Here’s what went down on Thursday at VOGUE Fashion Night Out in Paris. Indeed the champagne was flowing virtually door to door, but before I get to the details, let me first address the new locale. For the previous 3 years, FNO Paris was held in the 8th arrondissment (Avenue Montaigne and friends) while this time around it moved to the 1st arrondissment inclusive of rue du Faubourg-Saint-Honoré, rue Saint-Honoré, rue Royale, Place de la Madeleine and rue Cambon. Having long been a fan of the event since the early days in NYC to Paris and Moscow, I was THRILLED with the change because to me that meant it would hopefully be more inclusive with contemporary labels as opposed to strictly luxury brands. Indeed a wider range of brands participated – so many that it would have been impossible to fit them all in in just 3 hours – and each had their own theme for the night. Read on as I recount my itinerary of what became my favorite FNO in Paris to date!
Kenzo was my first stop after attaining my press badge for the evening. This was my start to a champagne-fueled night, although they had coconut water on tap in addition to a Starbucks truck outside (FYI food trucks are still a somewhat new phenomenon in Paris). This was probably the most fun stop of the evening, as Kenzo hosted a Hula Hoop Party set to hip-hop in the store window and outside on the sidewalk. There were hula hooping pros, and some guests also got in on the action. Gotta hand it to them as the theme fit SO well with the new Kenzo under Humberto Leon and Carol Lim’s creative direction.
My next stop was Dior. Although slightly more subdued, the exclusive FNO offering was a beautiful set of false eyelashes with gold crystals.
Because this is Paris, I made Chanel an obligatory stop because they HAD to be doing something amazing. In fact I was so set on something big happening that I visited all 3 stores on the program – rue Royale, rue du Faubourg-Saint-Honoré and eventually rue Cambon. Each store featured a special window for the night featuring crystals, the Fall 12/13 collection inspiration, and an exclusive FNO set of Rouge Allure lipstick and nail polish was in high demand. Mais c’est tout?! Oui. I was expecting a little more from chez Chanel especially since Karl Lagerfeld apparently made an appearance earlier in the evening. Wouldn’t it have been fun if they gave out Karl masks or something? How about a photo booth with images of his cat, Choupette? Choupette headbands? Maybe next time.
My next stop was L’Oreal Professionnel Hair & Nail Academy where they were doing free brushings as well as chignons and Essie manicures. It was fun to watch for a while but I had a lot of ground to cover and needed to get going.
Onward to rue du Faubourg-Saint-Honoré where there was an unmissable tribe of models on the street with fab hair and wardrobes to boot. The hair was by Carita down the street and I had a chance to meet Axel Bonnet, the designer behind the collection. He kindly extended an invitation to his fashion show, but again I had a schedule to keep so I had to decline.
OK so Chanel was somewhat of a disappointment so by now I was REALLY looking forward to Lanvin. Like Chanel, designer Alber Elbaz was there earlier in the evening but there was still plenty of reasons to hang around when I got there. A capsule collection of t-shirts, iPhone and iPad covers were all covered in fun limited edition prints. Obsessed with the women’s print, I had to have the iPhone cover! At both the men’s and women’s store, a Lanvin photowall was set up for Polaroid photos, a fun activity that I took part in in between champagne and macaroons (questionably the new Ladurée x Lanvin flavor in bubble gum?). Aside from killer exclusive product, Lanvin was also by far the most social media savvy of the night, promoting the hashtag #LanvinFNO.
Burberry, which is has long been a social media and street photography leader, had a huge animation wall with street shots dedicated to “Art of the Trench“ while tunes were provided by DJ George Craig from the group One Night Only.
Elsewhere on rue Saint-Honoré, both Escada & Sandro featured a circus theme. All good fun and packed houses, although they both reminded me of Manoush’s circus in Paris 2 years ago. Or perhaps they were both inspired by Colette’s 15 year anniversary carnival earlier this year.
Throughout the night, FNO streets were jammed with traffic (although a portion of Saint-Honoré was blocked off for pedestrians). VOGUE Minis were frequently spotted as Mini was a sponsor of FNO.
Over at luxury luggage house Moynat, a retrospective of the Années folles was achieved with a jazz band and car from the period.
Contemporary French brand Manoush is always a hot ticket. The boutique inside was packed as ever while Cantine California burger truck served burgers outside to clients with a pink bracelet.
My final stop of the evening was at Colette which easily (and rightfully) had the most impressive line-up of the night. Earlier in the evening, Todd Selby signed his new book Edible. Music was provided by The Sound of the Season and appearances were made by YazBukey and Guillaume Henry from Carven. Juliette Has A Gun featured an engraving atelier. I got there just in time to be one of the last guests to have calligraphy done by Nicolas Ouchenir.
What I didn’t manage to see were the “Pom Pom Girls” aka cheerleaders at Chloé who wore t-shirts designed for the house by Karl Lagerfeld in 1977. Vogue editors including editor-in-chief Emmanuelle Alt and her sidekick Mademoiselle Agnès were out in force doing live coverage on Vogue.fr, though I didn’t manage to run into them. My only suggestion for next time would be to publicize (at least to members of the press), when designer/celebrity appearances are so we could plan our schedule accordingly. Overall though, the event goes down in my book as the best FNO in Paris yet. Bravo!