Remembering when we arrived in Paris for the first time in 1963 with my Parson’s summer school class led by professor Stanley Burrows. Our chartered bus dropped all 25 of us, future designers, off at Cafe Flore. How right was Mr. Burrows…! It was and still is the heart of Paris Fashion.
I bought a shop with my best friend and fashion partner, Mia Fonssagrives, just down the street in 1968, and the Cafe Flore became our after-work hangout to meet many other fabulous people in our industry. The Cafe Flore has been the hangout for French fashion designers for over 60 years.
Each of us designers had their corner. Karl Lagerfeld was just inside the center with his vast entourage; Sonia Rykiel alone ruled in a corner upstairs on the first floor. Paco Rabanne, Azzedine, Kenzo Issey Miyake, and even YSL with “boyfriend Boy” were there from time to time, at least once a week, generally on Fridays, to celebrate another brutal couture week ending.
Emmanuelle and Quasar Khanh had their crazy glass box car parked out front, and Fashion Week fans met there with all the models and the model’s hunky boyfriends all parading in front of the Cafe Flore, showing off the following year’s “ boy toy” look.
Shop owners fought for seats. American department store buyers sat in the outdoor chairs even in winter. I was lucky to sit inside to the left of the front door and take notes with journalist Mary Russell, the only American who loved hanging out at the Flore. ( Only Mary and Paco are still alive)…..and me!
In September, the fit models returned from holidays still wearing summer, but by Oct 4, they had chosen the look for the following year after the fashion shows ended. The prêt à porter designers came with sketch pads to ensure every new detail.
On Sundays, everyone had breakfast with their sweethearts at the Cafe Buci, the corner of the Rue de Buci and Rue de Seine. At this magical spot for Sunday cafes and croissants, the models and movie stars showed off the exciting daywear look for the following year.
Heads could not stop turning as Belmondo had a new woman, Ursula Andress, in unzipped jumpsuits, or Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsbourg, who all lived in St Germain, needed to see the latest look for their press photos. Sometimes even Salvador Dali crossed the river from his hotel on the Rive Droit with Amanda Lear to sit and watch the fashion show on the Buci. Amazingly the world has changed but not the Cafe Flore or Cae Buci.
This is the look for 2023. It’s called “The Mix.” The ’60s are back. The mini Mia Vicky launched on Johnny Carson in 1964 is in every window..identical in shiny patent leather, and the newest mini is the Azzedine Alaia skirt, which is fabulous, fresh, and not at all from the 60s. It’s often mixed today with something quite the opposite.
The tiny Mini skirt in black patent leather is often worn with black hose, clunky black shoes, and a wild print top.
The Azzedine Alaia mini is brand new, beautiful, and worn with all black.
The maxi dress launched in 1968 by YSL is back in knits and with a 60’s fringe.
Three little black ’60s maxi dresses are the look after a hot pink electric summer.
The sexy black look in “The Street Bra” is on the models and movie stars at awards. Today women will wear bras under a see thru knit top and maxi skirt with a large chic blazer as a coverup.
The black maxi skirt is my design. Lucie will wear a black and white plaid blazer with the Doc Martins, which are still hot.
Mila Kunis launched the diamond collar on a plaid shirt, The diamond beaded collar, and now it’s gone fashion viral.
The beaded collar on a plaid shirt today mixes country and glamour.
The Chunky black shoe at Gucci.
Black Loafer with oversized green sole at Armani. Chunky walking shoes are replacing the white tennis shoes in the chicest Italian couture and are now on the streets.
The oversized classic English blazers are the coverup of bare fashion for Fall. Bras, bare midriffs, and ripped tops are covered by tres chic-tres cher classic blazers.
Mixing old and New, Mixing 60’s and Today, Mixing Country Plaid and Diamonds, Mixing Chic and Bohemian is the trend of Paris Fall Fashion. THE MIX IS IT.
I am buying a $10 Wal-Mart jersey dress and beading French haute couture at the neckline. It’s my New Look, THE MIX.
Just be grateful for the black thong…
PATHETIC, and embracing this hideous cry for attention as Best-Dressed is Beyond PATHETIC!!!
Excellent critique. Marilyn. Kudos! Great pics I’d love to see a slide show of just the outfits The show is…
Creative Self-Expression is fascinating!
This might go up twice, but Marilyn, you hit a chord. Thank you as always for your end-of-year summation, inspiration…