How to sneak into the fashion show without invitation – Paris Fashion Week Diary
Paris Fashion Shows’ Exclusivity
Fashion week – or month, if you consider New York, Milan, London and Paris combined together – is the biggest fashion celebration, and invitations to designers’ fashion shows seem to be the most sought-after style accessory.
Access is given to stars, important influencers, valuable clients and buyers only; no wonder the mortals are left hopeless and can participate in those events only via internet streaming of what happens on catwalks.
Well, it seems ignorance is the best strategy to break in, I suppose!
Going to Paris
I’ve planned a trip to Paris few months before for absolutely other reason. I bought tickets to Folies Bergère to see the newly launched show “Fashion Freak Show” based on life and career of Jean-Paul Gaultier, with designers’ marvelous costumes. And then I realized that it happens during Paris Fashion Week Spring-Summer 2019 (I know, it’s not a surprise that major fashion-related show premieres during major fashion event, but I was blank lol), so thought of taking advantage of it.
Along with Ewa Szabatin, who was my partner in crime, we started asking and searching for opportunities to get in some shows.
One sad thing that we’ve learned was: don’t count on local celebrities and fashion people. They were like: “Oh, I am going. But it’s hard to get the invite”, with that sarcastic smile. I don’t know if it applies to all influencers, but Polish aren’t too helpful, as if giving an advice would jeopardize their position… Most of enquiries were ignored so we started out our own research instead.
First we checked the oficial website of Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode to see if there are any opportunities to get involved. Few emails later we’ve figured out there won’t be granted with any accreditation. And even if we were – it wouldn’t help us entering the shows, so we just started bombing designers and brands with inquires. With no effect either. But still we weren’t hopeless – we came with few ideas and put it to the test.
So below you’ll find few tricks how to see major fashion shows LIVE
1. Master googling skills
Knowing the rough schedule of shows and starting times I started checking designer by designer and brand by brand – some of them stick to particular venue year after year, that’s how I figured out that Altuzarra after moving from NYC to Paris sticks to Hôtel Potocki in 8mme Arr. Bingo! That knowledge let us easily find shows of MiuMiu, Thom Browne, Chanel and more!
Luckily I found a press note about Sonia Rykiel celebration that was going to be held the same evening. We arrived in Paris right in time to the big event honouring the late designer with the official bash and naming the street after her. The article was saying that the fashion house decided to hand out 200 invitations to non-celebrities (it definitelly applies to me) at the flagship boutique. So – without too much thinking – we jumped in a cab and arrived in Saint Germain.
The store is fabulous itself – worth a visit even if you can’t afford anything. Sonia Rykiel was an icon of the movement in ’68, so the boutique reflects her personality. We were lucky since kind Eric gave us a tour and shared the story behind 2-stories high book shelves. And during this nice chat he granted us two real invitations to the event! It was more than cool!
3. Get venue list
This year it was hard! Previously locations of most show were published on page fhcm.paris page, but this year – almost nothing! Where we should go?
As said above – “friends” didn’t want to help. We googled where would take place the next show and decided to give it a try. Luckily there were some folks – both wanna-be-attendees and street style photographers – who kindly shared their schedules!
So it turns out it’s always good to ask, especially strangers 😉
4. Dress properly
I knew from my previous trips to fashion capitals that it pays to dress like an editor or bloger. Give free rein to your imagination to be noticed by the show organizers – there’s no such thing as being “over dressed”! It not only lets you get noticed by street style photographers, but also – sometimes – opens the actual doors to fashionable events.
5. Act like you own the place
At the Poiret show it was actually very funny. We arrived at le Grand Palais a little earlier to catch the attention of streetstyle photographers. There were two queues – one for invited guests, another for mortals. So we took our place in the right one waiting for our chance to sneak in. Luckily there was enough space inside and they’ve let us in. But because there was quite a rush inside I asked a guy of the organizing team where we should go. And the way I looked and the tone of my voice suggested him I was someone important I guess, because unlike other on-celebs we received seats among invited attendees! That was so exciting to watch the show comfortably!
6. Be alert
Sometimes it’s good to be a little… creative 😉 Going to Agnes b. show we were counting on that special line for fans without invitation, promising we would take our place as soon as we get there. Unfortunatelly there were two plaques: one for invited, another for “friends and family” WITH invitation. Hmmmm, what to do? Are we friends with Agnes b.? Definitelly! Every time I’m in France I go to designer’s cafe and boutique for her classic and casual collections of French girl basics. So that little cheating let us watch awesome concert before the actual show, and to see beautiful collection for Spring/Summer 2019!
And here for you some of the snaps I took during Paris Fashion Week