Recently we had visitors whom I thought would be interested in seeing the beautiful covered arcades of the famous fashion designers, so I booked us into the Paris Walks Fashion tour. They loved the walk as did I-even Hugh had a good time taking photos. We met our guide at the Palais Royale Metro station, a one of a kind metro! The entrance, which was designed by Jean-Michel Othoniel, is called “The Kiosque des noctambules” (kiosk of the night walkers) and has two cupolas covered in venetian glass beads that are threaded to the structure. Our lovely English speaking Paris Walks guide promised us that we would be doing lots of “léche vitale” or window licking as we walked past the display windows of Louboutin, Jean Paul Gaultier, Stella McCartney, Didier Ludot, Mark Jacobs-to name of few of the more well known designers. She also gave us a wonderful lesson in the history of fashion as we walked along. Louis the 14th was the King of Fashion. He also had great legs, so he showed them off in breeches and stockings that he made famous! Fashion was a symbol of French power and was important to French commerce. Fashion dolls became very popular since they were made to advertise the latest trends and were sent to London and Russia so the nobility there could see what was “in” in Paris. I was fascinated by the fashion transformations from Louis XIV’s haute couture to broad shoulder pads to bell flower or hobble skirts to pant suits for women, the caged skirts and the wasp waists (think Scarlett O’Hara in Gone with the Wind) to Mark Jacobs slip dress and Pierre Cardin blue jeans. A highlight was when we walked past the restaurant, Le Grand Colbert, made famous by the 2003 movie “Something’s Gotta Give” starring Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton. It would be fun to come back and dine there, though there are many other better restaurants in Paris. I thought that the Jean Paul Gaultier boutique was the most dramatic. It used to be a marionette theatre and has many levels of wide, high windows filled with his high fashion avant-garde designs. I will need to revisit Gaultier and Stella McCartney and the Acne (Swedish designs) to get a better look at their stunning clothes-maybe even try on one or two things . . . Hugh is turning blue.
Here is a slideshow with some photos we took along the way.