Oh Hello Jo — United Nations of Jo(y)

Words:
Jo Rosenthal

Paris fashion is a breed of its own. I have never experienced more people being serious about clothing in my entire life. As a first time Paris Fashion Week goer, I did not know what to expect. I had heard horror stories of people being unkind to each other, but I entered the country with an open heart. I even brought my mom and her best friend Lori for when there was free time to shop and explore.

I originally wasn’t planning on attending many events, but it was hard not to because it feels as though Paris becomes the fashion capital of the world in September.
In Paris, people dress totally different than I’ve ever seen people dress in New York. It’s as if they are always on the go and need to look fabulous 24/7. During my two weeks there, I don’t think I saw anyone wearing leggings or gym clothes unless it was for fashion purposes.
It also seemed like every bar and restaurant was always filled after 9pm. I’m not sure if people eat dinner later over there, but they can definitely party. Being in France even made me want to take up smoking cigarettes.
Although I experienced being pushed and shoved and felt like nobody at the shows I attended, I felt more than lucky to be there because seeing them from photos is completely different than seeing them in person. I even got to play the game of ‘what celebrity is that?’ I found myself interested more and more in where someone came from then why they were at fashion week. Everyone had a different story. I found it hilarious how judgemental some people were and how others had the kindest, most genuine hearts and were just in Paris because they absolutely love what they do.
I experienced most of the city alone and saw a lot of it from a car. I made sure to always look out the window and wear comfortable shoes. I was a little discouraged by the fact that it seemed like other fashion gals there had their friend group and how I was constantly alone. If we are trying our hardest to make fashion an inclusive environment, why do I feel like I don’t have any close friends in the industry? Paris often left me feeling quite alone, but I was reminded by my mom and Lori how lucky I was to be there and at the end of the day I could go back to our AirBNB and hug them. Traveling with my closest person was more than an honor to me.
One of my funniest Paris moments I had was when I went to a BYREDO party and this man wearing full Louis Vuitton started talking to me. “Everyone at this party is so ugly,” he said. I thought it was so hilarious because maybe he had a little too much to drink but my only response was “maybe they aren’t so bad and you should get to know them first.” “I already know all of them and they are all ugly and boring.” And that was that encounter.
For me, Paris is one of those cities where you can find something new on every corner. Every showroom I attended was in a beautiful apartment or storefront and I was excited to be there every time. I noticed a lot of tailored designs, neons and 70’s vibes. It also made me feel a lot of pressure to save my money for a really nice purse.

“I felt inspired to want to work really hard to be on the level where I dress exactly as fabulous as I feel.”

While I also struggled with feeling like I fit in, I came to the realization that a lot of other people must feel this way. Since everyone is coming from everywhere, they must also feel a sense of homesickness or at least want to be liked by other people. Paris just moves so fast that it’s hard to gage what peoples’ intentions are. We all had one major thing in common though: our love for fashion and our want to put beauty into the world. 
Some favorite designers I saw were Gauchere (I literally want every piece I saw on the runway,) Rejina Pyo re-see, Janaisha, WOS, Yang Li, Molly Goddard re-see, Chopova Lowena and of course the finale, Louis Vuitton. While everything I saw I loved, I felt that those brands stood out for me because of their fine details, kind teams and this sort of sparkle that I can’t actually put into words. It felt like everyone had something to say and a different way to say it. 
While I wondered who could actually afford all of these beautiful things, I felt inspired to want to work really hard to be on the level where I dress exactly as fabulous as I feel. The main message I took away from being in Paris other than to never stop yourself from eating amazing pastries, was from a song that Sophie sang as the giant projection for Louis Vuitton played at their show. They said “it’s okay to cry.” If that isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.