Admit it, you were a teen dream once upon a time, and you thought fashion week was peak cool. Tyra Banks was your idol and every week, you probs flipped through Vogue at the checkout counter. An ingénue just waiting in the wings, you already knew you’d be the post make-over Andy Sachs in Paris in a world full of hospitalised Emilys. But alas, for the moment, you were a mere mortal, sitting at your laptop trawling Lookbook.nu and the latest #ootd. Attending fashion week was just an idle fantasy. You could loiter all you liked outside the fashion tents, delusionally hoping someone might pap your Salvation Army street style, but you remained an outsider. Who were these people, and why did anyone give a shit? What was this world of svelte silhouettes and cheekbones higher than most people’s heels?!
Fast forward 10 years and allegedly, you’re no longer a desperate teen. You’ve made peace with the fact that the fashion world is, in many ways, total trash — but luckily, so are you. You’ve heard the insidious gossip, the cautionary tales— and yet, much as you try to fight your inner truth, chasing shapes still has that inexplicable allure. You hate to admit it, but like a true fashion #aficionado, you still wonder what happens behind those closed doors.
Lucky for you, I was (cautiously) granted backstage access at a handful of shows at Men’s Paris Fashion Week. Zipping about from show to show and sipping Ricards no fewer than four separate evenings at La Perle put me in a mood of sublime irreverence. When you know you don’t matter, you can truly be yourself! And when platitudes and pastis alone would not dull the sting of rejection, I slurped down tequila shots. Emboldened, I wore my highest heels and opened club closets and fumoirs at random: wandering in and out, eavesdropping and expertly wobbling around parties that ended too early for any real mayhem to go down.
In Case You Had Better Things To Do (ICYHBTTD), here’s a run down of the best (and most atrocious) shit I heard at Men’s Paris Fashion Week.
“I’m a digital communist”
“Is that a power bank or a suitcase??!” a Vetements model says to a Palais de Tokyo art handler who’s sharing his charger with the whole table at La Perle. The model boasts, “I don’t even have a power cord with me! I’m a digital communist.” Just after this a forceful argument about materialism ensues in German because someone pretended to steal his precious iPhone and it wasn’t funny guys.
“Wow, these clothes are really horrible.”
“I mean, I get it — everyone is trying to be VETEMENTS now. But c’mon, move on!” said a dude wearing Iris Apfel glasses speaking rapidly into his iPhone 7 plus.
“I’m on a drinking sabbatical… it’s kind of like backpacking alone in Mexico”
Thus spoke a girl to her friend outside the Angus Chiang show.
“It kind of felt like Berghain”
Said by an expensively dressed man after a show in the Palais de Tokyo — who I’d hazard a guess had never been to Berghain.
“Once I tried to go to the worst rated restaurant on TripAdvisor in Paris and it actually wasn’t that bad!”
Apparently, “It’s hard to find really terrible food.” Suffering for fashion stays in season.
“I saw him and I didn’t know who he was. Then I looked him up on Instagram and it broke my heart.”
Straight women discussing beautiful men while checking out showrooms post Christiane Dada: “I saw him and I didn’t know who he was. Then I looked him up on Instagram and it broke my heart.” Her friend nodded knowingly, “all the great men are gay.”
“Please! Don’t sit on the stairs!”
Exclaimed by a firm-but-courteous security guard to a spooning older elegant couple with a “We just fucked in the toilet” glow.
“Tupac! Can’t believe he said I look like Tupac!”
“Tupac!” a man catcalled outside a closed Paris club. “Tupac is my idol! Wow! Can’t believe he said I look like Tupac,” grinned a boy with a nose piercing.
“Send me a moodboard.”
Two people standing about foot apart in an elevator: “we gotta shoot together! Let me get your number and I’ll send you a text!” said the man in head-to-toe denim to the woman who sported a limp twinkle in her eye. “Yes,” she agreed, “send me a moodboard.”
“He said, ‘you’re cute,’ she said, ‘you’re talented’, and they kissed!”
The day after the Reference Studios party at Silencio, a stylist, laughing conspiratorially, recounted her night to her assistant: “My friend made out with the guy who designed my jacket!”
“I’m blind! I’m blind!”
A model backstage at Wooyungmi wailed repeatedly whilst staring at a clusterfuck of badly-dressed photographers holding flashes. Fashion is pain, honey.