Paris Fashion Week A/W 2011


Joanne Black @ Maison Martin Margiela show


Chanel Show A/W 2011


Joanne Black & Magdalena Holman @ the Chanel show

Paris is a catwalk to which all are invited – but only the best-dressed are accepted. This city of chic is perfect if you want to shop, eat (two of my favourite hobbies) and experience the best in women’s fashion. By staying at the Hotel George V – not to mention dining at venues such as L’Avenue and Le Matignon thanks to the owner my good friend Gilbert Costes – I was well-placed to see it all.

Of course, no trip to Paris would be complete without a glimpse of the latest A/W fashion scene. Although the Galliano scandal cast a rather dark shadow over this year’s proceedings, the collections did not disappoint. Here are my highlights:

Show: Chanel
Joanne Black style: Sharon Wauchob trousers, Alexander Wang top, Proenza Schouler Jacket, Balmain boots, YSL bag, Chanel necklace, sunglasses and gloves

Chanel ready to wear will be seeing a lot of me this season. The collection was every bit as exciting as the sensational show opening – think volcanic rocks from a science fiction film and a Chanel logo that opened up like a drawbridge to reveal some rather stunning models.

Once the stage smoke had cleared, we were treated to a much younger themed collection without the usual pretty pastel shirts and jackets. In came the short bolero jackets, flat boots, kitten heels and even a backless black sparkly all-in-one evening number that would rival most gowns on the red carpet. Model Freja Beha Erichsen rocked the runway in a cool street chic look, with rolled up trousers and flat mountain climbing boots. It certainly wasn’t hard to pick out great pieces – it was just difficult to keep track of everyone with all these flat shoes! I nearly missed designer Karl Lagerfield because things were moving so fast.

Top spots include Vogue editor Emmanuelle Alt who was chatting to Kanye West (she wore Isabel Marant canvas boots, which I’d just bought the previous day). It was also good to see Alexa Chung and Lily Allen flying the Chanel flag.

Show: Celine
Joanne Black style: Celine dress jumper, Jitrois leggings, Prada boots and Chanel sunglasses

Automotive interiors and walnut dashboards provided the inspiration for Phoebe Philo’s A/W collection – and what a collection it is! This woman designs the way I like the dress. Philo knows how to make fitted boyish-themed clothes work and her trousers seem to slide on effortlessly.

The year’s warm autumn colours – browns, burgundy, creams, orange, mustard etc – have turned more than a few heads. Up in the front row I spotted the American Vogue team Grace Coddington, Tonne Goodman and Andre Leon Talley wrapped up in a LV blanket. Top photographers Mario Sorrenti and Patrick Demarchelier also made an appearance, reinforcing the appeal of this Brit star’s work.

With Celine in my life, I think my A/W wardrobe is pretty much sorted. I already have a wish list the length of my arm – including a blue, grey and burgundy sweatshirt, a jade green and black silk layered top and some fantastic black trousers. That’s if I have room after buying up the leather burgundy coat and doctor bag.

Show: Martin Margiela
Joanne Black style: Balmain trousers, Joseph top, Prada boots, YSL bag, Isabel Marant earrings and Chanel sunglasses

A bare industrial building behind the Palais de Tokyo made the perfect setting for Margiela’s latest collection. With a dark vibe and models walking down the runway at a pace that would rival a funeral march, it was hard to miss any of the show’s pieces – which were all based on the study of a dress.

It’s amazing what you can create when you start with a dress. A few well-placed cuts, openings and zips – not to mention a range of materials from heavy wool and felt padded fabrics to ponyskin and cashmere – has enabled this fashion house to add new meaning to an often simple piece of clothing. I have my sights set on a plum and red number and will definitely be adding a few of their accessories – including a large leather clutch – to my ever-expanding wardrobe.

