Monday, 21 September 2009

HA! i love this.

I remember the first time I saw this ad.
 I was sitting in the fashion cupboard with one of my fellow interns; it was lunchtime. I was munching away on my daily pot of "taboulé" from Franprix - yes, we did eat and no, we can't all afford to eat in the building's canteen with Paris' business elite.
So there we were, flicking through magazines in a bid to relieve our minds from the idea of another afternoon of returns when I stumbled across this page.
"Omg this is us!"
We ripped out the page and stuck it up on the noticeboard, a source of inspiration for our future careers.

I wonder if it's still there...

Sunday, 20 September 2009


Dress inspired by a costume Anna Friel wears playing Holly Golightly in the current stage adaptation of Breakfast at Tiffany's at the Theatre Royal Haymarket.
Go and see the show to witness the real thing - the dress took my breath away!

Clothes, clothes and more clothes...

So what exactly is the role of a fashion intern? What do you do?
The amount of times I have been asked those very same questions is endless - it's time to shed some light.

You have probably all seen the Devil Wears Prada - and if you havn't... well shame on you! but even French Vogue (and I can also tell you British Vogue) do not have a fashion cupboard with the same surreal quality as the film - let's leave that to Hollywood shall we?
The Parisian version, shall we say, a little more humble. With a somewhat terrifying polaroid of Carine dressed in her signature furs pinned to the door, and a handwritten "Adults Only" beneath it - it is safe to say that for anyone, this room can be somewhat of a daunting place. But then the door opens, and the smell of Chanel, Dior, Hermès and all things couture invades your every being... that is until you see the mountain of returns piling up infront of the window. Yes, my friends, they didn't show that in the film now did they?

The real deal.

Time for some theory:
The main aim of a fashion story is essentially to sell clothes. As a fashion editor, you are still a journalist and thus your job is to "spread the word" - the only difference being that your 'gospel' is fashion. Therefore, designers and PR companies come to you to advertise their products- to get the word out about their latest collections. Et voila! The fashion story is born! Editors get inspiration from Look Books and fashion shows, and depending on the theme of their story - they then select the pieces they want to use.
Now you didn't think that they bought these clothes did you?
The next part is what makes a fashion intern - as lowly a position as this is - extremely valuable to the magazine. For each shoot, pieces are called in, whether this be from PR or in-house and become the rail upon rail of fashion paradise. The editor then makes their "choix" as they say in gay Paris and "les non-choix" await in the wings praying for a chance to win some limelight on those glossy pages.
So, off go "les choix" (accompanied by a few "non-choix" just in case) with the editor and their team for the shoot. And this is where the magic happens - fashion comes to life.

It's when the clothes return from the shoot that the role of an intern becomes... a little... horrific. Suddenly the Givenchy dress that hung so beautifully on the hangers and model is now another piece of clothing in a bag, labelled up and ready to send back to its original habitat. Every single piece of item that has been called-in MUST be described and listed, then folded and wrapped in tissue paper before it can be sent back and this is where the Devil gets his kicks. Imagine a magazine as large as Vogue, where there are maybe 3 shoots in one week, with at least 100 items of clothing each and that's not even including the accessories.
That is a. lot. of. clothes.
Add to that the phone calls from PR's asking where "la ceinture Chanel" or "le petit sac en poulain violet par Nina Richi" is and your heartbeat has risen by 200% as you delve into the mountain of returns to find them. Now, that is fashion darling.

So there you have it in a nutshell, the daily routine of an intern. Of course, you get to assist shoots and after showing your capability can be asked to be involved in selecting the pieces etc but for the most part, returns are your life. To get to the top you have to work your way up the ladder, or in the fashion world, that Louboutin stiletto heel.

Monday, 7 September 2009

The first time i met Carine...

