By Rebecca Voight...
Dec. 11: Paris goes into hyperdrive in the days leading up to Christmas. New boutiques battle construction delays to open before 2008 turns into 2009, while big stores like Prada and Nina Ricci invite les intimes to ogle fresh cruise and spring merch as they take in champagne and fois gras.
Thursday presented such a traffic jam. Nina Ricci got the ball rolling in the afternoon at its recently revamped avenue Montaigne boudoir. A small selection of Cruise was on hand, but almost everyone had eyes for one piece in particular. The house calls it the Reese dress because Witherspoon has one in every color, but the news is Russian violin virtuosa Viktoria Mullova, who swept into Paris this week, picked the fairy confection in acid violet to wear on tour.
Jewelry Sikh Waris Ahluwalia was in Paris to work out the details for the launch of his new collection, to be celebrated with a festive soiree at Colette during couture week in January. So as not to spoil the surprise all I can say is it has a Hitchcockian quality and should fly out of stores.
Prada, too, celebrated Christmas at its avenue Montaigne shop, but it turned out to be all about spring. Manuela Pavesi, Miuccia's BFF and her display guru, came to Paris to have Prada's French team work all day dressing and redressing the mannequins until she was happy. And it was worth it. Miuccia Prada thinks it's time for color and so the store presented a fire-truck orange dress with an obi panel from spring to prove her point, as well as Prada's cruise blue and optic green floor-sweeping skirts worn with jewel-encrusted Maharajah baubles and T-shirts. On a more somber note, Prada has indefinitely postponed the opening of its first Greek shop in Athens due to the student riots there, which have caused about 200 million euros worth of damage and left almost forty shops completely gutted.
Limi Yamamoto, Yohji's 30-something designing daughter, capped the evening in Les Halles, where she rolled out the pink carpet to launch her ephemeral shop in a whitewashed gazebo hidden in a courtyard at 13 rue de Turbigo. She's been showing her Limi Feu line, a girlie take on menswear, in Paris for several seasons, but this is her first shop outside of Japan. The store will be open for customers most of the year, turning into a showroom during the collections.
The crowd of beautiful art students, Limi's extended family—including her younger half-brother Oshi, the muse behind their dad's new children's collection—and hardcore French Yohji fanatics grew merry very quickly thanks to the Monaco, the classic French teen drink, a mix of grenadine, lemonade and beer. It tastes something like a Shirley Temple, but with a kick. After a few of those everyone posed for portraits, which were transferred onto Limi badges to give the fête a kind of fashion convention ambiance.
Limi was all smiles and, as she speaks almost no English or French, talk was brief. When asked what kind of a boss her father is, she deadpanned, "He hardly looks at my collection at all," before bursting into giggles. Her next stop is Florence, where she will shop Italian fabrics for fall.
Despite the Monacos, badges and pink carpets, the life of the party was Paris-reared Oshi, who turned the shop into a dance floor and, at the tender age of ten, is already exhibiting the Yamamoto family yen for fashion, dressed in a John Richmond salt-and-pepper tweed jacket, black high-tops and classic Levis.