New and NotableSeptember 1, 2008 By: Marianne Dougherty, Kelley Donahue, Lotus Abrams, Nicole Palmieri, Lori Morris, Jan Arnold American Salon
CND's fearless fashionista Jan Arnold kept a diary for us when she finally made it to Paris for fashion week.
I've been to New York City during fashion week for years, and what I've noticed is that the city seems fairly oblivious to the fact that fashion week is even in town. In Paris it's the complete opposite. This is a city in love with beauty, fashion, women, color, food and art. Fashion actually transcends all other matters—at least for one week each season.
My first morning in Paris, I received my International Herald Tribune in a glossy Dior-sponsored cover with a stunning picture of the most delectable platform stiletto on it. Each day the paper arrived with a different cover celebrating some gorgeous treat to be enjoyed that week. Inside, the front-page news was always about fashion—not the commercial side of fashion, but the art form itself.
I attended my first show at the Louvre, home to the Mona Lisa and arguably the most important museum in the world, and I wanted to look just right. Ultimately I chose a short, royal blue Comme des Garcons dress, tights in the same color, insanely high Pierre Hardy platforms, a cropped motorcycle jacket and my favorite oversized Karen Walker sunglasses. What I noticed first were the famous people sitting in the front row—Vogue Editor in Chief Anna Wintour, Harper's Bazaar Editor in Chief Glenda Bailey and Ken Downing of Neiman Marcus. Still, I couldn't help but stare at the long-legged, super-slim, decked-out French socialites in Fendi fur, YSL shoes, Cartier diamonds, perfect red manicures and slightly dirty, disheveled hair. What is it about the French? No other culture seems to have the same innate sense of style, which seems predicated upon an ability to look perfectly appointed, yet also as if you made absolutely no effort at all.
Jan Arnold at the Eiffel Tower in Jean Paul Gaultier
Backstage at Elie Saab with CND's ace team of nail techs, led by Amanda Fontanarrosa, I was amazed at the beautiful and spacious area dedicated to show prep. There were few, if any, TV cameras and no body crush of journalists like in New York. It was just a chosen few hairstylists, makeup artists and nail technicians. Mr. Saab strolled around, thanking his team and giving kisses to his models. It was all so elegant and regal.
My three favorite shows were Louis Vuitton, Giambattista Valli and Antonio Berardi. Louis Vuitton was all business, from the lighting and staging to the celebrities and business tycoons in attendance, all perfectly tanned, pressed, slimmed and prepped. At Giambattista Valli, the theme was Little Red Riding Hood, and the execution was like nothing I'd ever seen. The story started innocently enough; all the clothing was beige and white. In the forest the mood turned dark and gruesome; during this segment all the clothing was black. Finally, in a spin on the traditional fairy tale, Little Red Riding Hood ate the wolf. Not only were the models wearing red, but their lips became progressively blood-stained. Lastly, there were the dark and commanding warrior women ready for attack at Antonio Berardi. Still, the highlight of my trip was the John Galliano show on my last night in Paris.
As I sat on the airplane headed home to Southern California, where OP and Quicksilver still rule, I had a real understanding of the roots of style and felt grateful and humbled that CND had been invited to this revered birthplace of fashion and art to embellish the nails. I know that I've been saying that nails are the true fashion accessory for years, but for the first time, I knew it to be true. —JAN ARNOLD