Discovering Paris at 23

At graduation: Emilie-Rose with her parents. Her dress is

At graduation: Emilie-Rose with her parents. Her graduation dress is from a French company called, ‘The Kooples

Last November, I met Emilie-Rose; a 22 year-old young woman, born in Paris, attending her last year of University in Cantebury, England. Now, at 23, Emilie-Rose has graduated (on July 18th – the hottest day of the year!) and is set to begin her life journey, adventure, and discovery. She has not lived in Paris for five years, but her journey takes her back home, to the heart of Paris, where her family has been living, and where she herself lived for 18 years. How is she feeling? What is she thinking about returning to Paris? Emilie-Rose had this to say:

I am excited to be back in Paris. After being away for a while, I have a new appreciation for Paris and I feel as if I have a chance to rediscover the city, and see it with new eyes. I have a few project ideas that involve discovering Paris. The city is built like a snail; there are 20 districts, called arrondissements, located spirally around the historic center, and each is given a number. My plan is to visit each arrondissement, spend a few days, and document the flavor of each: the food, the fashion, the look and the feel. I grew up in the heart of Paris, in Arrondissement #2, and I never really appreciated the beauty of this city until now. I look forward to taking this on …

The contemporary Parisian woman has become more trendy, with a somewhat laid-back fashion flair. You will find more young, Parisian women wearing sneakers with leather pants and leather jackets. My own style is shifting; I used to dress more girly, but I have realized that it’s okay to dress comfortably. I still love to wear dresses, but my favorite things now are striped shirts called marinieres, a very French style of white shirt with navy stripes, which sailors wore and were later made fashionable by Coco Chanel; I wear a lot of those. I notice that many people in my age group are dressing like me. I also like dressing high/low, mixing higher-end pieces with low-end fashion finds. Recently, I have been following Lucy Williams, creator of, Fashion Me Now, and I really connect with her style and her look.

I like to think that while I was in college, I made an effort to dress with style. Now that I have graduated and am returning to Paris, I look forward to seeing where my style, and the road, take me.” ~ Emilie-Rose

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“I grew up in Paris, near The Galeries Lafayette”

Emilie-Rose

Emilie-Rose

In honor of National French Week, organized by the American Association of Teachers of French, meet Emilie-Rose, a 22-year old, who was born and has lived most of her life in Paris. Now living in Canterbury, England (an hour outside of London) while she attends her last year of University, Emilie-Rose and I talked about how the French view fashion and style and beauty and what is what like growing up in the fashion capital of the world …

Here is Emilie-Rose

Growing up in Paris, I was always aware not only of fashion, but of shops and shopping. We live in a part of Paris that is very near the huge department stores, like Galeries Lafayette and Printemps. I have always been really girly, even from a young age. I went to an International bilingual school and looking back at it now, I wish I had been required to wear a uniform. There was a lot of pressure to dress a certain way and many of the students were from wealthy backgrounds and could afford to wear high-brand designer labels. It was tough … Continue reading

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Cristobal Balenciaga

Cristobal Balanciaga - copyright Lipnitzki/Roger-Viollet/The Image Works

Cristobal Balanciaga’s Paris Portrait – 1927 – copyright Lipnitzki/Roger-Viollet/The Image Works

Isn’t that a beautiful name? Doesn’t it just ooze glamour and roll off your tongue? I never knew much about him except that there was a beautiful handbag designed by Balenciaga introduced a few years ago. Mary Blume (a native New Yorker who lives in Paris) has written a book that brings his story to life: The Master of us All, Balenciaga: His Workrooms, His World. After reading the book I am touched to see how someone so intensely private could become so successful and revered; it reminds me of the power of genius. Allow me to share with you some facts about Cristobal Balenciaga:

– he was very private and he avoided photos of himself, he never gave an interview in his years as a designer, he never took a bow at the end of a collection, and he remained a mystery throughout this life Continue reading

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