FASHION / Style Notes

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The Independent Culture
EVERY season, British fashion students head for Paris to see the shows without a single ticket. And see them they must. 'It's part of our degree. We have to get into at least six to qualify,' wailed Adam Carol from Harrow's Fashion BA course as he was apprehended, yet again, by security guards.

But where there's a will, there's a score of ways - to get past the first line of guards and into the Cour Carre du Louvre; to get past the second line, and into the show tent; to get past the third line into the seating area, to take a seat, stay in it for the duration and then to get back stage after the show is over.

Tall girls pretend they are models. Small girls try flirting. One particularly tall hunchbacked man was revealed to be someone with someone else on his shoulders. A brown paper bag held sky high and accompanied by shouts of 'I have a Galliano ticket' didn't work; but careful planning with a piece of paper trodden into the mud, burnt around the edges then lettered up, got the holder right into the third row. Meanwhile Adam Carol and his fellow student Leo Dinwiddle had attempted to clamber across a 40-foot moat and had set off alarms around the Louvre.

One student from Central St Martin's College of Art had had devised an imaginary retail outlet in Copenhagen, 'on a par with Browns in London', then faxed designers and got his name logged on to the official list. Lo and behold, he found a stack of tickets waiting for him. But it isn't only students who are getting up to tricks. Every wise fashion reporter travels with stickers and a pen to upgrade standing tickets. No one tricked their way into Chloe, however. Instead of tickets there were phone-card-style entry cards which had to be punched into a ticket machine at the first barrier, so that they could not be handed back through the crowd and re-used. If this goes on, the blaggers, always the most enthusiastic people in the audience at a fashion show, are threatened with extinction.

Written by Lucy Ryder Richardson, who is studying for an MA at Central St Martin's College of Art.

AS IF DESIGNING a collection that was the toast of Paris wasn't enough, John Galliano and his team are about to embark on the costumes for a ballet in Paris next March. Working with the costumiers for the Paris Opera Ballet, he will design 100 period costumes in the style of Dangerous Liaisons. As Galliano said of his show, 'Oh, the drama of it'.

FRENCH fashion heavyweights Pierre Berge and Bernard Arnault are about to slug it out in a battle over champagne. Arnault, the astute head of luxury goods conglomerate LVMH - its portfolio includes Moet-Chandon, France's largest champagne company - is upset about the name of the new Yves Saint Laurent fragrance, Champagne. YSL chief Berge thinks he had Arnault's tacit agreement to go ahead with the launch. LVMH believes it is a flagrant hijacking of the champagne grower's reputation. In fact, LVMH warned Berge in June 1992 that they would start legal proceedings if the scent was launched without a change of name.

Of course, this feud could be just one more case of the champagne producers getting jumpy at an infringement of their carefully guarded identity. Cynical Parisians, however, think it might in addition have something to do with the fact that LVMH also owns Christian Lacroix, Givenchy and Christian Dior, rivals for YSL's scented crown.

ROBERT ALTMAN, the film director, has been popping up at every show researching his 10-years-in-the-making movie Pret-a-Porter, which he promises will start filming next year. Julia Roberts will play a dizzy fashion reporter and the statuesque Sigourney Weaver, spotted in Paris with Altman this week, is keen to take part. Fashion folk are expected to play themselves, but if Sigourney would like to play a fashion editor, the statuesque incumbent at The Independent on Sunday will happily stand aside.

NELSON MANDELA is taking time out from building a nation to edit the Christmas edition of French Vogue. The Nobel Peace Prize-winner's assistants include Nadine Gordimer and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. His illustrious predecessors as guest editor have usually been artists of one sort or another - Chagall, Dali, Hockney, Marlene Dietrich, Mikhail Baryshnikov, and Martin Scorsese, for example. Last year, in a move away from tradition, the Dalai Lama did the job.

THE TERM mini-model takes on a whole new meaning on Tuesday with a Hallowe'en fashion show in aid of the Leonora Children's Cancer Fund. The clothes horses will all be the children of designers and celebrities with names to match. Amongst others, Django and Sam Hurricane, sons of Siobhan Fahey and Dave Stewart, will be strutting down the catwalk alongside John Richmond's son Harley D, Levi, daughter of Paul Young, and Naomi Campbell's seven-year-old brother, Pierre. Designers giving outfits for the show include Vivienne Westwood, Paul Smith, Giorgio Armani, John Richmond and Ghost. After it, the clothes will be auctioned for the charity. The event runs from 3pm to 5.30pm at Sticky Fingers Restaurant, 1a Phillimore Gardens, London W8. Tickets are pounds 15, which includes afternoon tea, face painters and clowns. For information and booking, ring 071-352 5628.

(Photograph omitted)

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