Sunday, 23 September 2012

Fashion Houses of Paris - Heaven!

So you're in Paris.
You love fashion.
Cliché, cliché, cliché.
I know.

But you can't deny it - Paris is the place to be when it comes to high-end fashion.
Be prepared to want more and more and more as you walk past some of the biggest, most desirable fashion houses in the world.

Store after store of fresh-off-the-runway looks, bitchy sales assistants and exclusive price tags (in Euros).

This is pure Heaven.

So where to start?

Let's go quintessential French fashion and head to the Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré - the street to end all streets (and to max out the credit card without even leaving the block! No kidding!) Every designer and every fashion house is here, and none more prominent or imposing than the home of French brand, Hermès.

Standing in the same position where Charles-Emile Hermès first opened his workshop in 1880, the Hermès flagship store is a feast for the senses. 

A multitude of colours, fabrics, shapes and sizes, a walk in and around the store is an experience in itself. Glove wearing sales assistants delicately present the handcrafted bags to eager tourists, dying to buy a Hermès original from the birthplace itself. So many bags are on display, it is easy to become caught up in the rush of excitement and hype that surrounds the small percentage of those in the store who will actually buy one.  

Hermès ties all neatly lined up,
 a mosaic of colour and pattern,
all waiting patiently for an exclusive new home.

There is no denying it, Hermès is the monarch of the Rue du Faubourg, sitting majestically above all those hurriedly competing for their chance in the spotlight. You can't mess with a classic.

Chanel - the epitome of Parisien chic.

The home of the Little Black Dress.
The icon of women's fashion.
Under the hype that is Rue du Faubourg - Chanel, as ever, sits supremely understated amongst the buzz of design houses competing for presence.

Never to be outdone - Chanel stays true to its brand and vision of high-end quality and exclusivity. 

Coco Chanel revolutionised women's fashion in the 1920s with her accessible and flattering (and comfortable) ready-to-wear collections and haute couture designs.

Today, Chanel is still as revered as it once was - with an air of grace and exceptionality, Chanel is on a pedestal not to be reached by many others. 

Givenchy - another Parisian stalwart, also sits comfortably amongst the traditional giants of the fashion world on the Rue du Faubourg.

Alexander McQueen, John Galliano and of course Givenchy himself have all designed for this very French label - and what a shame it would be to come to Paris and not go gothic-chic with something fabulous from this fashion-forward house of design.

Along with other great design houses, such as Dior, Yves St. Laurent and Louis Vuitton, French fashion still beats to the sound of its own drum - and what a beautifully chic drum it is.

Ok, ok - so you don't just come to a Paris to visit traditionally French founded fashions houses (although I think I would be happy to do just that!) It seems, on almost every corner, including the ever sophisticated St. Germain de Pres, there is a label on every corner. Paris really is a dream. 

Valentino on the Rue du Faubourg

Ports 1961 - Love.

Etro on the Boulevard St. Germain. 

Obviously, for most of us, the great fashion houses of Paris are a little out of our league in terms of 'shopping spree' capabilities. Perhaps a scarf here, a fragrance there, maybe even a pair of shoes here, there and everywhere.

But, Paris does have its fair share of 'fast-fashion' outlets, which, except for maybe a wavering on quality, still produce ready-to-wear clothes that, for the most part, engender a sense of style and flare for a reasonable penny.

However, when browsing through such a 'fast-fashion' outlet in the über-trendy Parisian arrondissement, Le Marais, I did come across this little gem, a printed jumper, which did leave me wondering...

brandmaker (SC!) (sadly, back from Paris)

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