointments in the morning, Todd went to work transforming our apartment into his set for an editorial with Paris-based model Sheri Chiu.
– After Todd’s shoot and between taking appointments, we took the short time that we had to run to the showrooms of a few of our friends. One of the great things about Paris fashion week is that its a place of convergence for designers from all over the globe, and a chance to see their collections all in one place. Our first stop was to see Jen Gilpin of Berlin-based ‘Don’t Shoot The Messengers’ (or DSTM for short), whose lingerie-to-ready-to-wear collection has everything that we love – body conscious leather and mesh, sexy cut-outs, thigh highs, garters, and deliciously draped dresses. The next stop was the Australian brand Strateas Carlucci, who’s showroom was located in the top studio of a winding 6-floor walk up building. The hike was completely validated by the gorgeous collection. Strateas Carlucci exhibited both their menswear and womenswear, featuring pieces that were at the same time elegant, raw, and expertly tailored. Their work is textural perfection – heavy wools, delicate knits, leathers paired with matte suede, and sheer blouses with the right balance of opacity. They are a name you should get to know!
03/05 – Day 8
Our last morning in Paris was strikingly gorgeous, giving us hope that someday Spring will finally come to New York. We decided to walk to ‘Les Arts Decoratifs’ museum right as it was opening to catch the new Dries Van Noten exhibition. Titled ‘Inspirations’, the unique 2-floor show displayed a spectacle of Dries Van Noten collection pieces juxtaposed with items from the museum’s collection and archive (such as an Yves Klein sculpture, a gown by Schiaparelli, painting by Francis Bacon…), showing the connection between the designer’s references and how they influenced his final works, categorized in thematic sections such as “India”, “Gold”, and “Iconoclasts”.
And then this happened… an impromptu photoshoot that we did very quickly at the famous 3,300-year-old Egyptian Luxor Obelisk built originally to honor the pharaoh Ramesses II. It was moved to Paris in the 1820’s. Todd’s tattoo back piece is based on a painting in Nefertari’s tomb in Egypt that was built by the Ramesses II. We couldn’t help taking a moment to shoot this before heading back to pack our bags and leave for NYC.
Au revoir, Paris!!