Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Paris, J'e taime: Photoshoot with Parisian Beauty, Foodgasms and Eiffel Tower Adoration

On my flight to Paris (via Zurich) from JFK airport with Swiss Air. A very strange (but admittedly handsome) Russian man, claiming to 'own all of Europe', sat next to me. He was curious; asked many personal questions and it became apparent he was probably someone I should reserve my usual disdain for, ex military and involved in some kind of shady business practices. He joked within the first 30 minutes that we should get married and then proceeded to propose. It was all very bizarre, inviting to join him onto St Petersburg to meet his family. All the while, I wore my grandmother's engagement ring, (on purpose) for such a nuisance to arise in transit. Shortly, after he fussed finally noticed the ring luminous in all it's vintage diamond glory at which point went to sit with his friend a few rows down. The next 10 hours were enjoyed in sweet silence. But not before said Businessman rushed to carry all my luggage to next flight, Paris! *smile*

(Want a little less travel babble and more piccies? scroll down to skip the travel memoir etc & see photoshoot now!) 

Paris, Je t'aime

Paris can mean many things to different people. A fantasy place always loved to visit in my dreams of faraway lands and through watching favourite films, TV shows, reading books, editorials and fashion shows. Paris IS a place of mystery and dreaming. The birth of many an artist and fashion designer that have changed the face of fashion (and my world!) forever. As picturesque as it is beautiful, reality plays close to hype.

The people have a curious haughtiness about them you might not have been expecting, but also an arrogant charm that makes me smile with delight. The food is near best in the world - always of highest restaurant standard even when dining at a smaller scale cafe or deli venue. I still reminisce a perfect lunch banquet enjoyed over one rainy (near blizzard) afternoon, for the price of $18 euro. Roughly about $24 Australian dollars. It was heaven, 3 courses of eating alone with my new favourite companion - French cuisine. Of course the meal was not complete without first being ridiculed by the questionably charismatic waiter for eating solo and making it such a hassle, to seat only...1. This dance became clear that it was how French men like to communicate. They either soothe you in oozing compliments, to excess or insult as a way to continue the dialog. Realising this early on, didn't want to participate in either banter so it was a slight annoyance getting the waiter to go away, so could then enjoy my 'sexy single world traveller' moment in the solitude it truly deserved. I can't remember everything ordered, onion soup, coq au vin and for desert - predictably fav white chocolate passionfruit brûlée with red. Okay, so I sort of remembered....every bite. Wouldn't you?! ;)

One afternoon on way home from Le Galeries Lafayette, got lost trying to find way back to hotel. iPhone battery had died, which thanks to Google Maps is my only navigation method abroad, and feeling especially sad because it just started to rain. My baby aka Canon 5DMKIII camera was getting wet, for some reason no taxi would stop. You have to formally book if want to be assisted - which means no phone = no taxi. A world away from hailing cabs in the streets of New York that became second nature. There's all these hidden rules in Paris you don't realise. As embarrassing as it sounds, I was near tears realising the absolute inconvenience of my situation. Before one salty geographically challenged teardrop had even departed my cheek, an old lady approached her dark emerald velvet glove was reaching for my hand. As I looked up to see, was completely blown away by the beauty of this stranger. Dressed in head-to-toe Chanel with Hermes bag.

A kindness radiated through her ocean coloured eyes that revealed not age, but wisdom. This stylish woman reminded me of my own grandmother, also a lover of Paris and fashion that had passed long ago. She spoke in French, which my 6th grade lessons from way back when barely understood. Upon handing over my hotel business card - the next thing I know, she is leading me by hand, walking back to the hotel. Which turns out, only 10 mins away.

I tried rather unsuccessfully to offer paying for a taxi back to where we first met, but she politely refused. Kissed on both cheeks and what can only assume was well wishes followed by lengthy advice on the perils of travelling alone? *smile* (my basic French stopped translating after Passez de bonnes vacances "have a nice vacation!"). She smiled and disappeared into the streets of Opéra, like an elegant cat glistening in the night against twilight. I will never forget that lovely random act of kindness. Sometimes, people can be angels, when you least expect and just when you need them. Thank you :)

The next day, decided to venture out again, this time to the birthplace of my idol, Coco Chanel's atelier. It was something of an experience walking to meet my favourite designers store. It can be likened to that of a first date, butterflies circulated in stomach, changed outfit about a million times before finally deciding on classic black lace with white, pearls, and red lips. Parisian chic. My hands grew clammy the closer I got to Chanel. Upon arriving, felt truly overwhelmed by the beauty that generously surrounded my eyes at every viewpoint. Not just the clothing that whoever should wear would feel full of new life and happy, the sales girls - model-esque looking and unapproachable, the curious customers equally interesting and high class, or decor that literally took my breath away. All the while, someone approached me speaking in French. The sales girl interrupted, along with some serious hand signals. I ask, "Excuse me miss, what did that couple just say to me?" "Pay no attention, Mademoiselle. They wanted directions and thought you were a Parisian. Clearly, you are not".
Haha funny, when a French girl is rude to me, I like it. If someone is rude in NYC, I'm offended. Fashion logic?! Mistaken for a Parisian, in CHANEL... Are you freaken kidding me?! Pretty sure that made my entire day.... Week, month, year. Well, you get the idea ;)

Photoshoot et Eiffel Tour

Photoshoot with Vanessa was confirmed very late the night before. It was lovely meeting this tall, elegant young woman, who like all French models - has no problem working hard and never complains that it's actually freezing outside, needs minimal direction (as she's already mastered the art of muse!) and stops traffic at every turn. *definite tick! (and this is why I love working with Parisian models the mostest) The French allure of such a muse is both mysterious and highly intriguing. We began shooting from my hotel window in Opéra, and in the surrounding streets before making it to the larger than life Eiffel Tower. Which in itself is an amazing sight. Literally took my breath away. Never seen something on that scale before. Naturally, I chickened out of the elevator ride to the top. Queuing in lines for more than 15 minutes and heights; soo not my bag.

We had about an hour and half together to make photo history. I am so pleased to share these photos with you all. Was worried we wouldn't have enough time to get to know each other to build a comfortable working rapport but I was wrong, it was ample time and love every single photo. Yes, seriously. LOVE.

Merci beaucoup to Vanessa Hulot for being such a lovely humble and professional model to work with. If you'd like to see more click click for her portfolio & booking info. Highly recommend!

Paris was better than anything I expected. If you haven't visited already, you simply must. What fashion girl could go without seeing and call herself a true fashionista?! ;) Already planning next trip! (fashion week, anyone?)

Allura xo


  1. Gorgeous photos, in love with the bustier in the last pic!


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