My last experience of Paris fashion week will proceed in history as one of my most surreal experiences. I ventured to the French capital with my dad and my friend Barry to support Hayley, who had flown across the Atlantic Ocean from Los Angeles where she was employed as part of Jeremy Scott’s design team.
I was 22 and it was the summer of 2007, Mark Ronson and Amy Winehouse had made ‘Valerie’ by The Zutons the song of the moment, Beth Ditto was causing a stir and making her mark, describing herself as a fat, feminist lesbian, Kate Moss dumped Pete Doherty for good, we were all still choosing our favourite friends on Myspace and Agyness Deyn was the face to be seen.
We arrived at the small seedy venue in Montmartre, our names on ‘the list’ of the anticipated show, inside we rubbed shoulders with fashion connoisseur, magazine editors, photographers and A-list celebrities- including the Olsen Twins. In the darkness we waited patiently for the extraordinaire to begin, half an hour later and growing bored, a figure appeared in the door just behind the runway, illuminated by an outrageous reflective jacket and matching trousers, as soon as Kanye’s bum hit his seat lights exuded from the catwalk and overwhelmingly beautiful models pounded down, drawing gasps from the awestruck crowd.
Mr Scott had smashed it again. Simple and slinky silhouettes, stretch cotton and silk, faces thick with black oil and hair scraped back into neat chignons. Bin lids replaced hats and work boot prints adorned swimsuits, raincoats and shirts. Jeans designed as rulers and dresses that looked like traffic signs. Trademark finale masterpieces brought fits of hilarious laughter as ball-gowns had been made of bin bags and Agyness Deyn finished the show dressed as a ‘Garbage Can Bride’, complete with a hard hat veil.
Drowned in tanqueray gin and faces stuffed with cute canapés the catwalk was quickly changed into a stage and the after show began. My dad played havoc with his AAA pass and took guise as security, refusing to let well known faces into the VIP area. Hayley and I drukenly started a stage invasion enjoying the limelight amongst dancers, models and film stars. Dad danced with Aggy Deyn and we all partied until the early hours of the morning, posing for photographers and twirling for film makers. Hayley and I awakening in a library of a mansion situated just by the Eiffel Tower, how we got there, we never did find out.
This season I returned, this time only through merit of my own career. I was there to style hair at the most anticipated show of 2015’s fashion calendar- Vetements.
An air of mystery surrounds this Dusseldorf based collective, headed by Demna Gvasalia, the remainder of the group choosing anonymity. Having previous connections with Maison Margiela, Louis Vuitton and Balenciaga the designers and craftsmen collaborate to form every aspect of the brand from pen to paper through to sewing of the garments. Forming the label on their lunch breaks whilst at Margiela, the collaborators have only shown three seasons and aim to provide individual pieces that stand alone therefore non-conforming against a collection of merging tones, prints or colour palets, adding to the mystique and underground vibe they’ve elegantly pursued.
I arrived at the studio around 12pm accompanied by Joshua Goldsworthy, Rob Czlakpa and Mark Francome Painter with whom I had travelled with to Paris on the Euro Star that morning. Forty two model’s to style, we prepared for a hectic day. Expectations were turned around as the atmosphere was warm, fun and relaxed, how could I have thought any different? I’ve never sensed whilst working under super stylist Gary Gill a feeling other than a relaxed control and consideration of his team and people around him. Fashion Stylist Lotta Volkova Adam overseen the show and the energy between the exuberant team made you feel you were amongst something very special.
Disregarding the effects of the ‘super model’ Vetements street cast and hand picked each male and female who walked the catwalk, Lotta and Gary skilfully picking styles to enhance their own individual personalities, therefore making the show feel utterly more real and wearable. Held in a kitsch Chinese restaurant not far from Moulin Rouge, packed with who’s who in fashion, it was time for the show to begin.
Anti-Fashion would describe the affair perfectly as models trawled the runway wearing silk camisoles with boots fashioned as sport socks, oversized frilly neon Victorian styled dresses with floral over the knee cowboy boots and belts metres long trailing behind, hoodies and track suit bottoms tucked into shoes and Gosha Rubchinskiy opened the show in a DHL delivery driver T-shirt. It was perfect, as was the hair, where Gary captured absolutely the cultural references- mullets, skinheads, bold bowls and fucked up fringes all with just the right texture, you instantly forgot which year you were in.
Upon the success of the show which saw guests such as my pal Kanye West and Rihanna, Demna Gvasalia has been announced as Head Designer at fashion house Balenciaga and a little piece of fashion history was made. I am more than proud and appreciative that I was chosen along with a selected few to be a part of that.
Thank you Gary.