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An insider's guide to Paris Fashion Week

09 MARCH 2012 Friend of HELLO! Online, Alex Currie, had the privilege to be invited to the Chloe Paris Fashion Week catwalk presentation.

And what follows is her blow by blow account of all the backstage goings on and excitement surrounding the glitzy event. 

"Paris is pulsating with the excitement of Fashion Week and I am in the thick of it all! My life is fuller now than it has ever been since my diagnosis of Breast Cancer (BC) in October 2010.

"I was invited to attend the Chloe Fall 2012 Show by its head designer, Clare Keller.


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"We go way back from our children attending school together in London. Although we've both left, through the years we have maintained our friendship sharing visits to Spain, London and the United States.

"What an opportunity this was for me. Especially as a BC survivor, since diagnosis for me it has been hard to imagine the future, a positive one at that.

"Shortly after I began my treatments, I noticed the medical staff and my Onocolgist at the London Oncology Clinic rarely spoke of my future.

"I remember in May, after I finished Radiotherapy, asking the nurse if it was okay to plan my summer. The shock on her face was priceless – she was surprised that no one addressed that issue with me. "Yes," she said.

"I am now almost exactly one year on from finishing Chemotherapy, but I still have to watch what I do and need to take care of myself more than usual - a daily challenge I fail often.

"I look at life through rose coloured glasses now and face each day with pure optimism and a smile.

"I'm in Paris for the first time without my children, my husband, anyone or anything to distract me – I'm having the time of my life.



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"I'm staying at The Park Hyatt - Place Vendome on Rue de la Paix, a five-star luxury hotel paces away from the Place Vendome monument with The Ritz, Chanel boutique, and Piaget. Not only do I feel like a queen, I am a queen!

"The first night, I was a bit jet lagged and tried to get out to the Free Markets on the outskirts of Paris and found it was absolutely impossible to get there in time to properly walk the grounds.

"I guess I'll have to plan another trip, next time as a buyer for my company, a little square LLC.

"The day of the show, I leaped out of bed, pacing the hotel room floor, making sure my outfit was up to current fashion standards.

"Dress code: an animal print with matching textured hosiery, clunky heels of season, a short sassy jacket and really cool accessories – where can you go wrong with that?

"I am a bit rusty in this area as I almost traded my Louboutins in for Nike trainers - permanently!

"I decided to have lunch before the show. My favourite French bistro, Le Castiglione on Rue Saint Honoré, is a famous haunt for many fashion moguls, celebrities and financiers. It was Packed to the gills - I barely got a seat at the bar.


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"It's my husband's favourite place as well, as you can appear to disappear. The décor is typical French bistro in hot Christmas red, booths and wooden panels covering every wall.

"Although the food is certainly nothing to write home about, the atmosphere is electrifying. I felt like I was one of ‘zem.

"Sardines came to mind as I stepped inside. My long black cashmere coat got caught in the red curtain, and suddenly I am an enchilada speaking broken conversational French trying to save face. "Dejeuner pour un, s’il vous plait!"

"Le Castiglione is a stone's throw from the Espace Ephemere dans Les Jardin Des Tuileries where the Chloe show was taking place.

I asked for L’addition (the cheque) and gathered my things and stepped out into the street. The weather forecast was for rain, but it was overcast and slightly on the warmer side.

"The walk across the park was short, but long with my big clunky heels. I passed the carousel, the sweet horses going round and around, and my heart ached for my children.

"Yes, I should consider myself incredibly lucky to be here, alone, having a credit card with no balance, a five-star hotel, and a ticket to one of the hottest shows in Paris. What is wrong with me?

"I arrive at the show's entrance and it's crowded with paparazzi, TV interviewers, fashion students, and the public searching for celebrities.

"I walk in inconspicuously and follow the crowd to my seat. Oh my God! This is the first time I have seen a show lit up by natural light, it's brilliant! And of course, I did my make-up for a darker room, I hope I haven't gone overboard.

"My seat is Gd 21, four rows up from the catwalk. I am so excited!


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"The crowd was thinned out at first, no one I recognised. Then she walks in, none other than Anna Wintour.

"Then Marie Claire’s Editor-In-Chief, Joanna Coles with Hal Rubenstein. Kate Lanphear – the style director of Elle USA – appeared from nowhere across from me, I almost freaked out! 

"The crowd went quiet around 4:25pm, the music pumped and pulsated, and the first model walked out. I tried to take photographs but my Android was too slow. All I can report are the textures, fabrics and the styles:

"One of the standout pieces included the Clunky Rainbow Knit – Clare told me it takes four days to complete this sweater as there is only one person in Paris who can finish this knit. Magnificent.

"The Leather Coulottes/Gouchos were also great. I told Clare these were worth losing 40 pounds over. I am wearing them this Autumn, come hell or high water!

"I also loved the wursted wool/cashmere cape jacket – that's my description as I scribbled down notes and forgot what she named it. Beautiful and absolutely sellable and wearable for any woman from 20 to 80.

"The shoes: flats and heels were exciting. Call me old fashioned, but when I go to buy designer goods, especially shoes, I expect to wear everything at least for an hour.

"Overall, Chloe was an exciting collection. Something to write home about!

"I finished the evening with Clare and her family at La Stella. We enjoyed chatting about family, changes in the world economics, and when and where we were getting our children together.

"Vivre La France, C’est Magnifique!"

Read Alex's blog Stayabreast

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