Here goes my #True Story about, still pinching myself many months later trip, to Paris.
I simply just needed to go get some of the fresh Irish air into my lungs after being away for exactly four years – somehow that green grass has the ability to ground me – that immigrant heritage in my blood is ever so strong! But tickets via Paris were cheaper and the kids where stoked anout the idea of Disneyland, so that was a no brainer. Plus, mama is now all Laaniraani with the fashion stuff so Paris first and then off to my adopted – homeland – my chilled-out Ireland. Fate would have it that Paris Haute Couture fashion week is on the week we were going to be in Paris! Happy days, but off course, you can’t buy a ticket and it’s by invite only! So, I figure let me write to a couple of designers and say a prayer. Got a couple of sorta positive responses basically all saying they would have loved to have me, but you need to apply at least two months in advance, not the week before! Still, I was chaffed that Channel responded and welcomed me to the ready to wear show in January 2019. So why bother packing anything fancy, plus Big reminds me that those Paris hotel rooms are super tiny and there is now way we could lug many suitcases around Paris with two kids and public transport.
So off we go to Paris, with just one large suitcase and 2 pieces of hand luggage for all 4 of us for a month in Europe!! Apparently, I am not supposed to be buying anything – we will be travelling light, I’m told. Land in Paris, summer heat draining our souls, we make it to our apparthole (chuffed because it had a washing machine!) and Big is boasting that he made the best decision to ‘travel light’. I get into my well-deserved shower (after the water restrictions in Cape Town, 18-hour flight and scorching Paris summer) a happy mama when Big comes in screaming – you have been invited to 5 shows and one’s starting in the next hour! Omg, no way …. Yes, way and you’re going. I don’t have anything fancy to wear - its HAUTE COUTURE (My definition – super high fashion, Trendsetting and freaky expensive).
So, I pull out my skirt I made from fabric which cost less than a Euro and a good ole faith white collar “I am an accountant” button down blue shirt, grab my rug clutch and hit the street with wet hair. Now remember, we literally just arrived, my phone’s roaming is not working yet – Big orders an Uber using the WIFI at the hotel and packs me up promising that he and the kids will meet after the first show and then come along to the second show that evening. Paris shows are scattered all around the city which is fine if you have Wi-Fi/access to google maps and google translate if you don’t speak the lingo! Uber arrives, wonderful guy, charges my phone, offers me sweets, possibly compliments me on my outfit and points to the sign that he offers free Wi-Fi – amazing how well you can communicate without saying a word!
Right, according google maps we are getting close and my hair is nearly dry – see not so bad after all! Crap, traffic jam, well actually looks like the police have cordoned off the area – I spot loads of Haute Couture worthy fashionista around so I must be close – google maps says 500 metres away! Driver signals that I should walk or I won’t make it. How hard can it be right? Out the taxi I step and wave goodbye to that lovely driver and the much needed free WiFi. No worrie,s surely everyone knows the hotel I am heading to right? Ask a couple of people and they all looking at me clueless – no one seems to speak English and damn its bloody hot. Wasting time women, thinking cap on – find a fancy hotel – off I go into the Ritz and the doorman points me in the right directing - I run – in my heels and pinch myself this should have been filmed – definitely a Carrie Bradshaw moment – screw that it’s way better – its a Laaniraani moment. I pass one of the most imposing embodiment's of power monuments I have seen in the very heart of Paris - the Vendome, and wish I asked someone to take picture, but this will do!