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.

De Grisogono Cheryl Cole Promise Ring launch party


Chery Cole @ her Promise Ring launch party

Where: Nobu, Park Lane
Joanne Black style: Azzaro dress, YSL heels, Sergio Rossi clutch and Stephen Webster earrings

As president, owner and founder of de Grisogono, Fawaz Gruosi certainly knows how to throw a party – as I discovered at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year. So, when the opportunity came up to appear at the launch of Cheryl Cole’s Promise collection – of beautiful rose gold and blackened silver rings to be worn on the little finger – I just had to take it.


Cheryl Cole and Fawaz Gruosi © Richard Young

With everyone from Louis Walsh and Diana Vickers to Kimberley Walsh and Nicola Roberts on the guest list, you could be forgiven for thinking you’d walked into an X Factor after-party. Of course, Cheryl was the star of the show, dazzling guests with her stunning, short, sequined nude and gold Elie  Saab dress, which complemented her petite frame and skin tone perfectly. But, one my of personal highlights was chatting to the X Factor’s Irish judge.  I reminded Louis that we once judged a Miss Ireland competition together and he asked whether I’d ever considered singing! Let’s just say, I’ll don’t think you’ll be seeing me at next year’s auditions.

Sipping lychee and passion fruit martinis, I was able to soak up the rest of the style on show. Socialite Tamara Beckwith stepped out in a great dress with cream and black details on the front, which she wore with some very sexy tights. Girls Aloud’s Kimberley and Nicola both opted for fab short black dresses. But the stand out look of the night (after Cheryl) was Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine, who was wearing a short white crocheted vintage dress and looked every inch the rock star.

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.

Thanksgiving lunch

Where: The Palm Restaurant, London
Joanne Black Style: Sharon Wauchob blouse and jacket, Jitrois leather leggings worn with knee high Lazar cut-over-the-knee boots

Having lived in New York for 3 years, I find it hard now to get through November without Thanksgiving. So, when invited to a London lunch hosted by Arnaud and Carla Bamberger and Charles and Sydney Finch, I jumped at the chance to join the celebrations.

The Bambergers and the Finches certainly know how to attract a stylish crowd. Elettra Rossellini – the face of Lancome – wore a fab pair of green tights with a short LBD showing of her long legs, models Astrid Munoz looked great in a mustard top (the perfect colour for her skin tone), while English rose Saffron Aldridge kept it simple and stunning in a white shirt. Hostess Sydney stole the show, however, with an elegant grey textured wool Prada dress.

Given I will be basking on a beach in the sun when most people are tucking into Christmas lunch this year, a three course lunch with turkey and all the trimmings was a welcome sight. Whoever said beautiful people don’t eat, though, obviously hasn’t been to a Thanksgiving event. I have never seen pecan pie disappear so fast and plates look so spotless!

PFW Day one: Sharon Wauchob

Location: Musee de l’homme
Joanne Black Style: Acne skinny jeans, Marc Jacobs t-shirt, Martin Margiela jacket, Georgina Goodman Chelsea boots and a YSL bag
The collection: Everything about Sharon Wauchob’s collection was sharp, cool and edgy. Combining her signature layering technique with more handcrafted traditions such as lace making and crochet, Wauchob’s white, grey and black designs were as absorbing as ever. Metallic beaded shoulder pads, deconstructed jackets, statement dresses, drop-crotch pants and cool white jodhpur trousers – with a twist at the bottom – made this a show that was both bold and beautiful.
The wish list: My wish list always doubles in size after a Wauchob show. I don’t think Spring/Summer 2010 would be the same without her short black dress with a see-through middle, white ruffles silk dress, silk white top with padded shoulders, black dress with layered shoulder detail (fitted at the waist), and short bolero-style black silk jacket.
The style: Both French and Asian fashions were trying to capture the audience’s attention.