Last week I had the somewhat surreal experience of being whisked off to the City of Lights by none other than Dior. When I say “whisked off” what I actually mean was that they invited me several months before so I spent the subsequent weeks getting more and more excited to the point that I was basically incapable of doing anything at all. But that’s a rather long winded way of putting it and has definitely ruined any hope I had of seeming like the kind of nonchalant individual who gets jetted around the world by luxury brands every week. Oh well, aloofness is overrated anyway.
Having barely slept the night before out of anticipation (there goes the final nail in the coolness coffin), last Tuesday I was up at the crack of dawn and zooming across town to join my fellow London Dior-lings in the Eurostar Business lounge. After guzzling as much coffee as possible without my head actually exploding and nabbing copies of Porter, Vanity Fair, Harpers and every other free fash mag I could carry it was time to board the train so that our Parisian adventure could begin. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the Eurostar journey feels infinitely shorter with good company and I couldn’t have wished for better fellow travellers than Shini Park of Park and Cube, Jane Cunningham of British Beauty Blog, Gala Gonazales and the lovely Montasar from Dior Beauty. Even the horror of my entire photo library deleting itself for no apparent reason somewhere under the Channel couldn’t dampen my spirits and when we arrived to the bluest of blue skies all Macbook induced stresses evaporated. On a side note, I’ve still not managed to sort the bloody thing out so any advice anyone might have on how to do so would be much appreciated.
Once again, I’d opted against taking any flat shoes with me (why do I NEVER learn!?) but my beloved Carven deer print mini looks so much better with a heel. Plus, by the time we’d enjoyed a leisurely lunch there wasn’t a whole lot of time left to wander the streets. That said, I did managed to fit in a petit hotel exploring session. Given how utterly incredible the Prince de Galles is, I couldn’t not. Founded in 1928 and recently refurbished just last year, the place is an Art Deco masterpiece that feels both contemporary and steeped in history. Think exquisite mosaics, suites than simple exuded modern luxury and a michelin starred restaurant and a vast terrace filled with perfectly mismatched furniture and palm trees where we’d later find ourselves drinking Sancerre and munching croque-monsieurs until the wee hours.
Me, Jane & Montasar enjoying a post lunch coffee
Hands down one of the most glamorous places I’ve stayed and I’d go back (slash move in) in a heartbeat. But enough about the hotel, let’s talk Dior, darling.
After slipping into one of my trustiest Whistles cocktail dresses and stuffing an assortment of random possessions into the divine Dior Couture handbag I’d be using for the evening we, the Brit contingent, filed into our chauffeur driven ride and headed in the direction of Le Marais. Held in a gallery, discreetly tucked away down one of those quintessentially Parisian pedestrian only streets, had it not been for the Dior pink painted door and incredibly elegant people filing through it, you’d have never guessed that this was the venue a coterie of bloggers would be travelling from all over the world to enter that evening. This perhaps exemplifies one of the many things I adore the most about Dior today. It is a brand that could easily afford to coast on its legacy and luxury status but instead they strive to remain relevant, surprising and innovative. The mind boggling beauty products were were about to see would only serve to confirm that.
Inside, the space was an absolute dream. Clean, elegant and minimalistic with champagne and delicacies on one side, the stunning new Dior Addict campaign posted on the other and a vast array of fluid sticks (note: not lipsticks, so much more) and nail polishes in a kaleidoscope of pink tinged hues in the middle. In other words, heaven. And that’s before you even consider what treats were in store on the other two floors. In between ogling the beauty delights and instagramming the hell out of everything I caught up with my favourite fashion couple, Betty Autier and Mathieu Lebreton who’d just jetted in from Barcelona, I swear those two never stop with their fabulous travels! Not that I’m sickeningly jealous or anything…
Me & Shini
Me & Betty
Before long it was time for the first of the evening’s main events, the collection presentation. I’m no expert on makeup by any means but it was clear, even to me, that this stuff is something seriously special. Not only did it look stunning both in the bottle and on the model, the technology, science and attention to detail involved in concocted the products is fascinating and yet more proof that Dior is a legacy brand that will never rest on its laurels. Also, FYI, I’ve worn the lot since and even when applied by my unskilled hand it looks banging.
Soon, the presentation drew to a close but the fun was just beginning. We were each presented with a beautifully illustrated face chart and ushered to the wall of delights we’d be drooling over just before to pick our favourite colours which would be applied, by Dior’s own in house experts upstairs. I chose “Wonderland” for both my nails and my lips, it’s simply the perfect shade of pink. Thus began a pampering session that can only be described as the stuff of every girly girl’s dreams. Our makeup, nails and hair were polished and coiffured to perfection, then we got in front of the cameras by which point I suspected I’d slipped into some sort of magical parallel universe where my biggest concern in life was not smudging my manicure. And then, don’t hate me, it was time to teeter back down the stairs for the cocktail party.
During our absence the space had transformed from chic art gallery to after dark hotspot. I immediately spied Sandra Bauknecht of Sandra’s Closet who, ever since the Gucci trip all those year’s ago, I’ve utterly adored. Sandra was also recently and very deservedly appointed Editor in Chief of L’Officiel Switzerland so obviously I grilled her about that! We spent the next hour or so happily ensconced on a canapé adjacent table (all that beautifying is hungry work!) with Chiara Ferragni of The Blonde Salad, Shea Marie of Peace Love Shea and insanely stylish New York DJ/model/entrepreneur, Hannah Bronfman.
Sandra, me & Shea
Chiara, Shea, me & Sandra
As if the presentation, make up session and soirée weren’t enough, Dior had also teamed up with Glow Gallery to stage an interactive exhibition downstairs. We were each taken down to enjoy the experience, and when I say “experience”, I mean it. We’re talking a maze of holograms, projections and optical illusions in which we were filmed to create our own personal video. There was one hologram shaped like a door and I rather regret pretending to be trapped inside trying to get out, in the style of Austin Powers’ man-inside-a-bloody-nutshell impression. One of those things that seemed funny at the time and less so afterwards I guess.
By the time I resurfaced my Paris based besties, Laura and Reilly, who Dior had generously let me invite along had arrived and we all enjoyed a good mingling and dancing session we all decamped back to the Prince de Galles for a nightcap or three.
Dior, I cannot thank you enough for a truly magical experience. It was an absolute honour to be included among the lucky bloggers invited into your world and I still can’t believe the whole thing happened!
Love Ella. X