Last week, I was waking up with mild panic symptoms in anticipation of spending the week at the couture in Paris. I have done it a hundred times before. There will be insanely gorgeous things to look at. But the anticipation of the warm embrace of the French fashion press with who get their couture wardrobes, coltish legs and highest heels out for a walk in the park was bringing me out in hives. There is a diary packed with events: shows to see, designers to meet, dinners to sparkle (?) at and NOTHING to wear. All week, I have been muttering it: 'NOTHING to wear' while making dinner, riding the bus, having breakfast, taking a shower.
So on Friday night, I took an hour and figured out the packing list like I'd figure out a story. Yes, readers, I shopped my own wardrobe. And you know what: I have loads to wear. So, today, I will get over myself.
OUTFIT FOR SUNDAY
Yesterday was Travel Day. I was on the eurostar but had to make a fashion dash from the train straight to the Dior HQ to meet designer Bill Gaytten and watch some final fittings before the show today. Thought my new swingy leather jacket from Acne over skinny Stella trousers and Chloe loafers would be perfect. And I stashed laptop and notebook in my favourite Marni bag. Hair up in a high pony tail, channelling Audrey.
OUTFIT FOR MONDAY
Today is the first day of shows, with Versace and Dior on the agenda so only one thing for it: I am rolling out the Roland Mouret. Mad for this skirt which hits about mid calf over my favourite MaxMara boots. Looks a bit country lady up in the city especially with the Chanel knitted jacket. But hopefully I'll erase any hint of country bumpkin with my studded Valentino clutch.
OUTFIT FOR TUESDAY
Tuesday is time for the Chanel, Armani and Givenchy shows. I know you'll be laughing at this one but it's actually one of my favourite outfits at the moment and has been much admired. I'm told it looks glamorous. But I admit it looks a bit weird, shot flat, like fashion roadkill, on my bathroom floor. But it's my purple chiffon Raoul dress (brilliant colour), my trusty MaxMara boots and my fluffy Tory Burch sheepskin gilet.
OUTFIT FOR TUESDAY EVENING
It's Brit night. Cocktail party for Mary Katrantzou to unveil her new project for Longchamp. I thought the Jonathan Saunders dress and Louboutin heels would be perfect. The Johnnie Saunders is so tight I can't sit down in any case so it's perfect for cocktails and the shoes are so high I can't walk so they are ideal for standing around. Finished off with Tom Binns necklace and Bottega Veneta minaudiere, I should be good to go.
OUTFIT FOR WEDNESDAY
Day three of the shows and it's Valentino who have cornered the market in modern ladylike looks. All it would take is one decent lottery win and I'd be shopping with them until they were sick of me. So in their honour, I'll do my best to smarten up and am bringing out the Escada silk print dress, Prada snakeskin belt, Sergio Rossi fishnet shoes and (my winter fashion trophy) my Tom Ford bag.
OUTFIT FOR WEDNESDAY NIGHT
Dinner with Karl Lagerfeld at the new KL headquarters. It's not as scary as it sounds. He may be a fashion god but he is also a great host. He does appreciate it when you make a bit of an effort. I know he loves a bit of leather and a bit of black and white so out comes the Acne shift dress, the Tory Burch feather gilet, the Manolo Blahnik shoes and some elbow length leather gloves. All finished off with my Christmas present to myself, a Prada necklace. That should do nicely.
OUTFIT FOR THURSDAY EVENING
To be honest, I'll spend most of Thursday in Juicy sweatpants in my hotel room editing pictures and writing my couture report and mainlining cafe au lait from room service. But in the evening, I have been invited by Claire Waight Keller to join her on the Chloe table at the gala dinner to raise money AIDS. She is now on her second season at Chloe. The first collection got rave reviews, but I haven't had a chance to catch up with her since she left Pringle. She is another of those superwomen who has managed to run major fashion houses, have three children, a successful marriage and still be a lovely person. I am really looking forward to seeing her again.
It's always a bit of a wardrobe conundrum when you go to dinner with a designer at a big do. Some days I think the chicest thing to do in a situation like this is to wear something by the designer who has invited you. On other days, I think that's maybe a bit naff. In any case it's not sensitive to wear something obviously designed by a competitor. It would just be rude to wear Balenciaga for example. But I don't own any Chloe and in any case Claire's first collection is only just arriving in the shops (and HMRC have claimed ALL my spare January cash.....actually all my spare 2012 cash). The fallback option is to wear something by one of the elite corps of designers' designers. This would generally be something vintage: original YSL or Halston, for example. I am going for the living designers' designer. No one ever looks askance if you turn up in a bit of Azzedine Alaia.
So, as you can see, I have loads to wear and I make a late new years resolution never to bore you with saying I have nothing to wear ever again.
by Paula Reed in Paris