As I promised, I'm back to continue my September overview! I was planning on posting this earlier, but, alas, I got sick (like every fall). So, here we are! After returning home from the Amalfi Coast, and by "after", I mean literally two days after, it was time for one of my most anticipated trips of the semester…my week in PARIS. Now, don't get me wrong, I was very excited, but between my lack of sleep and the pressure to pick out outfits up to Parisian standards, I was a little apprehensive, as well. I'm going to be honest, I hadn't heard very good things about the city: it's not as pretty as it's hyped to be, the people are rude, blah blah blah. So, as curious as I was, I didn't want to set my expectations too high. But, let me just say, Paris proved me completely wrong.
Our trip began with wrangling the hoards of us fashion students through the airports, which is always a fun adventure. And, as is per usual with my life, I was one of the only students to get stuck sitting with random people, and in a middle seat. Now, as I fly to and from school back home, I'm very accustomed to sitting with strange people, so I didn't mind. However, I was trying to use the flight to get some design sketching done for the massive project we had due upon our return, only to discover that the chick next to me really liked to watch me draw. Like, she was in no way subtle about it. And it made me uncomfortable. But I survived.
Upon our arrival in Paris, we checked into our super awesome hostel, which I would totally recommend to any young traveler on a budget (St. Christopher's…I'm pretty sure they are a sort of chain around Europe, but this one was killer). It was staffed by a young, hip, largely British crowd with a really chill taste in music and interior decoration. And, there's a bar and restaurant downstairs, at which I ate multiple delicious falafel wraps. Once we all checked in, a group of us booked it to see the Eiffel Tower light up. This involved my first experience on a metro, which I would get VERY used to throughout the week. I felt like a new, exciting, easily-navigatable, and sometimes sketchy world had been opened up to me, and it was awesome. Once we got to the Eiffel tower and I saw it light up in person, I cried a little bit. Not like full sobs, but a tear or two in my eyes. It was unbelievable to actually be standing in front of something you've seen in pictures so many times and only dreamed of seeing. And then I ate a Nutella crepe.
The next day, we took a morning boat tour around Paris, and then headed to the Champs Elysee (it sounds so sophisticated in French…because it is) for a taste of the world we all dream of working in, but can in no way afford! We spent the day walking through designer stores; Dolce and Gabbana, Versace, YSL, Givenchy, Louis Vuitton, Valentino, Dior. It was overwhelming and awe-inspiring, and I loved every minute of it. Seeing stores that epitomize success in the fashion industry gave me such incentive to keep working hard, and was so inspiring to me. Also inspiring to me was the gold-plated Lamborghini parked outside. The amount of wealth I witnessed that day was unlike anything I've ever seen, and I felt SO unbelievably out of my league. Like, if you want to be humbled, take a nice stroll down that street wearing H&M like I did. The only true success I achieved was eating at this super cute cafe and befriending the Chanel door guy. We then saw an exhibition on vintage 40's and 50's Parisian fashion, which I LOVED. The day came to an end with our nightly Eiffel Tower watching and another crepe (I'm watching my figure).
This is getting pretty long, so I'm going to try to summarize the next days as best I can! The day after our designer shopping extravaganza, we had the incredible privilege of attending Premiere Vision (that has accent marks on it but I don't know how to do it on my computer). Premiere Vision is the world's largest trade show, to which designers, major and small, from all over the world, send their best people to view and purchase fabric for collections. It was AMAZING. I don't think I've ever touched so much fabric. After, we attended a draping demonstration of the Gres technique (as in Madame Gres…also has an accent that I don't know how to put on) at the Paris American Academy, which was an amazing experience.
Our final full day consisted of the Centre Pompidou, also known as the Musee National d'Art Moderne, a random tattoo history museum, an absolutely awesome trend forecasting presentation at Trend Union, and…my favorite…THE Louvre. Yes, I saw the Mona Lisa, and yes, I took multiple selflies with her. My brain took in so much awesome art that day that I went into Art Nerd Overdrive, and it was great. We ended the day with a sentimental last trip to the Eiffel at night, and popped some champagne in celebration of a great trip. The next day we spent doing some final shopping and wandering before catching the depressing flight back home.
Overall, this trip to Paris was one of the most memorable and meaningful trips I've taken these past two months. The opportunities we received to learn while there were unbelievable, and I'm so thankful to the school and faculty for allowing us do so. I also learned my first lesson about letting go of preconceived notions of people and cultures while abroad. I came to Paris expecting, rude, stuck up people, but was received with nothing but kindness and the utmost politeness. For me, it really drove home the point that if you make an effort to connect with a person's culture, they will receive you so much better, which is a lesson we learn so much over here. I speak horrible French, and probably butchered everything I attempted to say, but experienced no rudeness in return. Don't get me wrong, there are probably lots of rude people in Paris; there are rude people everywhere. However, I personally think that the people that give Parisians that reputation are the ones making no effort to understand them. I absolutely fell in love with everything about the city: the people, the architecture, the hustle and bustle. I was very sad to leave, but, as one of my professors said casually, "You're working in fashion, this won't be your only time in Paris". I hope more than anything that's true, and I can't wait to return! xoxo