Halley Knigge (Griffin)

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Oh how I love fashion week in Paris. Sunday kicked off the week of prêt-à-porter shows, and as usual, the city has gone even a little nuttier than usual. From the long white tents set up in the jardin des Tuileries, to tourists visiting the Louvre catching an eyeful as the Valentino and Vivianne Westwood shows empty out, to portions of the Centre Pompidou being completely shut down to set up runways for YSL, to celebrity-sightings all over the city.

Today, after dragging myself out of bed for an 8 a.m. class, I arrived at Sciences Po to discover (with the rest of the class) that our professor had cancelled it for the day. At first I was quite bitter about all the sleep I’d needlessly missed, but then I realized that I could now go watch the arrivals at the Chanel show at Grand Palais.

I arrived at about 9:30 a.m. and stationed myself directly across the street from the entrance, to watch international fashionistas flash their coveted black and white passes at the bouncers and slip inside the massive doors of the Palais. As I stood there, chatting with the driver of a fashion journalist with the fortune to have her own pass, and just observing the flow of people, I began to realize that I am definitely not the only chronic stalker of fashion shows.

There are apparently quite a few of us with this habit – we’re all in our early twenties, have the show schedules memorized, and spend our free hours during fashion week lurking outside, trying to catch glimpses of models and designers. While happily watching the arrivals, I swapped stories with a girl from Mexico – she’d been around at the backstage entrance and had seen Karl Lagerfield, while I’d seen Anna Wintour arrive.

Yes, probably the highlight of my as yet brief career in fashion week stalking was the moment this morning when I watched the current editor-in-chief of Vogue step out of her hired car, pose for the photographers and strut past the guards. Unfortunately, I seem to have the slowest camera reflexes of all time, and although she was about five feet away from me (facing me, and the photographers) for quite a long moment, I didn’t manage to get my camera out of my pocket and turned on until she was a little bobbed blur in the distance. Still though, I saw Anna Wintour!

Here’s a much better picture of her from Saturday’s Hermès show at Théatre du Chatêlet:

Though Anna Wintour was definitely my biggest thrill, there were a number of other celebrities lurking about. Also on my sighting list were, Lou Doillon, French actress and daughter of Jane Birkin (inspiration for the Hermès Birkin bag), Cécile Cassel, an 18-year old French comedienne, Clemence Poesy, another French actress and Virginie Ledoyen. At the Valentino show on Wednesday in the Carrousel du Louvre I saw Molly Sims.

Molly Sims posing with some thrilled adolescent boys:

Ohhhh I love fashion week in Paris.

Author: Halley (Griffin) Knigge

Storyteller and adventurer with a focus on new and social media. Ten years of award-winning writing and editing experience, eight years working professionally to share compelling stories through brand journalism, three years as an airline spokesperson, two years as a Tacoma Arts Commissioner and 30+ years of learning something new every day.

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