PFW: Lanvin


Paula Laschera and Joanne Black


Lanvin Autumn/Winter 2011


Where: Espace Ephémère Paris

Joanne Black style: Jitrois leggings, Wolford jumper and Lanvin heels

When people talk about the Autumn/Winter collections, their minds are usually fixed on the latest LBD, the use of colour or masterful cuts on display. But when I think back to the fabulous Lanvin show – my last at Paris Fashion Week – I have to start by mentioning the runway. And what a runway it was! Any model that can navigate a Hollywood-style staircase while trying to look glamorous is to be admired.

It wasn’t just the runway that kept me entertained at this show. With chocolate lollipops and bubbly on tap, it was a treat just turning up. Then we have the collection itself, which unusually contained a lot of black. Gone were the candy colours of 2009 and in came models with black wigs, short dresses with edgy heels and fur-trimmed boots. Shoulders were often accentuated with oversized outfits, such as a khaki coat and double-breasted red coat. Alber Elbaz was in top form.

Strangely for a fan of all things black, I had my eye on a short hot burgundy number and a grey long sleeved sexy dress. I also could have easily left wrapped in one of the fab furs – especially a black and white piece that looked like it was going to take flight as was paraded along the runway.

With all eyes on the catwalk, it was hard to take in the crowd, but I did manage to spot Jade Jagger posing for the photographers in one of my Oscars dresses. Nice choice Jade.

PFW: Balmain


Joanne Black @ Balmain show


Golden piece by Balmain

Location: Le Grand Hotel Paris
Joanne Black style: black BCBG top, Zadig & Voltaire jeans and Ash boots

Designer Christophe Decarnin gave Paris Fashion Week the royal treatment with his combination of regal purples and glittering gold pieces – not to mention the ‘Prince’ soundtrack!

The Balmain A/W ready-to-wear collection had everything for the fun-loving party girl and Oscars attendee. If it wasn’t glittering with gold, it didn’t make it down the runway. With a gold leather dress – slashed to the navel and covered in beads and sequins – beautiful belts, and jackets, skin-tight pantsuits and spray-on leggings, there wasn’t an understated outfit in sight!

Funnily enough, it wasn’t so much the gold that caught my eye. I did quite fancy a pair of the sassy red leather trousers on show. I also loved Carine Roitfeld’s Balmain boots with gold buttons, which she displayed proudly from her front row seat. Carine’s both a Balmain fan and a trendsetter, so it looks like we’ll all be golden girls later this year.

PFW: Sharon Wauchob


Sharon Wauchob signature piece

Where: Les Beaux Arts de Paris
Joanne Black style: black Sharon Wauchob coat and top, Zadig & Voltaire jeans and Ash boots

You have to be a skilled designer to work with leather – especially when the leather in question is being draped on the body to form a stunning dress – and Sharon Wauchob is just that.

As a lover of black clothes, I knew that Wauchob’s collection would give me plenty of inspiration for my autumn/winter wardrobe. This season there was no room for strings, leather strips hanging down or shards of material – details which have long been associated with Wauchob’s style. But even with a more minimal approach, the distinctive mark of this Paris-based Irishwoman was still very much there – clothes were finely tailored and sexy, leather mini dresses were shredded and bomber jackets looked cooler than ever, with studs and indentations.

The stand-out piece was a beautiful chain mail dress that seemed to glide over the model’s body. For fans of all things daring, Wauchob always delivers.

Paris Fashion Week S/S 2010


Viktor & Rolf: A PFW SS10 Highlight

“Parisiennes” know a thing or two about fashion. So, as the last stop on a tour of the world’s cities of style, the French capital never fails to delight – both on and off the runway. With style spectators including Claudia Schiffer, Kate Moss and Miranda Kerr – who also did a surprise turn on the Balenciaga catwalk – Paris’ fashion scene had much to satisfy the seasoned fashionista and inspire the star-studded crowds looking to make Spring/Summer 2010 a season to remember. Here are a few of my Paris highlights…