wanderlust

Fashion Is Art: Survival Tips

It's no secret; Paris is the center for art, fashion and dog poop. Surviving this jungle is an art in itself. Andy Warhol managed with portraits of a young Yves St Laurent and Richard Prince killed it, stomping down the runways with Louis Vuiton. Where does this leave you? Your dignity, your reputation and your wallet are all in danger. But with a little advice and some common knowledge, you can survive being ripped apart seam by seam by vicious Versace vultures. Fashion to Parisians is like breathing air in other cultures; you can try to stop and avoid it but in the end you have to take a breath or pass out (In Paris you pass out after you see how much you've spent). Clothing becomes not only a renaissance cultural status but a living canvas that serves many purposes for the French.

Fashion as art is a living canvas. Photo: Tristan Boisvert

The trusty stiletto for the Parisian Lady keeps her high and dry from the pools of urine that flow so freely and the shitty land mines scattered through the streets. Our suggestion? A pair of Jimmy Choo's by artist Rob Pruitt. A warning to the lady tourists who wish to utilize them: be aware of the disadvantage of snapping your ankle in the great cold cobblestone abyss that is the French sidewalk in winter; New Years Eve (or any other day) in a Parisian Hospital is as bad as it gets.

Walking the cobblestones of Paris is an art in itself. Photo: Tristan Boisvert

The chaussettes, or socks, must be expensive and designer-branded but never white (ivory at the whitest). It does hurt paying more for a pair of socks than you did for your digital camera, but just remember on that champagne fueled night that Parisians judge an outfit from the bottom up; as soon as they see those tight white cotton foot cozies – that presumably you borrowed from your grandmother – they will know you're a tourist and judge you even more harshly from there, or perhaps not even bother to continue. Chances are you don't have a Yves St Laurent's Mondrain dress laying around so opt for that red wine resistant little black dress. Of course a leather belt is needed with two choices: Skinny or skinny. Tucked under your arm you should have an Olaf Breuning and Bally handbag or, well, nothing at all.

Liina Vaabel will never survive the fashion art jungle with that bag. Photo: Tristan Boisvert

Grayson Perry's silk scarf will not only keep your neck warm from the cold Parisian winter wind, but also serves as a handy shield against pesky baguette crumbs. Remember to routinely clean these out or you'll find pigeons less interested in fouling the multitude of bronzed statues and more interested in the glutenous delights buried in your brassiere.

Is Liina Vaabel ready for New Years? Photo: Tristan Boisvert

The blouse should be slightly revealing but loose enough to hide the seven chocolate croissants you had for breakfast — oh, and the two glasses (bottles) of champagne you're going to drink later that night. The skies might be grey and threatening but whatever you do resist temptation of Tracy Emin's cashmere sweater she designed, unless of course it's the sex laden streets of Pigalle you plan to be wandering. Moving farther up to the visage: The face! Make up is natural and fresh, but try not to go for the Marie Antoinette look or you will most likely suffer a similar fate. Now pull your hair back, sell your left kidney for a bottle of Chanel No. 5 and you're just about ready to take on New Years in Paris, lets just not talk about the morning after. Happy New Years!

Let's hope the morning of a New Year is not what's to come. Photo: Tristan Boisvert

Article: Tristan Boisvert