So you happen to be in Paris during fashion week and want to sneak into some shows. It’s really quite easy once you get the hang of it. In the beginning I didn’t know how to work the system, but I am very observant and caught on quickly. So here are a few tips so you can at least start on the right foot.
1. DON”T DRESS UP!!!
This may seem ridiculous, you are going to a fashion show you must look your best! The people going to shows are editors, buyers, celebrities, and a few people that spend ungodly amounts of money on that brand. The buyers, celebrities, and big spenders all wear the best clothes and carry the new $15,000 purses to each show and they all know each other and you will stick out like a sore thumb amongst them even in your nicest Chanel jacket. You want to blend in with the press, there are tons of magazines and newspapers from all over the world and most of the editors and reporters are not as well known as Anna Wintour. They go from show to show day after day. Shows start at 9am and go until around 10pm every day, NON-STOP. It is tiring and so those reporters that have to cover everything are dressed very comfortably. My most successful season was Fall/Winter, it was snowing all week and I wore rolled up jeans, Dr. Martens, a lime green pea coat from JCPenney and a beanie. I was not a walking fashion statement, but I would just squeeze by with the rush of other reporters trying to get in and get seated. This brings me to my next tip…
2. Take the bus and stick close to the reporters!
Le Chambre Syndicale that puts on fashion week in Paris has a couple of buses that help the reporters get from one show to the next. It only follows the official schedule, but it is the best way to make sure you make it on time and can probably just squeeze right into the next show. From the very first show of the day the entire schedule is behind. So if you are at the 10 am show and it starts 40 minutes late when you get out, follow the crowd of unfashionable people outside and watch them head to the buses, you don’t have to show anything to get on, just walk on, the next show on the official schedule will wait at least until the buses get there to begin. They want as much press as they can get. The best part about this is since the previous show is so far behind schedule, the next show is waiting on these buses and the reporters need to get in and get set up to take notes or pictures before the show begins they rush the door, they all have legitimate tickets and you can usually just squeeze right in with the crowd. When on the bus, I think it is best to “look busy” so if you have a phone you can be emailing on or something so people don’t start asking you who you work for, etc. I always would be rummaging through my bad “looking for my ticket” while letting the crowd push me right past security. I got into about 80% of the shows with this little trick. Oh, and make sure you don’t make eye contact with any of the security people, just keep fumbling with your stuff and as soon as you pop through proceed very quickly into the venue and never look back. It is also best to ignore anyone who says anything to you, just keep walking.
3. Take Collateral from every show!
This helps sell the “looking for my ticket” trick. Any shows you do get into (big or small) make sure you pick up any programs or tickets that people leave behind (just one of each will do) and take the free booklets they hand out with the schedules and ads and stuff in them. All of this in your bag as you are rifling through will help it look more legit, like you probably do have a ticket somewhere in there. It works.
4. Try to use a name on the list!
This one is tricky. I was lucky enough to know someone who was a reporter for a newspaper that was invited to almost all the shows and I would use her name when there was no other way in. It was usually my last resort because you never know who knows who in real life and not just as a name on a list. A great way to get a name to try to use would be when you are grabbing the left behind tickets at other shows if you come across one that sounds american and is linked to a smaller paper that it would be unlikely the person at the door would know who that person is. If you stumbled upon a ticket that said Sarah Johnson San Jose News Tribune (that is completely made up, don’t try it!) that would be a jackpot. You could even argue at the door if she wasn’t on the list anyway it would actually be very easy once you had a name. The name I used got me into Jean Paul Gautier, Lanvin, Lacroix, and kinda at Galliano. As I put up pics from those shows I will tell you the stories!
My last tip for today is:
5. GO ALONE!
It is soooooo much easier to get one person in rather than 2 or 3 or if you are going with friends make it where you all try to get in separately and meet up on the inside. You will never get 3 people past security together. I’ve watched groups of students try to get in together and it never works.
Ok, this post is getting long and I want to get to the pics, so I’ll put up some other tips on another post. This is fun remembering back to all this, which seems like so long ago.
Before I knew all this my friends and I went to Dior and a man with an extra ticket said he would take one of us in, so I had just gone to a big show and let my friend go in with my camera. After the show she came out to show the images and it turns out she didn’t actually take one photo, she had never used a digital camera at that point and wasn’t pressing the button down all the way to take a photo. So I ran back in just to snap one pathetic photo of the empty stage 😦
that was all I got….
I will say it really isn’t the show that determines how hard it is to get into, but the venue. This was at Jardin des Tuileries which in my opinion was the hardest to get into out of every place they held shows and they have at least one or two per day here. It was usually just luck to get in and I was very lucky many times.
The first major show I got into was Viktor and Rolf. It was at Jardin des Tuileries and there was no getting past that gate, they must have had 10 guards at the tiny entrance. Well, as it turns out some french teenager had a V&R ticket and he approached my friends and I about buying it for 20 euros. I thought about it and finally forked over the money. I was sure I had just bought a fake ticket and was standing there about to walk up to the front of the line and be denied and out 20 bucks. I was not sure if I should try it or not, I was very intimidated by the whole thing at this point and then this HUGE security guard yelled to me…”Mademoiselle, Mademoiselle, s’il vous plait!!” my thought was oh shit, I can’t get arrested for this can I??!! Then the large bald headed man parted all the people and said “the show is about to begin, please” so I walked right in, I grabbed a glass of champagne as I entered and walked in only to discover I had a front row ticket. I walked towards the seat and realized the true owner of the ticket was already sitting in that seat, so I just turned around and walked back to the end of the runway before anyone caught on that I was not supposed to be there. I didn’t know what to do so I just walked up the stairs at the end of the seating and stopped when I could see easily enough. This was their FlowerBomb show and it was SO good!
my pictures aren’t great, but we started out with all black and motorcycle helmets.
that was interesting, all the models posed to recreate the famous photo that I cannot find online right now because I am drawing a complete blank at the moment.
the place went dark….
the lights flashed on and we all started cheering!
It was so beautiful…and the show started again.
the ad campaign for their new perfume (at the time) Flowerbomb.
To top off all that fun, as I left the show they were giving away bags containing a bottle of the perfume that was not for sale yet. I saved it and sent it to my mom as a Christmas present!
This post is incredibly long, so I am going to post up my Christian Lacroix photos tomorrow, it was the first time I sat in the front row!