10 July 2007

The RR Report: London & Paris

Oh gosh, gee whiz, after plowing through my buildup of e-mails from my past 10 days in Europe, I'm afraid of how coherent I'll be (or not) here...but still, the show must go on, non?

I was expecting to go to London and be bowled over by everyone's sheer coolness (see: Ms K. Moss). I even *almost* went as far as to purchase a way avant-garde strapless silk jumpsuit for the trip, just as an attempt to compete on UK sidewalks (sadly, despite the jumpsuit's being the last of its kind in the store where I worked and my never having requested a big discount before, my boss refused to give me any extra % off and I couldn't afford the thing. I was so annoyed; it had been too long for Monica Keena but looked most excellent on me since I have a good six inches on ole Monica). BUT! BUT! It turned out that it was money well un-spent: while your average hip kid on the street did look much more put-together and sharp than your average American shlub, I found soon that their getups were awfully cookie-cutter. Skinny jeans--REALLY skinny--, big hi-tops, raggy tops...eh, too unremarkable to remember more details. The less sharp ladies were often decked out in painfully bright colors (my boyfriend remarked on the incredible frequency of hot pink), the ever-horrifying tracksuits, Hot-Topic-esque accessories and loads of makeup. The guys fared a bit better--the cool ones in their slim jeans and scarves are pretty decent--but the chavs are just as unfortunate as their big-shorts-&-caps-wearing allies over here. Then there were your most forgettable folk, those many passersby who seemed to have zero understanding of their own body shapes and what might be flattering. Or NOT. God, so many too-tight tops and ugly capri pants. Ughhhh. Oh right, before I forget, the one big trend I noticed was those raggedy fringed Arabic-y neck scarves. EVERYone and his kid sister wore them. My boss came back a few months ago reporting that all the overseas hipsters were rocking the scarves, which apparently have by now hit New York. They have yet to really make waves in L.A., save for a few visionaries, but I do know they were pulled from my store for fear of being "too controversial."

PARIS: STYLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
What can I say? Every time I'm in France, I'm basically entranced every time I walk down the street. It seems as though everyone, from teensy kids in leather sandals to very old ladies, is gorgeous. It's not that everyone is literally shockingly physically attractive--though they're certainly far above average as a nation, lucky willow-framed jerks--but more that they all seem to naturally embody an easy, effortless grace and, well, chic. Seeing these flocks of girls in their slim-but-not-skinny jeans, sheer wrinkled tops, soft blazers, ballet flats (very few heels in sight), and Charlotte-Gainsbourg-like long flyaway hair made the carefully constructed, colored and laquered hipsters of London seem instantly paint-by-numbers. And the boys were all perfect in their slim slouchy trousers, tennis shoes, cardigans and jackets. But not in an artful way--no, just as if they were born knowing that corduroys go with twill and jeans go with cardigans, and shorts aren't even acceptable topics for consideration. Oh, and the old people! The most stylish, adorable old men and ladies. When they carry baguettes wrapped in paper, I can hardly stand it. Anyway, after all this, I couldn't help but pick up a wonderful Marni top (Italian designers are cheaper in Europe, plus it was sale season!) before I left.

I took this photo set in the Musee d'Orsay, to epitomize the difference between your average French girl, not trying to look cool, and your average British tourist girl, not (I hope) trying to look cool:

Myabe I should've just put those two pictures and left out the whole gabby description. You can see what I'm saying here.

So yes--while London is lovely, and I ate some terrific meals and saw some fantastic theatre (Gorky's "Philistines" was especially memorable), Paris is paradise, where everyone is beautiful without Vuitton or facepaint, and all the coffee is good, and the phone books have listings like these:

> r r <

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sad to say the "Brit" tourist girls look like Americans...

And could you link a picture of these "raggedy fringed Arabic-y neck scarves"? I'm curious to see what they look like!

12 July, 2007 05:44  

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