I'll never forget the first time I met Carine Roitfeld - mainly because I didn't even realise it was her...
We had a call in "Le shopping" to say some packages had arrived for the editors/assistants so off I went to reception to pick them up and on my way... well you know what happens next.
There was a little group of effortlessly stylish women huddled in a group blocking the door, my exit. Now, as an intern - as nice as people may be, you know you're at the bottom of the ladder and extremely unimportant so I felt slightly daunted by the fact that I would have to break up this little rendez-vous and ask to get through. Well before I even opened my mouth, my presence must have been felt because around turned this immaculately made-up woman.
I have to admit, I looked at her and seeing the slight lines at the corner of her trademark smoky eyes did not expect to see the face of an older woman - her silhouette is age defying. She was wearing clothes that even I couldn't pull off at 20 - partly due to the fact that I'm not your average size 0 fashion martyr (I enjoy a bit of cake every now and then). But there she was, the infamous Carine Roitfeld and I didn't have a clue...
"Bonjour!" She beamed at me, yes BEAMED. I will remember that smile to this day because let me tell you, a smile like that does not come often in the fashion world. And even in my oblivious state, I still remember feeling - wow I like this woman...
It wasn't until later on that day that it actually hit me - O.M.G that was Carine!

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Come rain or shine...

Next time I will go for this approach à la Marilyn.

Rain rain go away PLEASE come back another day!

Snow, ice, rain and sleet: as impossible a combination as these are, I found myself fighting with all four on my first day at Vogue; a day that I like to remember as “le premier jour du reste de ma vie…

Now imagine those pitiful people, standing at the side of the road in a desperate battle with their umbrella as they try to avoid the complete horror of looking like they have swum fully clothed through a swimming pool but failing miserably, then voila - you have correctly pictured little old me.

I was wearing my vintage cowboy boots, a somewhat signature part of my wardrobe at the time (I should note it was February) which on leaving the house remained a perfect suede brown but were now a big fashion NO. They had somehow turned strangely bi-colour from where the rain and snow had darkened the entire toe area, making said boots look as though they should have been kept tucked away in the wardrobe of their original owner who was probably a blind cowboy and definitely not about to enter Parisian Vogue Headquarters.

So what did I do?  
I ran… People do not run in France, you see rushing is unheard of, you take your time about everything but I didn't care, I would not let this weather and whoever invented suede get the better of me! By the time I reached the gates of the Elysée building, let’s just say the disaster that was my boots had now escalated to the point where the entire foot area was a cold and wet dark brown while the remainder was its original chestnut. Yes this may seem a trivial matter to some, but when you are about to begin working with arguably, the best dressed people in the world, you want to look your best. But there wasn't much I could do about it now or I would risk being late for my first day so in I went, making my way to the Vogue floor while avoiding any eye-contact with my traitorous boots.

I made my way down the corridor, faced with an archive of canvas Vogue covers either side of me until I reached the fashion department and there, greeted by an array of beautiful and yes skinny women, my Vogue Adventure was begun...

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Paris ♥

Ah Paris - comme tu es belle! cité de l'amour, la mode, le chic, le luxe... tu me manques

Photo taken sur Le Pont Alexandre III by little old me - this was my walk home everyday from the Vogue offices.
And yes... the view took my breath away everytime.

Let the journey begin...

So I started this blog and decided to give myself the appellation (isn't that a great word, I just discovered it!) of La Voguette. However, I have completely failed in writing anything that makes me worthy of this persona, in fact I seem to have failed in writing very much at all - bad blogger... commitment Charlene, come on.
While sitting here in my humble Hemel Hempstead home, I realised that I have experienced what is probably the dream of every young girl - the chance to live and breathe fashion in la vraie ville de la mode, and believe me live and breath it you shall!
The fashion industry is incredible but it is not for the fainthearted, to work with the best you have to be the best and that my friends, is a beautiful thing. That is why French Vogue is undoubtedly sovereign, the cream of the fashion crop (in my eyes anyway). I think it's time for said eyes to reveal what they have seen...
Let our journey begin.