Fashion Weeks are on the horizon, ready to start rolling in from New York and London to Milan, and finally with resounding fanfare, to the most glamorous of them all, in the City Of Lights. Before Dior, Chanel and Givenchy storm Paris with their fall offerings, here’s how to get the most out of the city and its intimately hidden secrets. Settle down in an atmospheric room, grab a café crème and get set for clandestine discoveries.
It's time to witness the Fall of the Glamazons. They call it, Semaine des Createurs de Mode, an appropriately ornamental title for the glitziest fashion week in the world; when shoals of fashion editors, assistants, stylists, models and socialites descend upon the French capital, to snag invites to more than 100 shows. Depending on how you look at, it’s the best or the worst time to visit the city. If you aren’t intent on breaking your bank with the latest collections from the big boys of haute couture, there’s (always) plenty more that Paris has to offer.
Begin with a bohemian ‘70s flashback. Trawl the quieter lanes at Le Marais and
the city’s old Jewish quarter, looking for an unmarked door between Moroccan restaurant Le 404 and the Andy Warhol- inspired bar, Andy Wahloo.
The door leads into a courtyard, and from there into a space that can be best described as a cross between a restaurant and a boho-chic home. At Derrière, you can choose to park (your own derrière) near the ping-pong table in the living room, the den, or the bedroom with a mirrored ceiling. Trained at Michelin- starred restaurants, Chef Lionel Delage serves up modern French cuisine that includes salads for skinny models who hang out here, nibbing on foie gras terrine and a beef cheek bourguignon.
If baby boomer-channelling girls in sequinned tights gossiping between canoodling couples isn’t your scene, there are more classic delights to be enjoyed. Lively and artistic, the 6th arrondissement is one of the jewels of Paris’s Left Bank, the quintessential Parisian neighbourhood where Jean- Paul Sartre, Albert Camus, Hemingway and Picasso socialised at iconic cafes. You can spend hours roaming the Jardin du Luxembourg, browse through the world’s most prestigious coffee-table books at the Assouline store and munch on the world’s most beloved macaroons at Laduree.
From luscious luxury creams to jackets, androgynous menswear to organic food, here’s how to shop up a dream in Paris
Unless you’d prefer spending the entire day (or two) at the city’s best department store, head straight to the new 3,000 sq ft beauty section on the first floor, replete with a hairstyling bar, nail bar and eyelash bar and a host of exclusive brands like Patyka, 2Moss, Miss Ferling and Omoye. Worth adding to your beauty haul are the anti-ageing creams and serums from Absolution and the body scrubs and cedarwood scented candles from Swedish eco-luxury brand, Bjork and Berries.
A deliciously girly destination in the 12th arrondissement is particularly flowing with new merchandise during the holiday season. Owner Lucie Deniset has handpicked little- known accessory brands. It’s a great boutique to stock up on delicate chains, charms and statement rings. Noteworthy are Titlee’s collier necklaces and adorable ice-cream and boat charm pendants, and Italian leather handbags from Nat & Nin.
If you’re looking to enhance your man’s wardrobe with some distinct French savoir-vivre, head straight to the most atmospheric menswear boutique on Rue de Saintonge. Inspired by fashion, literature and cinema, it offers a wardrobe that’s chic and nonchalant, with natural fabrics and local production. If you’re the couple that shares wardrobes, the brand’s printed silk pyjamas, white shirts and roomy cardigans can easily find their stylish way from his to yours.
Early this year, the Italian giant opened its new flagship store at 219, Rue Saint-Honoré. With parquet floors, colourful marble walls and slatted timber screens, the lush boutique expresses the brand’s spirited, contemporary and luxurious aesthetic as soon as you step in. The fall-winter 20157collection styles separates in leopard prints, florals, lamé and macramé. Snap up their lust-worthy high heels in polychrome resin paste, and felt-lined wide brim hats, too.