<relentless alarm tone> Time to wake-up. It’s 5:30am and I need to get the 6:30 train into London then catch the Eurostar to the City of Love for the day. This is by far the most civilised way to travel, not having to deal with airport shenanigans; however it never fails to surprise me how tourists are seemingly oblivious to Fashion Week schedules and every coach is packed with sightseers taking up valuable aisle space with crappy luggage. Can’t they travel any other week of the year? I’m not as nice when I’m tired.
I checked my super reliable iPhone weather app, so I know it’s going to be a record breaking 36ºC but I’m determined to wear my new summer jacket over a t-shirt just because. Following a failed Uber attempt at Gare du Nord where the driver calls and can’t understand where I am or what I’m saying due to my secondary school French, I arrive at Colette to meet FITE Sales Manager Michelle who’s with her client BERTHOLD. A quick scan of the store, admiring the SATISFY running garments, then we grab a power lunch at 202 around the corner, taking advantage of the courtyard. I’m here for one reason only and that’s to secure a showroom for FITE we’ve been coveting since my last day trip to Paris viewing spaces that didn’t work out. There’s been much back and forth on email with delayed responses but finally we’re here and ready to lock it down when the agent calls to ask whether we can reschedule for later on when I’m due to travel back. Um, non. Michelle has lived in Paris before so her French is a little (much) better than mine and exercises some gentle force to get him out within the hour. We use this time wisely to come up with new design ideas for next season whilst under the influence of some refreshingly cold Sancerre.
The space is perfect. Located just off the Rue St Honoré with a clear view of Tuileries Garden, it’s a black, double-fronted store set over two levels with sharply cut angled steel and mirror fittings. Following a tape measuring session and brief phone-call with our custom trunk makers in Scotland to ensure we can fit our main installation piece through the narrow front door (just, although we have to produce it in two parts); we sign on the dotted line then go about our merry way.
We decide to walk up to the Marais so the jacket is now off and I’m considering taking the t-shirt off as well in this ridiculous heat. We make it up to Nieuway Agency who are showing for the first time and have our friends brands Tourne de Transmission, Auxillary (footwear) and Polari. The team is busy selling so we don’t stay long and have limited time before Uber-ing to Showroom Next Door, an agency founded by one of the nicest guys in the industry, Fode Sylla. Based in what appears to be a church on Avenue Ledru Rollin, blasting out some vintage Donell Jones; the ACF boys are shooting their lookbook and I meet Noguchi san for the first time, the owner of NOMA, who seems to be impressed (or amused) when I flex some of the 30 Japanese words I know. We discuss her recent pop-up in Goodhood (one of my favourite London stores), Shirokanedi, Hachikō and the difference between living in Hackney and Chelsea. I need their Paisley SS shirts in my life [pictured].
It’s a flying (training?) visit and time to go. I only got a 60-minute fashion fix today that I’ll make up for when I’m back in September for PFW part deux and the official launch of FITE. Until then Paris, stay cool x