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Tag Archives: Paris

Crazy for Couture: Days 3 & 4

9 Jul

The final two days of Paris Couture were filled with sparkles at Elie Saab, drama at Jean Paul Gaultier, classic colors at Valentino, and a bit of whimsy at Ulyana Sergeenko.  Each collection provided its fair share of eye candy.  Let’s have a taste.

Elie Saab Couture Fall 2012

Elie Saab Couture Fall 2012

Elie Saab Couture Fall 2012

Elie Saab Couture Fall 2012

Jean Paul Gaultier Couture Fall 2012

Jean Paul Gaultier Couture Fall 2012

Valentino Couture Fall 2012

Valentino Couture Fall 2012

Valentino Couture Fall 2012

Ulyana Sergeenko Couture Fall 2012

Ulyana Sergeenko Couture Fall 2012

Do you have a favorite?

I have a tie between Valentino’s classic red gown and Sergeenko’s snow bunny bride!

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Crazy for Couture – Day 2

4 Jul

For me – the highlights of today’s couture shows in Paris were the milky whites of Chanel and the furry embellishments of Givenchy. Now all I need is a slew of special occasions in a snow dusted locale, either Karl or Riccardo to design me “bump-friendly” versions of these looks, and a money tree with which to buy them.  Not looking so good really…

Chanel Haute Couture Fall 2012

Chanel Haute Couture Fall 2012

Chanel Haute Couture Fall 2012

Chanel Haute Couture Fall 2012

Givenchy Couture Fall 2012

Givenchy Couture Fall 2012

Givenchy Couture Fall 2012

All images courtesy of http://www.style.com

 

Crazy for Couture – Day 1

3 Jul

The Paris Haute Couture shows have started, and the collections shown on day one were all about volume and/or color.  Here are my favorite over-the-top looks of the day:

I mean who doesn’t need a tu-tu cape? Alexis Mabille Couture Fall 2012

Or a giant tu-tu collar? This would have been perfect for our Circus of Love last August. A day late…and a lot of tulle short. Alexis Mabille Couture Fall 2012

Pretty-in-Pink. How very Enchanted Evening Barbie! Christian Dior Couture Fall 2012

Hello Neon! Christian Dior Couture Fall 2012

You know I love a hoop skirt. Christian Dior Couture Fall 2012.

Peplum Perfection! Christian Dior Couture Fall 2012

Giambattista Valli Couture Fall 2012

Perfect for hiding a very flat chest. Giambattista Valli Couture Fall 2012

Giambattista Valli Couture Fall 2012

All images courtesy of http://www.style.com.

 

Paris in the Springtime Part Deux

8 Jul

Okay…so I realize that it is officially summer.   I also realize that we have officially been back from Paris for over a month – but between planning The Circus of Love in Columbus, Ohio and our Safari Wedding in South Africa (all the way from Beijing) I am a little bit behind on my blonde blogging.  That said, I would like to quickly sum up the rest of our wonderful trip to Paris.  Then…I will get back to stories of our life here in China!

Saint Germain L'Auxerrois Church

Isn’t it such a pity that Jennifer and Jean-Marc were married in such a boring cathedral in the center of Paris?  I really feel for them.  Just wait until you see the reception venue.  Complete white trash.  It is so clear that she is a fellow Kentuckian.  Oh wait…I think I might be mixing their wedding reception up with the “Circus of Love” (i.e. carnival freak show) that Brett and I are having next month.  That’s right, it’s all coming back to me now – Jennifer and Jean-Marc’s reception was held at Château d’Ermenonville – a breathtaking castle just outside of Paris.  Classic mix-up.

Admiring the Beautiful Bride's Beautiful Bouquet

Old KY Friends Reunite in Paris! FASHION: Gold One-Shoulder Herver Leger Bandage Dress with Leopard Print Louboutin Peep-Toes

It took less than an hour to get to the château from city center – which flew by as everyone in the last few rows of the bus came equipped with a bottle of champagne. Why is it that the misfits always sit in the back?

Jenny and JM timed everything perfectly.  We were able to check in to our room (which was inside one of the château’s turrets by the way – so cool!) make a quick costume change, and then head down to a cocktail hour in the courtyard area just as the bride and groom were finishing up their wedding photos.

Inside Saint Germain L'Auxerrois

Brett in front of Château d'Ermenonville

Cocktail Hour! FASHION: Late 70's Vintage Gold Lame Halter Dress

We spent the cocktail hour (although we should probably add an ‘s’) enjoying the perfect spring weather while catching up with old friends and chatting up new ones from every corner of the world!

A few quick pics before the dinner began.  The meal was a culinary treat!  Lucky for us…we got to enjoy the five-star cuisine from the Château more than once – since we overslept and missed the bus the next morning!  I still cannot believe that we were the only two guests who missed the bus after a wedding reception that lasted until 5AM!  They certainly do know how to keep a party going in Paris.  That said, I had the best steak tartare of my life the next day for lunch.  I would miss the bus all over again for that.

