I probably don’t need to tell you that last week I took a short but oh-so-sweet trip to Paris with H&M. It was plastered all over my Instagram! Perhaps I could be accused of having shared more snaps than strictly necessary but between the divine Parisian surroundings, the wonderful company, the ‘slebs on the FROW and of course, the show, can you really blame me?
No matter how many times I take the Eurostar – and I seem to be taking it a LOT at the moment – I can never get over how bloody brilliant it is. Little more than three hours door to door, no endless loitering in duty free, baggage restrictions or water bottle confiscations, genius! Kind of off topic I know but it was the Eurostar journey out to Paris that set the tone for this particular excursion. Rather than spending the journey solo, trying to muscle up the self discipline to work instead of wandering off to buy a cup of tea every ten minutes, Look Magazine fash ed, Lucy Wood, Elle Magazine’s Harriet Stewart, the lovely Victoria from H&M and I took over a large area of the business class section for a lengthy bout of leisurely lunching, champagne drinking, chatting and categorically not working. Relaxed, convivial and fun with a capital “F”, add chic into the mix and there you have a succinct summary of the trip. But you know what I say, why write one word where you could write twenty?
We arrived to be greeted with blue skies and sunshine, which was especially lucky for me as I was in very short suede shorts and planning on wearing a whole lot less for the evening (wa-hey!). Also, you know, it’s nice to have a few days that don’t involve damp feet, wet dogs smells and puddle dodging. And where better to be soaking up a spot of decent weather than the Paris?
As is so often the case on these kind of trips, a part of me was sad not to have an extra few hours just to spend at the hotel! Comprising a huge, magnificently imposing building in the heart of Opera, the Intercontinental LeGrand was old school luxury epitomised. It was utterly fabulous and the polar opposite of the also fab hotel I stayed in on my last trip to Paris.
But no matter how deliciously comfortable my room I was dying to get out and about so Stateside super blogger, Kim Pesch of eat.sleep.wear and I grabbed our sunnies and cameras and hit the streets. Between hunting for macaroons (not exactly tricky in central Paris), chatting about everything from jet lag and Hawaii weddings to the business of blogging as well as joining up with one of my fave street style photographers, Lord Ashbury, to snap a few looks the afternoon seemed to pass in a flash. Before I knew it, darkness was falling and it was high-heels-and-wine time.
Me & Kim on the streets of Pareeeeee
Once suited and booted, or rather semi naked and open toed, we headed to the Westin Hotel, which H&M had basically taken over… As well as the Grand Palais (!) but that’s coming later. If the evening’s events confirmed anything, it was the scale of H&M’s international clout. Obviously I’ve always known they were a high street giant with stores in every city and legions of devoted fans but the coming together of H&M teams from literally all over the world accompanied by their press and bloggers to host a catwalk extravaganza that kicks of Paris Fashion Week for me really highlighted their influence both within and beyond the industry. This also ties into one of the main points of the trip – told you it was “work” – the launch of H&M’s global Pinterest. Brands that operate on a vast, global scale like H&M tend to have separate marketing teams and social media accounts for each country otherwise the whole thing would become an organisational and linguistic disaster. However, at the end of the day, they’re all sharing the same message, the same excitements and the same collections. That’s where their Pinterest comes in. It’s definitely worth checking out but for now, let’s go back to Paris.
Me & Pandora Skyes, Fashion Editor of The Debrief
After a delicious dinner and a lot of largely non-fashion related lols, the Brit contingent gathered up our impractically sized clutch bags and non insulating coats to make out way to the show. Judging from their previous Paris shows, I knew I was in for a spectacle and H&M Studio most certainly did not disappoint. Upon arrival at the spectacular venue – the Grand Palais, major – we were presented with champagne and (more) scallops. Inside the space had been transformed into an abstract cityscape complete with graphic architectural lines and enormous billboards. Every inch of the place was packed with immaculately clad fashion weekers, jostling with photographers to snap the A-list line up on the FROW. And what a line up it was! Think Jordan Dunn, Miranda Kerr, Solange Knowles, Olivia Palermo and Jessica Alba to name but a few.
Jessica Alba & Solange Knowles
Eventually the hubbub was halted by a firm French accented announcement that it was time to take our seats for the show. Once again, my unfounded dubiousness about high street brands entering the fashion week arena was dispelled. The collection was strong, seriously so. Opening with a fantastic army green overcoat with a military chic elegance about it layered over a semi sheer knit, we were treated to an array of looks that fused androgyny with sensuality par excellence. Slinky, lace trimmed numbers were layered under ribbed jumpers and oversized outerwear, styled with knee high boots for extra sass.
H&M Studio AW14
There were luxe leathers in the form of slouchy caramel trousers and shirtdresses and high shine PVC in shades of olive and tomato red. The aviator jackers and chubby faux furs oozed winter casual cool while sleek, backless jumpsuits and slinky silver slip dresses with asymmetric hemlines provided understated after dark options. Less understated were the sequinned pieces, which I adored all the more for their in-your-face pazzaz. And let’s not forget the models who rocked those clothes. We’re talking Lindsay Wixen, Joan Smalls, Saskia de Graw, Malaika Firth, Andrea Diaconu and Magdalena Frackowiak. Seriously super supers in all their glossy locked glory.
H&M Studio AW14
After said supers took their final strut, serenaded by French artist-of-the-moment, HollySiz we made our way out of Le Grand Palais and into the Parisian night. Not that we were about to head back to our beds of course, perish the thought. An evening like that deserved seeing off in style and that’s precisely what we did, until the wee hours, at one of my fave Paris spots Hotel Costes.
A huge thank you to H&M for a spectacular show and a fabulous trip!
Love Ella. X