If you've been following me on Snapchat and Instagram, you'll know that I've been on a whirlwind of a journey through Spain, bouncing from city to city. Last night we finally arrived in the French Riviera and I was able to take a breather - along the unbelievably blue coastline. No wonder they call it Côte d'Azur. Here's a quick little check-in before I spend the rest of the day exploring the Vieille Ville, or Old Town of Nice - a pastel-coloured paradise of converging streets, alive with the aromas and sounds of the Mediterranean. À bientôt!
I'm assuming you've been following me and my #fixatedFRANCE antics on Instagram over the past couple of days. It's been a total whirlwind and I have no idea where the time's gone. I'm still recuperating and coming to my senses. You can imagine how swamped I must be if I, the biggest procrastinator, had to forego idling around.
The last two weeks have been hectic, to say the least. Not only was it the busiest time of year in the fashion industry, with Paris Fashion Week in full swing, but in the academic year as well, with deadlines stacking up as the end of semester draws to a close. While education is always my first priority, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to cover fashion week for Fashionide and Clara Indonesia. Like most of my friends, who see my life through the rose-coloured glasses of Snapchat, you're probably thinking something along the lines of "wow, lucky him, he's having so much fun".
Yes, I too believe that I'm incredibly lucky to be able to do what I love. And yes, I do have fun attending shows and experiencing Paris in all her overwhelming glory. But there's so much more to it than what you see on social media... or rather what I selectively show you on social media. Blood, sweat and tears are involved. Figuratively and literally.
When I'm in Paris, first and foremost, I'm there for work - as a writer, reviewing shows and collections, and as a photographer, shooting street style. Once these are covered each day, I revert to university duties, which consist of endless readings and toiling over essays across multiple disciplines. And then to get a little break from that, I plan and create content for FixatedF. Sleep and food are never on the agenda, they just happen when they happen. Just another day in the life of a creative.
It's so important to have a deep passion and love for whatever it is that you're doing, especially in a creative field, otherwise at manic times like these you'll end up burning out. I know my snaps of me at the Givenchy after-party may have showcased otherwise, but I was so close to running on empty.
One of the consequences of working freelance in the creative industry is that the line between work-life and personal-life gets blurred. Or in some cases, completely erased. We are not bound to work only during office hours - ideas, inspiration and motivation could strike at any hour and we can choose to execute them at our convenience. Neither are we confined by the physical boundaries of an office - our homes become our workspaces. In fact, wherever we go, a mobile, make-shift office is sure to follow.
It's hard for me myself to discern between work and play, so I understand when people look at me and think that I'm no work and all play. But trust me - there is a lot effort that goes into doing what I do and I have worked hard to be where I am today. Put your heart into your work and be true to yourself and life will unfold the way you envision it.
Wearing: M&S Collection - Double cuff shirt // Zara - Flared trousers // Topshop - Denim jacket, with 'fixated' embroidery by Hand & Lock // Chanel - Wallet on chain // Dune - Boots // PYAR - Essential rings // Dior - So Real Sunglasses
Upon stepping foot onto Parisian soil, most may flock to see the tour Eiffel, Musée du Louvre or Jardin des Tuileries, but my first pit stop had to be something more grand, more decadent, more in-tune with my aesthetic - the magnificent Pont Alexandre III. Even though I've seen it countless times before, captured in videos and photos, I was on a mission to see it with my own two eyes. And let me tell you something, it was worth the 40 minute walk along the Seine that chilled me to the bone. Note to self: bring a jacket no matter how warm the day might have seemed.
As I came to the end of my frantic power-walk, I parked myself at the foot of the bridge to take in the scene that cold evening. Right on cue, the Eiffel Tower burst into life, with a dazzling display of sequin-like lights, against the faded pastels of sunset. If that isn't what you call magic, I don't know what is. It's in moments like these, when the universe slips into a recess of perfection and time stands still, that I truly feel appreciative of my life, and all I can do is smile. There's nothing left but you and the beauty of your surroundings.
In that moment I fell in love with Paris.
