There are moments in life of every woman that make her want to change her hair, re-do her apartment or her job: emotional, intense moments that cannot be ignored.
So, when my moment came, what did I do?
I went to Paris.
And with me came the queen of dresses: straight off the catwalk, floor length, double chiffon fairytale of enchanted forests, little animals and flowers dreamily spread over me.
That dress has survived a placé dinner, and a dancing night afterwards. It has been drenched in champagne (a couture baptism, anyone?) and has been torn by my own heels while dancing to Madonna. Yet nothing that the magnificent hands of seamstresses and good care of dry cleaners couldn’t fix: so it got carefully placed into my luggage, and one fine morning the Jardin des Tuileries saw Lady Violante in an evening gown, interpreting her own fairytale. 😀
I was in Paris following a very special invite: Chanel asked if I wanted to fly in for their runway show. They even said on the phone: “We shall leave you the time to think it over, if you should wish so.”
“Yes, I will get back to you. ” … said no woman ever.
Upon arrival, what surprised everyone I met was that it was my absolute first time in the City of Lights. Yes, ladies and gentleman: I was freshly 34 and I had never set foot in Paris! So I said to my concierge with disarming innocence: “Oui, c’est la première fois” and I walked out onto the streets of Ville Lumière at 10 am. The plan? I had no plan. The Chanel show was 3 days away, and I allowed myself to be alone in the most romantic city of the world. So I started walking.
And I walked, and walked, and walked. With no guide, no direction: my hotel was in the 8th Arrondissement, right on the Champs-Élysées, I was armed with Dior sneakers, a camera, curious eyes and an open heart.
Boy, was I in for a beautiful ride!
You see, there are no non-beautiful views in Paris. I can’t even use the word “ugly”: you simply cannot associate the city with it. Every step, my jaw dropped a little lower. The architecture, the huge streets, the Seine, the Eiffel Tower .. the sky! The sky in Paris can only be compared to what I experienced in Africa: it’s enormous, incredibly vivid and blue, it’s what poetry and dreams are made of.
However the moment I definitely realized my heart was stolen for good was on the Pont Alexandre-III, when all of a sudden, completely unexpected, the Eiffel Tower popped into my eyesight. I swear, the heart skipped a beat (or two). Nothing prepared me for the sight of that much sun, the most famous building in the world and the beauty of Seine. Even now, I have goosebumps.
There is one thing that never abandoned me in my Parisian week: my smile. That city is magic, pure magic, and makes you dream, makes you laugh, could potentially make you cry because of the intensity of your own emotions, but you would still smile, smile, smile through it all.
So, what else did I do? I had breakfast at Ladurée (of course I did!), I was a tourist for a day, I got a taste of just how much of gentlemen French men are, I sat in a park under the sun doing absolutely nothing, I did some photoshoots with an amazing, talented lady photographer whose work you are looking at here (thank you, my Violeta Purple, je t’adore ), saw fashion shows, went for a midnight walk on Place Vendôme with friends on 11 cm heels and lived to tell the tale, I even did the Parisienne thing and ate a sandwich while walking the streets with a special man. Then, I visited every Chanel shop there was, followed by Dior, Hermès and Louboutin. I took endless pictures. I even found myself two bodyguards:
Of course, my bodyguards could not ride horses. They had to be on motorbikes. 😀 Who needs Cinderella when you can have Easy Rider?
Paris has been the perfect backdrop for my clothes, my thoughts and my heart. I have dressed up for every date we had: from the airport to the moment I took my Uber to catch the return flight, I wanted to dress to impress my new love. A friend texted me one day to say: “It seems to me you are having a love affair!” And I was, I truly was. It only seemed right to appear beautiful in a place so beautiful that it needed no filter in my Instagram photos!
People go to Paris to fall in love, some go there already with their hearts heavy with emotions, others go full of curiosity towards the city that inspired and still inspires poems, books, operas, songs. Yet nothing can prepare you for the impact it has on an already sensible woman’s heart: after 24 hours, it felt like home.
The perfect dress is like the perfect man: hard to find, difficult to manage but feels amazing once it’s yours. 🙂 And there is something very special about this one: from the moment I tried it on in a dressing room, and opened the curtains to show my friends and family – the sparkle in their eyes and the smiles told me that the princess in me finally got her gown.
I had many ideas before my trip about what outfits to shoot in the marvelous sights of Paris, but only this one was a no-brainer: a dress so special that looked at ease even in gardens, in full daylight.
Yes, another wonderful thing in Ville Lumière is that people are very nonchalant about everything. You want to go out looking like a homeless person? You dress up like a woman from another century? Please, by all means. I live in Milan, the so-called capital of fashion, and I often wear outrageously exaggerated outfits for my everyday life: but let me tell you, it’s like living in a village compared to Paris.
With this shooting, I will reveal something personal that served as inspiration: my favorite opera, La Traviata, is set in Paris. So I finally gave in to the cheesy need to listen to it for hours: in questo popoloso deserto che appellano Parigi… Sempre libera! Really, even if I wanted, I couldn’t have asked for more.
So thank you, Paris, for loving me for 5 days: we will meet again soon…