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Fashion week in Paris
2007

All that happens in the haute couture collections of Autumn/Winter 2008 presented this summer.
At the Orangery of Versailles, Dior shows scenes of masters and courtesans from the court of Louis XIV. In the Palais du Tokyo, Christian Lacroix mixes folklore, painting and theatre in a cocktail of Art Nouveau. As for Jean Paul Gaultier, a mixture of the lustre of Indian Courts with the quirks of scottish dress.
With each designer the fashion machine runs smoothly.
It all takes place in four stages. At the begining there is calm and the models are made up. The better known ones arrive late, some accompanied by a mother or an agent while the unknown ones sit quietly; there is an established heirarchy among them. Most of them sit with studied expressions and fixed poses for the camera. Some are mean, some are kind. Next comes the hair.
Then the fashion magazine photographers arrive from the previous show with their cases and assistances. They comment on the previous evening’s party with the models.
For the dressing, the pressure mounts. At this point a photographer can be spurned if his particular publication does not have a good connection with fashion houses.
The models, by now, are ready. There seems to be an unwritten rule of abstentaion among the photographers as few of them (90% are male) photograph this build up.
It is the culminating moment and the last finishing touches. The desiger, like orchestra conductor, scrutinises and directs his works of art. Shouts and music signal the off. The models, in single file, hold onto a rope crossing the room. It reminded me of Russian parachutists who wait to throw themselves into the emptiness of Cetchnya, ‘DovaÏ!’ being replaced by ‘go!’.
A return and another departure. The models run in to change dresses. A machine of hands, brushes and hairspray descends upon them for two minutes inorder to create new idols who leave for another tour of the catwalk.
Everyone accompanies the designer onto the runway. Applause and then its time for the next show.

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