My H&M fashion journal By our fashion director Chrisna de Bruyn
Memories last a lifetime, and that certainly is the case with GLAMOUR fashion director Chrisna de Bruyn, whose three days at Paris Fashion Week will never be forgotten.
Everyone has a dream, and mine has always been to experience Paris during fashion week. And yet, when my dream finally came true – thanks to an invitation to attend the H&M A/ W 16 Studio Collection show – my first reaction was panic. What am I going to wear? Fortunately, I soon remembered the fashion director code: black, black and any colour as long as it’s black. So I packed accordingly, being sure to include my trusty sneakers, chic ankle boots and a sturdy leather backpack.
One overnight flight later, I landed in Paris and was taken to my hotel: the beautiful Intercontinental Paris Le Grand. Adorned with red velvet couches, gold pillars and banks of marble, I was happy to call it home for the next three days.
Gorgeous as the hotel was, the fashion capital beckoned. I quickly freshened up, grabbed my Canon G5X camera from ORMS, Cape Town, and headed out. I hadn’t counted on how freezing it would be, so my first stop was H&M Paris for leggings, a ribbed polo neck, scarf and gloves. Snowproofed and ready to go, I spent the day wandering the streets of Rue de Rivoli and Boulevard Haussmann, which is lined with designer boutiques.
As the street lamps went on, it was time for me to return to my room where a scented bubble bath awaited, followed by a lovely night of Parisian dreaming.
This was the day for culture and people-watching in the city’s trendiest area, Le Marais. Two of my favourite stops were the Musée Picasso art gallery and the fashionable Charlotte café.
There was just enough time for me to get my hair braided in a charming and quaint salon before heading back to the hotel to change into a black silk shift dress and boots for the big night.
I was treated to a spectacular supper by our hostess AmeliaMay Woudstra, PR manager for H&M SA, at Le Grand Colbert, which has hosted the likes of models Lara Stone and Karlie Kloss, and featured in the film Something’s Gotta Give. They served the perfect winter meal: veal stew with a great red wine.
After supper, it was time to join the 600 guests for the H&M A/ W16 Studio Collection show at the Bourse de commerce, a magnificent domed building
used as a chamber of commerce.
Even the most minute of details were perfection, and you could feel the anticipation in the air as supermodels Freja Beha Erichsen, Amber Valletta and Jourdan Dunn marched out to a live choir singing a song created by Nicolas Godin of the band Air.
Of course, the main attraction was the stunning clothes, which included sexy lace slip dresses, wide-legged trousers, pinstriped suits, long silk scarves, doublebreasted coats and my personal favourite, a cobalt blue, velvet and gold-detailed dress.
After the runway show, the collection was celebrated with champagne, canapés and socialising with an A-list crowd that included Ciara, Emma Roberts, Kate Mara and legendary photographer Ellen von Unwerth. What an honour to meet one of my heros!
Soon it was time to head home and curl up in my warm bed.
After seeing the clothes on the runway, today I would be allowed to get up close and personal with the collection. One feather-light croissant later, I was en route to the splendid Westin hotel where H&M had invited the press to see the garments properly and to meet members of the design team, including creative advisor Ann-sofie Johansson.
“This collection is all about the strength and beauty of women, and how we express that power through our style,” explains Ann-sofie. “We were inspired by our Swedish heritage and handicraft, and those whimsical folkloric elements combine beautifully with powerful tailoring. Bold details like Argentinian gaucho hats and fauxsnakeskin boots give added drama.”
If I loved the collection during the show, I loved it even more on the rails, where I could take in details like the silver chain embellishments on dresses, coats and boots, and the intricate embroidery on blouses.
After a wonderful experience, it was time for my au revoir – a fantastically sweet one at the pâtisserie Angelina. With rich hot chocolate and dietdefying pastries, it was the perfect end to my H&M Paris adventure.
The legendary Palais Garnier opera house, with its gilded statues and opulent interior, is one of my favourite buildings in Paris.
Home away from home: my Napoleon Iii-style bedroom. Walking shoes on!
Leading elements from the show: longsleeved dresses, tailored cuts, floorskimming hems, pinstriped suits and luxe velvet.
The location for the H&M A/W16 Studio Collection show: the Bourse de commerce.
H&M SA PR manager Amelia-may Woudstra outside Le Grand Colbert.
What an after-party! With fashion photographer Ellen von Unwerth (above) and Ciara (right).
Key looks from the collection included double-breasted coats, wide-legged trousers, tailored suits, soft white shirts, vintage-feel maxidresses, sensational red faux snakeskin and prints ranging from masculine stripes to feminine florals.
I captured my time in Paris with the Canon 5GX, sponsored by ORMS, Cape Town. This compact camera may look dainty, but it’s packed with power, delivering one high-quality shot after the other, even when it’s on an automatic setting. My favourite features: the eyelevel display, which allows for precise shooting, the auto focus, for when my hands were shivering in the cold, and the selfie screen, because it’s so easy to use. It can shoot videos, too! For more information about the camera and ORMS, head to ormsdirect.co.za.