Editors Note: I, the accidental parisienne, am now back in Paris after a wonderful holiday. Special thanks to my guest contributors Elizabeth and Richard for their great posts!
It’s Paris Fashion Week. The town is even more crowded with beautiful people wanting to see and be seen. Bars and restaurants are closed for exclusive private functions. Spaces all over the city have been appropriated for shows – Grand Palais, Jeu de Paume, Musee Rodin, the Ritz, Hotel InterContinental and even the School of Medicine and interestingly, a convent.
However, the Tuileries Gardens is the epicentre of the activity and thus, the fashion world. Valentino, Chloe, Lanvin and many others will use the Espace Ephemere Tuileries for their shows. A three block-long temporary structure on the North side of the gardens is the home to accessory dealers hoping for big orders. Leggy models and women carrying notebooks and in high-heels are crawling all over the usually relaxed space.
You can imagine I was really excited to receive my unexpected and exclusive invitation to the Tuileries on Friday. I was invited for lunch and a game of soccer/football with my friend’s 4 year old son and his pals at the playground. I arrived in my t-shirt, sweats and soccer shoes and we had a grand time playing in the unexpected late September sunshine until it was time for go back to school for the afternoon.
The mother of one of my little team mates is a buyer for a big department store in Paris and we stopped by the big sales exhibition tent to say hello. She could not leave the exhibition and we arranged a meeting at an outside fenced area. Other fashionistas from inside the tent also gathered in the fenced area to take a break, have a cigarette or enjoy the sunshine.
While mother and son talked through the fence, my other team mates were much more interested in the large tidy piles of autumn leaves assembled by ground keepers. They were having a ball throwing the leaves all around and in the air. But they were making a huge mess that the long suffering ground keepers would have to clean up. Earlier in the afternoon, I heard my friend talk her son out of throwing dirt by reasoning with him that if he took the dirt away there would be no place for the flowers to grow. He seemed to think this made sense and put dirt back. I thought I’d give this reasoned approach a try.
“Hey guys, a man has spent a really long time raking these leaves together into nice tidy piles. If you throw the leaves around and make a mess he is going to have to do it all over again. So don’t you think you should stop throwing leaves?”
The three boys and a girl were up to their necks in fall foliage. They did all stop to listen to what I said. They did all take a few seconds to seriously consider my suggestion and then simultaneously they did all decide to throw their big, wet arm load of leaves at me. Apparently, this was even more fun than throwing leaves in the air. Squeals of delight. Hilarious laughter. Leaves down my top. Leaves in my socks. Leaves in my hair. I know I got what I deserved.
“Who thought children were a good idea,” one of the fenced in fashionistas was clearly disturbed by all the commotion. She looked though the fence with a screwed up face and then at me and my friend, and then of course, at what we were wearing.
I heard my friend’s son come up beside me and I saw he had another huge armful of leaves. I protected my face as I thought these were destined for me but he had other ideas. He marched right past me with his load and headed towards the fence.
“No, No, No,” we all cried as he got closer to the wire grid. He looked so determined but then paused and lowered his load of ammunition. Some of the fashionistas made faces and backed away.
He drew his pile back up again.“No, No,” we shouted. And again he stopped but kept staring intently at his intended targets.
He is a very cute kid. The smears of apricot compote on his back would not have been visible to the fashionistas and he looked especially cute with his armful of autumn and leaves all over his hair and clothes. Always with an eye for a good visual, several of the fashionistas came closer with their phones. His picture is probably linked from “Cute Parisian boy at Tuileries! Loving #ParisFashionWeek #pfw!” on Twitter. However, this was the moment of weakness for which he was waiting. His face was sheer determination, his jaw set.
“No,” we yelled. Pow! No restraint this time. Leaves everywhere. There were a few shrieks but the fence saved the Louboutins, fancy designer shoes. No damage done, but the verdict was clear. He’d made his critique of Paris Fashion Week.