Haute Couture Fashion Week Diary: Day 1

Sahar Nooraei here, reporting from Paris Spring/Summer 2018 Haute Couture Fashion Week.

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January 22nd, 2018

Flying to Paris is always a pleasure and something that I’ll never take for granted. While it’s business as usual flying out of Toronto, it’s good to keep in mind that I’ve only just returned for a day and a half—I just got back from Germany. No complaints of course, my body is still on Euro time and, quite frankly, I’ll likely be more productive this way. Packing for 10 days is a bit tricky. I’ve found in life it’s always easy to tell others what to do, but in practice, when it comes to yourself, it proves to be a bit challenging. I was well intentioned when I started to pack for this trip and thought that two turtlenecks and a pair of jeans would suffice but, in the end, I ended up with four pairs of shoes and plentiful options to play around with in Paris. One day I’ll figure it out.


On the flight over to Paris I had about five chamomile teas, slept a total of 15 minutes and watched a terrible rom-com with Sharon Stone—anyone remember how cool she was in Casino? I also revisited some current episodes of Curb Your Enthusiasm—a bit of a trigger for me as I’m sure Larry David and I are distant cousins. While I was relieved we landed earlier than scheduled, the weather outside indicated that the drive into the city would be longer than usual. Keeping my cool, I was optimistic that I’d make the Schiaparelli show.


Driving from the Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport into the city proved to be lengthy as anticipated. When we got to the hotel, the beautiful Grand Hotel du Palais Royal, I hurried over to Place Vendôme for Schiaparelli, only to have missed it by a few minutes. Disappointed, I walked over to the Ritz for some visual intrigue. Sadly, these things happen and there’s no way of controlling them when you’re stuck in traffic. That said, Schiaparelli’s SS18 Couture collection was streamlined, inventive and wearable. My favourite look was the heart-shaped gown in Schiaparelli pink. You wouldn’t know it by looking at me—my winter colour palette hasn’t extended beyond charcoal grey—but I’m very drawn to optimistic designs these days.

Back at the Grand Hotel du Palais Royal I take in the view. Even on an overcast day, Paris is a stunner.


It’s always been a dream of mine to visit Mademoiselle Chanel’s famed apartment on 31 rue Cambon, and this evening my dream came to true. Once I entered the building and walked up the staircase lined with the iconic mirrors, I knew I had arrived. It was on these very stairs that Chanel would sit and watch her creations pass her by—quite haunting and surreal if you really think about it.

Once I stopped starring at my mug in the mirrors—which was encouraged by the way—I walked myself into the apartment where Chanel found inspiration for her collections, and many designers after her did as well. There are some symbols that were near and dear to the French designer: the lion, wheat and the Camélia, to name a few. All these symbols made multiple appearances throughout her space, and traced back to her upbringing and who she was associated with. She also had a fascination with China, even though she never travelled there. The wood panels throughout her apartment have Chinese-etched motifs, which later made their way into the Mademoiselle Privé line.

An avid reader, the apartment is filled with tomes that the designer relied on to broaden her mind. One of my favourite furnishings—which sadly I didn’t photograph—was a chair Chanel sat in to examine the length of the dresses she designed. It was her belief that no dress should be cut above the knee.


I was invited by the Chanel team to a lovely dinner at Caviar Kaspia, which is a great spot—for caviar, obviously—on Place de la Madeleine. Funny story about caviar, being from Iran, my first introduction to the delicacy was probably at age six. Iran is quite well known for its caviar due to bordering the Caspian Sea, which we share with Russia—another country famous for their delicious caviar. My family and I were vacationing in our villa in the northern part of Iran, which happened to be close to the Caspian Sea. My father had purchased something special, which I would later discover to be caviar. We had a taste at dinner and the next morning I woke up hungry and helped myself to the entire jar. Not quite grasping the value of what I ate, I got a good talking to by my father about the cost of what I just devoured in a short sitting—lesson learned!

Dinner was fantastic and we kept it light: smoked salmon, baked potato with caviar, and a wild berry assortment for dessert. Just a note to amateur caviar aficionados out there,  the best drink pairing reco for caviar is vodka—I happen to agree. And while we’re on the topic of flavour, it’s also advised to serve caviar with a mother-of-pearl spoon, as it’s nonreactive and helps preserve the taste more effectively.

Until tomorrow…

All photos were taken on the iPhone X.