The Changing World

Years ago, Americans in Paris were spotted instantly owing to their casual attire of blue jeans and sneakers. In Paris, skirts and dresses were de rigueur, heels clicked on the pavement, and sneakers were non-existant. Grand dames, coifed and dressed in finely tailored clothes were walking their neatly groomed pooches on grand boulevards. Young women were strolling around in heels sporting the latest fashions.
Today, I was about the only one around wearing a skirt.
We are staying on the Right Bank, a block from Rue de Faubourg Sainte-Honore, the toniest shopping street in Paris, and no grand dames nor fashionable girls are seen anywhere. The young on the street are dressed in jeans and sneakers and the older are dowdy. Did the wealthy move out? Are they hiding? Who shops in the designer stores we seem to encounter on every corner? Is Paris no longer the fashion capital of the world? What’s going on????
In the restaurant last night and tonight every woman was in jeans or casual pants and simple tops. That is how they were dressed in the provinces, but in Paris???
Where are the fashion-forwards? Where are the champions of the sartorial arts? Women are more dressed up in New York today than here. I feel funny wearing sneakers in New York, I’d never wear them to a restaurant on a Friday or Saturday night there, but here, I felt weird not wearing sneakers! I felt…provincial, like I don’t know how to dress appropriately for the occasion.
In New York, there was a Carrie Bradshaw awakening, here – a casual revolution took place. Overly casual!
I noticed this trend in Milan last September. Women were dressed very casually. Most wore jeans, sneakers, white shirts, and black cardigans, but they were still elegant. Here, I don’t see any elegant people, practically none!
I am grieving for the lost art of fashion, of dressing elegantly, of dressing wackily, dressing artsy!
We spend half of the day shopping, mostly at the Galleries Lafayette, buying nothing.
The store is as gorgeous as ever and the merchandise is beautiful, but, there is nothing original here anymore, you can buy all these brands and all these designers in New York for the same price. Actually no, they have sales in New York, but not here. The whole joie de shopping has gone out of Paris shopping. How sad! Even sadder, that joie of wearing is not here any longer either!
The only outstanding store is still the venerable Colette. The people who run it are artistic geniuses! Their choice of merchandise, the way they put the outfits together and display them on headless mannequins are simply ingenious, a feast to the fashion addict’s eyes!
Oh, also, women’s hair is a mess, no cool haircuts, no groomed coiffures, no fun jewelry – there is nothing interesting on the streets, in the stores, and in the restaurants – my fashionista’s heart is bleeding 😦

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