Tuesday, 29 June 2010


I am just back from a mini break to Paris; as you may have read on my Twitter, the reason for the trip was that I was invited to the Raf Simons spring/summer 2011 show, which was held in Paris last saturday. Obviously I will do a blog post about the show and about that experience very soon, because it is about the most exciting thing that has ever happened to me, but for now here are some of the pictures that I took during my three days in Paris. I have got very lazy about using a proper camera, so a lot of these are BlackBerry pictures, hence the slightly dubious quality of some.

Aside from going to the Raf show, the other thing that I really wanted to do in Paris was to visit the Yves Saint Laurent retrospective at the Petit Palais (more information here). The exhibition was absolutely breathtaking: it reminded me just how much of a genius Yves Saint Laurent was, and of the huge influence which his designs still exert over fashion today. He did nearly everything first, and wandering around from room to room (the exhibition is really well designed and laid out) you can admire pieces which wouldn't look at all out of place on the runway today, only that YSL designed them in the 60s or 70s, ages before anyone else. I cannot emphasise enough how amazing the exhibition is, and I was literally breathless as I went around from room to room: the quality, details and design of the pieces on display are stunning. Photography is not allowed inside the exhibition, and I am yet to buy the book (it was too heavy to carry back), so I don't have any pictures of it at the moment, but if there is any way you can make it to Paris before August 29, it is so worth seeing.

The Petit Palais itself is amazing too, and it has a lovely shady garden (which was perfect for escaping the 32C heat) and a very stylish museum cafe (in total contrast to the horrible cafeterias found in British museums), of the type that only the French can pull off.

The Musée de Cluny (Musée National du Moyen Age) on the Left Bank is somewhere slightly unexpected that I love in Paris. The Middle Ages is not a period which interests me greatly, but my dad persuaded me to go to the museum a while ago and since then I have loved it. The museum buildings are extraordinary, comprising of both ancient Roman baths and of the late 15th century Cluny Abbey, and it houses an amazing collection of Medieval tapestries, paintings, antiquities, furnishings, stained glass, ivory, gold and Gothic sculptures. The main attraction is the incredible series of six enormous late 15th century tapestries called La Dame à la Licorne (The Lady and the Unicorn) which are displayed together in a darkened room. Together they provide an extraordinary experience, with an almost halloucgeneic, dream-like feeling. Read more here.

I always visit the Pompidou Centre when I'm in Paris, because it is probably the greatest modern art musuem in the world, with its incredible permanent collections, and I also love the architecture of the building. When you've ascended the big escalator, you also get amazing views of Paris:

Brilliant grungy aesthetic, that was totally putting me in the zone of that Northern European youth angsty-ness which I'm slightly obsessed with:

I love the utilitarian industrial design on the Paris Métro:

The Palais de Tokyo is always high up on my list of things to do in Paris too. I have blogged about it before here and here, so I won't extol all its virtues again, but I will say it is just such an amazing, cool place, and I wish that we had something similar in London.

There is always cool stuff in the shop there... SHUT UP tape:

The 'bomb':

Tattoo Barbie:

Paper shoes:

The gum chair:

The view from the terrace:

There was this huge event going on at the front, with loads of basketball players (but no basketball actually being played, as far as I could see), and lots of dry ice smoke:

Galeries Lafayette has a spectacular central atrium, but I do prefer Printemps for fashion, accessories etc. It has similar brands, but Printemps somehow feels much more exclusive and calm, and it is less clogged with tourists (like me!)

What I do love about Galeries Lafayette, though, is the food hall, which is something that Printemps does not have.

I love (to look at) all the kitsch, 70s-esque terrines and savoury jellies and slices:

Giant parmesan!

I stayed in the Oberkampf area (north of the Marais and near République). It's quite a good area to stay.. central, well connected, and quite edgy. Weirdly, it also seemed to be the video games district... there were loads and loads of shops selling video games:

I had such a brilliant time.. and of course very soon I will blog about the Raf Simons show. I honestly still can't believe that I was invited, it still seems so unreal.

Related posts:

My Day in Paris en BlackBerry
Palais de Tokyo