Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Paris: 7 Brilliant Brits at the Hotel Bristol

The dog days of summer have hit London with a vengeance and there is virtually nowhere in the centre of the city to find a cooling breeze. But it's still not as hot as Paris last weekend, when I co-hosted a reception at the Bristol, the French equivalent of Claridges and, like that cool and elegant restful place, the other hotel where I would love to live. Think how easy it would be to live in a fabulous hotel in either of the two most important cities in Europe: linen changed daily, room service 24/7, taxis always at the door and somebody always on tap to take in mail, parcels and, maybe, presents.

I thought of this on Saturday at the Bristol at the launch of 7 Brilliant Brits, a DVD showing the work of British menswear designers Richard James, Domingo Rodriguez, E Tautz, Oliver Spencer, Gieves and Hawkes, Baartman and Siegal and Hart Savile Row.

All the guests decamped into the garden to drink champagne – or pure, cool water – and eat delicious canapes such as macaroons with a foie gras stuffing or eggs stuffed with peppers and served on mini wooden platters, and tried to ignore the temperature. Life in fashion can sometimes be hell.

It seemed natural after all that to set off up Fauborg Saint-Honoré and hit the shops. My two male companions were in crazed must-have-it buying mood and egged each other on to buy … anything as long as it had a scary price tag, which meant everything, in fact. Respectively they bought a denim shirt and a pair of trainers (at a cost of over €700) and a pair of trainers and drop-crotch pants (close to €1000), all of which will be totally out of fashion in a very short time. Which is what being a fashion person is all about. I know what they both earn and I can tell you they cannot afford it, but we all know they will make themselves afford it.

And just in case you think I am being too holy let me say that before leaving Paris I visited my favourite bookshop and behaved just as dumbly, buying three expensive books I neither need nor can afford.

Self-indulgence is in the blood with fashion people.


  1. I really wanted to sigh while reading this post. Last week in between shows, I went into Castelbajac off the Rue Saint-Honoré next to Les Halles and bought a ridiculous top which I love but I probably won't love in 6 months. And I bought several books and magazines with stupid price tages in Colette. Such is life.


  2. Oh yes please! Just as soon as my ship comes home I shall join you in Claridges, migrating to the Bristol every so often for a change of scene and language.

  3. Self-indulgence is in the blood with fashion people. Love it! Its just that we're usually the ones with the least amount of money to spend but somehow we manage to do it. Mind you, sample sales and friends in key jobs are a godsend!

    PS I splurged out too on some books in Paris last month. At OFr. They're running a Sam Haskins show. See you soon, Mr McDowell. I've been meaning to drop by these parts for a while!