To Jennifer, Jean-Marc, and both of their families – Thank you so much for including us in your special celebration. We had the best time!  I also have to send a thank you to Alex Leeper for reminding me (and Brett) just how cool kids can be. Alex – you are one cool kid!

The beautiful views from our room!

Rosé at Roland Garros

The next day we were able to go to the French Open – and as luck would have it we got to see Federer  and Djokovic play.  Not each other, obviously, it was only the first round – but it was such fun.  I love how the French do sports.  What better way to take in a match than with foie gras, champagne, and macaroons?

Lunch at the French Open

Brett...are you positive that China's car market is larger than Paris's? Maybe we should move here and find out?

We spent our last night in Paris with Leigh (a childhood friend of mine from Murray) and her husband Damir.  They met us at our hotel bar – which was darling.  We stayed at Le Hotel Burgundy (www.leburgundy.com) for the last few nights – a boutique hotel in the 1st arr.  The rooms are fantastic and it smells like I imagine heaven will smell.

When the hotel bar closed – we all decided to head upstairs, raid the mini bar, and enjoy a night-cap on the balcony. Naturally, Leigh and I could not stop pinching ourselves.  Are we really in Paris together?  The same two little girls who used to play in the mud back in Kentucky?  The ones whose mother’s made them call when they crossed Chestnut Street to go from the Cheri Theater to Pizza Hut?   Mom!  Gay!  We survived!

Parisian Flea Market - Marché Vernaison

We did manage to sneak a little shopping in before we left the next day, but there is not enough time in one’s life to explore all of the treasures that Parisian shops and flea markets have to offer.  I do have one recommendation in particular though – Antiquitiés Bijoux in the Marché Vernaison is a treasure trove of vintage Chanel and YSL.  They carry only the most unusual and well-preserved pieces.  It is not to be missed.  (Allée 1, Stand 3, 93400 St.Ouen.  Tel: 06 03 47 76 11).

Au Revoir, Paris!  Until we meet again….

Paris in the Springtime….Part I

3 Jun

There is a reason that a song was written for this time of year in Paris…because springtime in Paris is absolute perfection!  And while one doesn’t need an excuse to visit the city in all of its blooming glory, what better reason to go than a Parisian Wedding of a fellow Kentuckian childhood friend?!

Like any trip to Paris – ours was filled with delicious cuisine, tasty wines, outdoor cafes, rich culture, high-end window shopping, and a highly contagious “c’est la vie” attitude.  I think I can best describe the trip through our photos…they speak much louder than my words!

First though, on a quick practical note – I would like to share with any Beijingers traveling to Paris that we flew on the direct flight from PEK to CDG on Air France which left around 11AM getting us to Paris by 2:30PM.  This was actually really convenient timing – it allowed us to check it, take a quick catnap, and freshen up before hitting the town that night.  On our last visit we took a redeye on Aeroflot and connected through Moscow.  This trip was much easier and we were more adapt to “Parisian time” (i.e. waiting until 10-11AM to really get the day started!).

For the first 2 nights in Paris, we stayed in a lovely Relais & Chateaux hotel in the 8th Arrondissement near the L’Arc de Triomphe.  Lucky for us – we were able to communicate with our taxi driver very easily…because he spoke English?  NO!  Because he was Chinese/French and he spoke Mandarin!  www.hoteldanielparis.com

   

Hotel Daniel in Paris

Living Room at Hotel Daniel - So Cozy!

On our first night, we started at Hotel Amour in the 9th Arr. for a romantic dinner for two in their outdoor courtyard.  The hotel is a bit edgy with a fashionable crowd, and the food was tasty.  Not Guy Savoy tasty – but not Guy Savoy prices either.  It was a very reasonable dinner (great prices on wine) and the setting was lively and Parisian chic.  I recommend a reservation – specifically for one of the hidden tables in the back, tucked among beautiful hedges in a glow of candlelight.  TIP: It is a bit difficult to find a direct contact online.  I suggest emailing your concierge to make the booking for you.

Outside the Amour Hotel. Not our best photo – but the crowd was a bit too cool for tourists! Clearly – this is a self-portrait.

Bird's Eye View of Amour Hotel's Outdoor Restaurant Seating

After dinner we grabbed a taxi to the recently renovated Royal Monceau Hotel (a Raffles Hotel) for a few drinks at Le Bar Long.  It was here where we found our second wind…a second wind to the level of a couple of 21 year olds and we would pay for this later!  Specifically, we would pay for this the next morning!  Maybe we can still go out like 21 year olds – but we can certainly not recover like them!

From The Royal Monceau we headed to Le Baron (in the 8th Arr.  Opens around 1AM).  Proud of ourselves for getting “in” ahead of a line full of 18-22 year old extremely put together Parisians, we danced the night away and left around 4:30 AM with sore feet, hungry bellies, and an inevitable headache on the way. But…what a fun way to get there!

