RACHEL WARD’S FRANCO STYLE FILE
So, Paris is done with. I’m moving on and, in reflection, it gets a mixed report card from me.
Poor Paris, like anywhere hyped to the stars, can’t possibly live up to all it promises to be. And, to be honest, there is a part of me that’s pleased to find that underneath all the airbrushing, primping and PR, Paris ain’t so bloody maaarvellous in all departments. Great bones and pedigree, I’ll grant her that, but rather like a grand old dame she’s become a little tired and complacent; a little musty and leaky between the arches.
First and foremost – and this is not her fault, poor dear – the weather is a shocker.
It’s the end of May for Christ’s sake and still the grey skies hang low and relentless, driving dark silhouettes to do bloody battle with wind and vicious plane-tree blossom. I’m afraid it’s no wonder I’ve stalled on winter apparel. The Parisian can do nothing in regard to the window displays of light linen frocks and tiny shorts; it’s a bad joke that gets worse by the day.
This Parisian bloke was stalking me.
Then there’s the food and coffee. Who would of guessed that the French would have so much to learn from zee little kangaroo to which we are still so inextricably linked over here?
The first meal is not inedible but, quelle horreur, it’s the same menu over and over again. Not only that, it hasn’t changed since I was here 30 years ago.
Bloody onion soup, steak au poivre and chips, duck any way you can stuff it or fling it, and crème brulee. And the coffee? After what we’re used to with the choices as long as your arm? Well I don’t know how they dare call it coffee.
Then there is the smell of urine and dog shit everywhere, the queues, the sniffy service and, most alarmingly, the human cost of the economic crisis; large groups of drifting unemployed males and wretched homelessness, including small children, dogs, kittens, rabbits… yeah okay, enough already.
I don’t think I’m well. I think it’s called homesickness.
I am trying to make a film over here at some point so, before my visa is revoked, I will just point out that the Metro is brilliant!
The flowerbeds, (chockers with iris, foxglove, wallflower and delphinium) sublime. The vin rose and baguette are habit forming, the French language musical and egalitarian, (to my ear anyway), the Robert Crumb exhibition, the Pompidou, the fastidiously preserved architecture and the flagrant embrace of all arts and artists, exceptional.
And then there are the French women. As you have seen they live up to all expectation, possessing an effortless elegance and style that I found beguiling and inspiring. Not to mention a generosity and, surprising humility, when asked to be snapped for an Aussie website. Hope you’ve enjoyed the snaps as much as I’ve enjoyed stalking my hapless victims.
Got my biggest crush of all on Martine in her Francois Girbaud jacket. She denied she had French style – only her own style. Voila!
African-French women have their own distinctive style. Notice that Agnes B is copying this season.
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