Tailored Coat – La Redoute x Carven. Trousers – Stylenanda. Heels & belt – Bally. Bag – Vintage. Scarf – La Redoute
Coat – J Lindeberg
Top – La Redoute. Flares & Coat – La Redoute x Carven. Blue cashmere tube-top – Mandkhai
I’ve googled it, I possibly even own an illustrated book or two about it*, and if my google search history is any indication I may even have a phD on it the same way my husband is an expert on all things Dungeons and Dragons. HOW DOES ONE BECOME A PARISIAN? The answer is not so apparent, apparently, even when you’re in the thick of it – slurping down a café allongé with a Coach leather coat caped over your shoulders in the middle of Rue Montorgueil, while the cute waiter periodically pops his head out the door and asks Avez-vous terminee? No, mon cher, it’s not terminal – although given that I am on Page 3 of the search results in pursuit of a self-applicable answer it may as well be. I am done with my coffee though; may I have a glass of rosé?
What does being a Parisian even mean? See, if you have a council tax bill under your name from the London Borough of Anywhere, and accepted the local Turkish joint to be at least one of of your weekly meals, then one can generously consider oneself a Londoner – regardless of duration of residence. There is no gait, no 5-piece wardrobe that would allow you to single out a Londoner from a throng. That odd (borderline creepy) obsession to a pub perhaps can be used for an inkling, but then we invite anyone north of Birmingham to this equation.
*this is what happens when you say yes to one too many goody-bags
You can however, pick out the Parisienne out of a crowd. The rule-book (illustrated in colour or not) says she is probably blonde, smoking, and most likely also not wearing a smidgen of makeup, but so far my attempts at following this has only led to being shunned from the high street and offered loose change. And that’s where it hits me: we are dealing with the number of f*cks here. Not the optimal heel height, rituals of lovers vs. boyfriends, nor the percentage of black/navy in the wardrobe. French women simply give less f*cks. Whereas English women, my goodness, KOREAN WOMEN are one (face-contour) beauty product too many f*cks to even contend (why do we care so much?). I’m stereotyping here, of course, but it’s an important lesson. Be Spiderman. Be you. Give less f*cks about what people think and layer that dress over the pant-suit. Do it with confidence, because that’s really what being a Parisian is about, n’est-ce pas?
Sometimes, just sometimes, you look up and around your hunch-back blanket-burrito and whatever deadline you’ve been quite professionally avoiding and think, my goodness the office looks like a tipped-over crap basket. The mountain of beauty products and pile of press releases printed on what seems like Peru’s last remaining trees have been long since shoved aside into a blind spot, but you conclude that the reason there are 19 irrelevant tabs open and three very very expensive things in the Net-a-Porter basket is all due to this mess. The juices simply ain’t flowing.
Of course, I do what everyone who has ever worked in the creative industry does and go out for fresh air, aka the equivalent of sweeping dirty laundry under the bed. When I was in Uni, I didn’t frequent much cafes – possibly something to do with the fact that my PC sang such noises (remember the ear-splitting Microsoft loading tune? That, coupled with my overheating spluttering Toshiba, burned coffees) and the fear of being judged by Mac-clad hipsters. I liked bright, big spaces instead… like libraries or museums. The British Museum was one of my usual haunts, with its vast, invigorating open spaces and architecture that made any dormant ‘good ideas’ to re-surface; on sunny days I’d sit in one of the triangle shadows cast by the giant glass-roof and read a paperback (gasp!) until I got hungry. Nobody bothered if you sat on the stairs for hours, and the staff only got riled up when a throng of schoolkids made too much noise or ran around. At which point I’d stop chasing them, but generally it was also a great spot to bring friends.
I have fond memories of this place, which is why I brought Calvin Klein to shoot the class watch, as a means of sharing one of my old stomping grounds with you but also because FRESH AIR is what this blog always used to be.
In Collaboration with Calvin Klein Watches