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Fashion Week Essentials to Satisfy Even the Fad-Follower’s Heart

Itoi Kuriyama

Ginza Six Editors Vol.10 (Women' s Fashion)

From the end of September to the beginning of October, I was in Paris covering Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2018.

The original purpose of this twice-annual event I very much look forward to was showcasing the latest collections from a range of fashion brands. But for a fashion nerd like me, and others like me who come to Paris from all over the world, it’s a festival for dressing up like no other. I personally went bold and tried pitting pin heels against the city’s rough cobblestone streets. But even before I’d made it through a half day, my legs were stiff and sore. I took reckless breaks and even failed to make it around to some of the key exhibitions. I’m keenly aware high heels put unusual stresses on the human frame, and I don’t usually go for that much of a feminine look, but some styles just don’t work without the finishing touch of high heels. I wonder if there’s anything like pin heels made for people like me, who might wear them at the spur of the moment.

In desperate need for a comfy pair of high heels, I come to the second floor and to Manolo Blahnik.

Inside the store, designed on a Japanese theme, are rows and rows of high heels. It’s quite the sight. This is the shoe brand of fashion designer Manolo Blahnik, whose career spans more than 45 years. Without question, he’s exhaustively researched women’s feet. So, full of expectations and with a certain trepidation, I asked the sales clerk if they perhaps carried pin heels for beginners. I was recommended the BB Pumps—the “BB” for Brigitte Bardot. I’m told the simple design makes them popular for office wear. Despite my lack of experience in wearing high heels, I skipped right over the 5 cm variety and went for the 9 cm model. To my astonishment, they’re really stable. The wood form apparently centers your heel and stabilizes your center of gravity. Even the 10.5 cm model, the brand’s highest, felt like they’d work for me.

I also tried those famous and beautiful, jewel-buckled satin shoes that won the heart of “Sex and the City” protagonist, Carrie Bradshaw: Hangisi pumps.

The effect of such luxurious pumps over the cheap, floral tights I picked up in Berlin was a minor success. The extraordinary comfort while I’m wearing them left me speechless.

I feel I now have a handle on the difficult-to-master pin heel pumps, a pleasing sensation. The perfect size can be different with different forms and heel heights, which in turn change with the style. All of this means finding the right size takes a watchful eye and some trial and error. Definitely take your time when trying them on.

Paris Fashion Week is held in March and October. While the weather’s not exactly frigid during these months—you wouldn’t need a fur coat—it’s not not cold, either. I never know what to do about outerwear. Trench coats and stand collar coats are a convenient compromise for seasons like this, so I head to MACKINTOSH on the third floor, which features an ample selection of both.

The MACKINTOSH store here is as spacious as any in the city.

The highly waterproof rubberized coat that symbolizes the brand presents a firm, three-dimensional silhouette. The simple design has an unmistakeable presence. It’s just perfect for those somewhat chilly days.

No one can second-guess choosing the standard, of course, but for something worn at a festival of fashion, I find myself looking for something a little more lavish. As a confessed fad-follower, I bit at the collaboration with Vetements, a fashion collective that includes Demna Gvasalia, currently at peak popularity, who also serves as artistic director for Balenciaga, and the MACKINTOSH 001 line, spearheaded by up-and-coming London designer Kiko Kostadinov. Self-absorbed in anticipation, I immediately tried on the former.

This type is also rubberized for full functionality. It’s oversized, with relaxed shoulders. It feels great. “It really does look great on me, doesn’t it?” I exclaim to the assistant store manager taking the time to show it to me—which, of course, forces him to agree. I consider trying a size smaller… or perhaps just go for the extreme, with the oversized version? I can’t decide and put the matter on hold. Lastly, I visit VULCANIZE London on the fourth floor.

When I go to Fashion Week, I end up taking a ton of clothes. Since my much-adored and trusty 30-inch Globe-Trotter suitcase just isn’t big enough now, I wanted to try the max-size 33-incher.

I try out a sample and don’t get the sense necessarily that it would be too big for a woman like me. With a really thorough look-over in mind, I wheel it around the store… and, as I’m doing so, the Smythson area catches my eye.

Smythson is a purveyor to the British Royal Family, and come to think of it, an editor sitting next to me at a show had one of their Runway Notes notebooks. When you open it, the left-hand page features sections for “City,” “Season,” “Show,” and “Comments”; the page is ruled. The page on the right, the opposite side, is blank, making it perhaps the ideal space for fashion sketches. I always have my iPhone to capture any look that interests me. But this awesome leather-covered notebook… might it not encourage a more thorough fashion note-taking engagement with these events?!? I find myself daydreaming. Incidentally, I found a notebook today called “Travels and Experiences.”

This one also has sections for noting down dates and places; it looks very handy. Of course, you could just write the headings yourself in any old notebook, but when the design is so strikingly elegant and just right and the notebook comes with special sections already there, it adds that much more to the appeal. And if it’s a bit expensive, you’ll probably take greater care with getting the words you put down just right. I find that’s true of fashion, too; you tend to tense up a bit when dressed up and loosen up some in more casual clothes. Starting with form itself is not a bad thing.

Which means, too, that just going to GINZA SIX reminds me how ready I feel already for the next Fashion Week. Even though this one’s just ended, even though the work to be done to put into words the sights and sounds is just beginning, I’m already restless. My excitement and anticipation for the season to come keep me loyal company.

Text: Itoi Kuriyama, Photo: Kohey Kanno, Edi: Yuka Okada

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Itoi Kuriyama

Born in 1976. Began freelance career after working in public relations at Comme des Garçons. Writes primarily for fashion magazines, including GINZA, VOGUE JAPAN, SPUR, and FIGARO japon. In a past life, Ms. Kuriyama interpreted fashion at graduate school through the lens of philosophy and sociology.
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