Fashion week in Paris is great and all, with the flashing lights, majestic Parisian mansions, and Anna Wintour front row. But, this summer, I discovered something even better. I got an inside look at what goes on the remaining 345 days a year when fashion week isn't in action with Yves Saint Laurent.
Like you might have guessed, any renowned high fashion house isn't all high heels and glitter year round. Yet, somehow, in my four months working as an intern, I discovered something even more magical than models and runways. I got an inside look at a whole universe I didn't know existed.
On a day to day basis, my job mostly consisted of styling models, celebrities, and those very, very (extremely) well off "nobody's". But in the grand scheme of things, I learned so much more than just matching velvet jackets with glitter button downs.
Yves Saint Laurent, who passed away in 2008, was, in my opinion, one of the greatest human beings to ever walk this earth. He started his genius career being mentored by the one and only Christian Dior, and later set out to create his own Haute Couture House. In twelve short years, he completely revolutionized a woman's closet and gave women in the 1960s everything they had ever aspired to emulate: independence, power, sexuality, and confidence. Only twist: he did it using very traditional, masculine codes; most notably, the traditional YSL women's tux.
On April 31st 2016, I packed my bags to embark on a crazy four-month journey that would lead me to discover the underworld of high fashion, in its very own capital, Paris. A day later on May 1st, I was thrown head first into a universe I knew barely anything about. As you can imagine, my first day consisted of extreme anxiety, lots of tears, and even begging my mom to let me come home. Fortunately for my insensitive mother, I made it through my first day, and the next four months after that.
The hardest pill to swallow was understanding on my very first day that Yves Saint Laurent was much more than nice clothes and runways. Right away, I had to learn the history and inspiration behind every color, every shape, every model. I had to read interviews with previous art directors, historic and cultural information about previous collections, and even memorize the date of the first appearance of virtually EVERY fashion trend known to man. It was only once I knew all of these things would I be able to put the magnificent pieces of this strange puzzle together.
For instance, the signature bright electric blue you see on many of our pieces, isn't just a blue. It's a blue called 'Majorelle' that was inspired from the colors of beautiful flowers in the Majorelle gardens of Morocco, which Mr. Saint Laurent loved to visit. Or even our most famous 'Duffle' purse was actually created by Hedi Slimane especially for one of his good friends, Gwyneth Paltrow who had asked him to make her a purse specifically for traveling.
Everything in this universe is somehow created for a very specific purpose, based on an inspiration, and seeing them come to life was the best part of my job.
This year was a significant year for the House because we celebrated 50 years since our first ever ready-to-wear collection in 1966. And with that milestone, came an even bigger news, we had to say goodbye to our Artistic Director of the past four years, Hedi Slimane, to make room for Versace's latest superstar: Anthony Vaccarello. That being said, this summer was not only life changing for me, but for everyone else working for the brand because we got to witness Slimane's final masterpiece, also known as the 2016 Paris Collection (the $13,000 heart fur I am proudly modeling in the picture, major key.) Rihanna was recently seen in this piece, rocking it with a black baseball hat.
It was definitely a summer full of change and transitions, but I'm so glad I was there to witness all of it. I learned to appreciate the beauty of high fashion, and made some incredible connections along the way. I'm glad I conquered my fear of the unknown because I know that as much as I learned this summer, there's so much more to this puzzle that I am eager to discover throughout my journey in this industry. I'm prepared to work hard, fight for what I want and let no one stand in my way. And who knows? Maybe in a few years I'll be the one next to Wintour, witnessing history be made on every runway at fashion week!
Done adulting for now.
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