Over the remainder of my trip I made several more visits here - crossing between Champs-Élysées and Invalides like a pingpong ball in a game of table tennis, fighting sea-legs while dining (snacking) on the river, still amazed by how the bridge looked like it had a different personality at different times of day. Luckily for me, Pont Alexandre III is located just next to the Grand Palais, where many of my fashion week duties needed me to be. I probably didn't even need them to be, I would have still ended up beneath the art-nouveau lamps, gazing at the snaking Seine.
Between checking into Chanel Airlines and a Saint Laurent re-see (and a million other things in-between), I managed to catch up with Toni, who was ever so kind to shoot me and my OOTD. These are definitely for the photo albums. I didn't realise how well my mustard suit was going to match the gold finishings on the bridge until I saw these visuals on my screen.
Speaking of my outfit of choice, let's talk about the white elephant on the screen. It's not the first time I've worn something that was made to be worn by women, but I usually stick to a more normcore and less gendered garment. But ever since I saw this tunic, I was completely floored with the cut-out triangle shape and rolled-neck detail. I had to get it in every colour... which was just this and navy. I myself was a little on the fence about wearing it. Very mixed receptions greeted me throughout the day, but then, I bumped into Franca Sozzani. And she approved. That automatically makes everyone else's opinion irrelevant. Haters gonna hate, y'know?
Anyways, this is about all the time I have left to lay around and reminisce the magical moments of Paris. I need to dive back into reality and bury myself neck-deep in readings and assignments. Bonne nuit à tous!
After a glorious seven days in la Ville Lumière, I've come to a very concrete conclusion about Paris - this city was built out of magic and pixie dust.
I can't quite put my finger on what exactly it was that enamoured me quicker than you could double tap an Instagram post. Was it the romantic and historically-rich architecture? Was it the twisting wrought-iron balconies that overlooked the ridiculously photogenic streets that trapped my heart as I walked around? Or the fact that Paris is one of those places where you can actually walk everywhere you want to go? Or maybe it was because of the friendly people around me (I really don't know why the French get a bad rep for being rude)? The minute I settled into my charming Airbnb, I felt like I was home, and not like I was there for work or as a tourist. It could have been that?
Whatever it may have been, it was the perfect mix of circumstances and a dash of that je ne sais quoi that makes Paris so Paris. I've left a trail of my heart through this city and you can track it through Instagram with #fixatedFRANCE.
sight and stopping to smell the roses, I was covering Paris Fashion Week for the Fashionide. What a perfect marriage between pleasure and profession. In all honesty though, even the work side of this trip felt a lot like play to me. I guess that's what they mean by "do what you love and you'll love what you do."
It was, however, pretty intense, now that I think back on the one too many things that I managed to squeeze into the short amount of time. My hips don't lie, much like Shakira's, and they're telling me that I should have walked less and Uber-ed more. And speaking of super convenient chauffeur services, the Uber teams from the rest of the world really need to take some tips from their French counterpart's A-game. By the time I'd taken my third ride with them in Paris, I had to double check that I wasn't accidentally ordering some fancy premium car service. Luxury cars with tinted windows, a buffet of phone chargers, candy and drinks, and suit-clad drivers who were more than happy to add to the Parisian traffic just to close your door for you, no matter how much you insisted that you could do it yourself. That's 5 star worthy service right there.
Other than being fascinated by amazing service, here are some of my quick highlights from the City of Lights and PFW.
1. Alexander Mcqueen Spring/Summer 2016, hot off the runway. 2. With Nicole Warne, at Dior. 3. Parisian streets are sights of sore eyes. 4. Avec Margaret Zhang, après Balmain. 5. During the Chanel Spring/Summer 2016 show at the fictional Aeroport Paris Cambon, Terminal 2C. 6. Visit to the Christian Dior showroom. 7. A sparkly Eiffel from Pont Alexandre III. 8. The Eiffel Tower lighting up during sunset. 9. Shoes! Givenchy, & Other Stories, Dune. 10. Les Pyramides du Louvre.