Grant Woolhead's Paris Diary: Day 1 & 2

1.17.2014

By Grant Woolhead

Our fashion director writes about his favorite things from Paris Fashion Week

Photo, clockwise from top left: Alaïa exhibition; Maison Collet; Will Smith at Louis Vuitton Fall 2014; Valentino tiger print sneakers; Rick Owens Fall 2014.

Raf Simons and Sterling Ruby's collaboration
Sometimes when artists do collaborations with designers, the message can get misconstrued, however Raf Simons and Sterling Ruby produced a fantastic return to forms. With typography, hand prints and solar system backgrounds (space being a big message in many of the shows this season), this collection captured the original spirit of some of Raf's first menswear lines, where he played with many of these themes. The silhouette has become more refined with cropped pants, oversized outerwear and giant moon boots, giving the look a cartoonish edge. The spirit of original Raf was back in the room; it was very exciting for all to see.

Tarte a la Pomme De Terre at Maison Collet

Maison Collet is one of the best bakeries on rue Montorgueil, and if you haven't already tried, the potatoe tarte is just about the most delicious thing you may experience in a city of wonderful food. Finely sliced potatoes are put into a thin pastry tart with a béchamel sauce. It's one of the things that dreams are made of. Alternatively if you fancy something sweet, the flan nature, which is basically a french custard tart, is also great there.

Monsieur Bleu Restaurant
This has really become the go-to spot for fashionistas this season. Both Dior and the British store Matches hosted a dinner at Monsieur Bleu this season, and the space is really wonderful. Based in the back of the Palais de Tokyo, you could easily miss the mirrored walled entrance if it weren't for a lone doorman directing people. Once inside, it's a huge industrial space, modern and cavernous, with a wonderful cocktail bar and restaurant. A must-go when in Paris.

The Alaïa Expo
An exhibition of Azzedine Alaïa's work is on at the Palais Galliera until January 26.  It's worth a visit before it closes. This is the first exhibit of the designer's work. The room has 70 models of his clothing from his 30-year career, a fascinating window into the man who went on a mission to glorify the beauty of the female body.

The Shawl Collared Vicuna Coat at Louis Vuitton
Shawl collared deconstructed coats have become a huge trend of the season, but perhaps my favorite one was at Kim Jones's Louis Vuitton show today. It looks particularly elegant worn over a suit. And when it's made in vicuna, one of the most rare and luxurious fabrics, I'm completely sold.

The Original Barbershop
By the time we get to Paris, all of us fashion editors are in desperate need of a shape up and beard trim. I've tried a few of the fancier barbershops in Paris, but we all think one of the best and cheapest haircuts is at The Original Barbershop at 56 rue du Temple, in Le Marais. It's pretty basic, but good to freshen up.

Will Smith at everything
I don't usually get starstruck, but seeing Will Smith at Valentino, Louis Vuitton (pictured, above) and Margiela was definitely a highlight of the season. Will is such a blockbuster movie star and so charismatic. Plus he was super obliging to everyone who wanted to take his picture, happily posing and enjoying the show. It was refreshing to see someone so famous being so down-to-earth and gracious.

Valentino's New Mexico Moment
The Valentino show was one of my favorites of the season, and making an appointment at their atelier in Place Vendome is the very essence of elegance. I personally loved the patchwork overcoats (pictured, right), which had a look of Native American textile design found in New Mexico. The sneakers in tiger print were to die for, too! Valentino also opened a fantastic new men's store at 273 rue Saint-Honoré, which has everything you might ever need in the classic camouflage print and beyond.

The "Banjee Nuns" at Rick Owens
Rick Owens presented a show of what we decided could only be described as "Banjee Nuns" this season. The headwear was a cross between a do-rag and a nun's habit (pictured, above). I've always been a big fan of Rick's aesthetic, and this season was no exeption. He really is a man of his own fashion viewpoint, which is why the weird and wonderful devoted leigons of followers come season after season to show support. The front row is always almost as much of a highlight as the actual show itself.

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