Needless to say, we slept in on Friday and room service seemed the only option for our first meal of the day – around 11!  Afterwards, we threw on some clothes and hit the streets with the intent of buying a wedding gift for the happy couple.  Unfortunately, after unsuccessful visits to the bridal registries at Galleries Lafayette and Printemps, we realized that Jennifer and Jean Marc were actually registered at Bon Marche.  With too little time to get there, we scurried back to the hotel to get ready for the rehearsal dinner and shop for the betrothed online at  www.mariage.lebonmarche.fr. Finally…success!  And let’s be honest, a bit of window shopping in two of the most famous department stores in Paris was not so bad…

Unsuccessful Shopping Excursion. I apparently decided to dress like a human traffic cone.

I love that he is still this jolly after two failed attempts at bridal registries. What a good husband!

Our very kind cab driver made a quick stop by the L'Arc de Triomphe for a photo op on the way to the rehearsal dinner. Who says the French are snobs? I think they are quite lovely!

 

Outside the Buttes Chaumont Park in the 19th Arrondissement. The dinner was inside this beautiful park at Le Pavillon du Lac. It was a fantastic evening full of great conversation with old and new friends alike! FASHION: Vintage 1980's Silk Carolina Herrera Jumpsuit & Red Bottega Veneta Clutch

Paris in the Springtime…Part Deux COMING SOON!

Brett’s Birthday Get Away to The City of Lights

22 Jan

La Tour Eiffel! FASHION: Multi-Colored Fox Fur Jacket with Brown Suede Over-the-Knee Boots

I love Paris in the Springtime….I love Paris in the Fall!  Ahh – gay Paris!  Is there any other city so full of romance – delicious wines, the creamiest butter, and steak tartare served to perfection?  I think not.  So – I decided to surprise Brett with a trip to The City of Lights for his birthday celebration.

We left Beijing on a red eye flight on Aeroflot – a Russian Airline that offered a first class fare for almost the exact same price as the coach fare of Air France.  So that was a no-brainer.  Thank you Kayak!  We did have a quick stop in Moscow – which was actually kind of fun, and we arrived in Paris at 7AM.  By the way, I would recommend this airline.  Their fleet of planes might be a little older than other airlines, although the interiors do appear to have been updated, the service was excellent, and the price was right.

On Plane to Paris

I knew we would have plenty of time to freshen up once we arrived at the hotel seeing that Paris doesn’t really wake until almost 10.  Gotta love the 30 hour work week!  We stayed at Hotel Cambon – a sweet little boutique hotel across from the original Chanel store and Coco’s actual apartment.  All the rooms have a different, very modern and eclectic design, and ours even had a balcony overlooking a section of the Tuileries Gardens.  It was lovely.  I had arranged for a chocolate birthday cake and champagne to be in the room upon arrival. Okay…8AM might have been a little early to pop the bubbly – but it was 3PM Beijing time – and that is definitely happy hour in France.  So when you do the math – it was clearly acceptable.

In Front of Brasserie Lipp

Our first day was spent at the Musee Dorsay to visit the Impressionists followed by a late lunch at Brasserie Lipp in Saint-Germain to devour steak tartare and escargot.  The evening was spent at Guy Savoy – a 3 Michelin star restaurant.  We gorged ourselves on a 7-course tasting menu with wine pairings that included Guy’s infamous truffled artichoke soup – quite possibly the best thing I have ever put in my mouth.  I think it is obvious that our clothes fit a little bit tighter after our trip!

The next morning we awoke bright and early to wonder the streets while most Parisians were still warm in their beds.  We hit many of the necessary spots…a kiss on the Lover’s Bridge, a stroll by the Seine, the L’Arc de Triomphe on Champs Elysee. And, when our feet (I should say my feet in 5″ heels) couldn’t take anymore, we stopped by Cafe Marly overlooking the Louvre for a mid-morning snack.  For lunch (yes – the trip was based around eating) we went to Nomiya on top of the Palais de Tokyo modern art museum.

Nomiya at Palais de Tokyo

I had read an article about this place in the NY Times a while back, and it sounded very interesting.  Honestly, it exceeded every one of our expectations, and it was one of our favorite activities during the trip.  The lunch – which you must make reservations for well in advance – hosts 12 guests and no more.

Lover's Bridge

Perched on top of the museum in a tiny glass building, we ate great food at a communal table with interesting guests and a panoramic view of the city.  It was a great time – and as it turned out, the woman sitting across from us had lived in Murray, Kentucky (my off the beaten path tiny hometown) for a couple of years as a child.  What are the odds?

The Louvre. FASHION: Ivory Bunny Fur Jacket with an Eggplant American Apparel Lycra Skirt, matching tights, and Fuchsia Gladiators. Taupe Bottega Veneta Top Handle Tote

The remainder of the trip was spent at many other Parisian classics – The Bar at the Ritz, George V, the Pont Neuf, Hotel Costes, some shopping for the birthday boy in the Marais, window shopping on Faubourg Saint Honoree, Plaza Athenee (for drinks with my cute friend Jenny Leeper, her handsome fiance, and her very sweet mother) and a grand finale stop at La Tour Eiffel.  All in all – a perfect trip.

More Pictures from Paris….

Breakfast at Hotel Costes

Le Pont Neuf

Self Portrait at Plaza Athenee

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