I don't know whether she invented them but this style of boot was virtually patented by Isabel Marant. It's perfect in so many ways: practical? Check. A slight heel for height/sass? Check. A cool style you don't find everywhere (yet the comfort of conformity: almost every girl in Paris wears a pair). Check.
But at around 320 Euros for the designer boots, are all Parisiennes wearing real Marants? I think not. After dithering for (truly) years I finally bought the 'not-Marant' pair because I'm not so sure I want to spend 320 Euros to look like every other girl in Paris. Even buying the H by Hudson quasi-Marant pair made me feel like I was joining a cult: that at some deep level I had given up my individuality.
Problem is, however good they look, I'll still know they're not the real thing. Does that mean I'll end up enjoying my boots more (the smugness of getting the look at a fraction of the price) or less (I haven't truly committed to the style via the financial sacrifice). Or am I just getting my knickers - or bottines - in a twist?
Is the real thing always the most convincing? Ask Henry.
Want a free break in Paris? Take it during Les Soldes then any discount can be offset (rather like carbon offsetting but more fun) against the cost of your holiday.
First factor in the Eurostar (you weren’t thinking of taking the plane? Far less Green and just look at the miserable baggage allowance). A return in Standard starts at £69 and, if your bargains come from Galliano and Chloe, your savings will easily fund a more luxurious seat in Standard Premier (from £189).
As the train drops you in the centre of the city it’s perfectly feasible to day-trip, but you could stay overnight spending some of your savings on a cheap Paris hotel (or splash out on one my favourites: arty townhouse, Hotel Particulier Montmartre; bargain kitsch Esmerelda and budget-busting Crillon).
Then you’ll want to eat. And well. This is Paris, after all. If you’re day-tripping, lunch at a star restaurant is less expensive than dinner and it’s easier to get a table.
Travel, they say, broadens the mind and perhaps the most important offset of the trip is something money can’t buy: the chance to see how Parisiennes wear their clothes.
Here's my second map: the Haut Marais
Les Soldes continue until 15th February - Let me know what/if you bought.
Go where you will and you will see French fashions but only in Paris do you see how they should be worn -Frances Trollope 1835
It all started with Emily, who has Phoebe Philo kind of vibe: pulled-back blonde ponytail; black no-button slim-cut coat; flat-front classic-cut trousers and those boots: tall and black with a tiny gold button at the back and mid-height block gold heels: the perfect mix of sobriety tempered with frivolity. "They’re Celine." Emily who works between London and Paris drops the name of the designer of the year’s label with French insouciance. "But they were cheaper in Paris," she adds, with Brit thriftiness. "They cost £200 less than in London. It made them almost seem like a bargain."
She’s not the only one. I’ve been dividing my time between Paris and the UK for years and guess where I shop. OK I prefer French style but that doesn’t mean an Hermès scarf and Chanel two-tone ballerines any more than it means a beret and a string of onions. I buy (in the sales bien sur) from smaller, more affordable designers - Les Prairies de Paris, APC, Vanessa Bruno and, before meteoric catwalk success pushed up her prices with her global presence, Isabel Marant. These labels are pure contemporary Paris style: immaculately cut and beautifully made with just the right amount of detail, neither boring nor fussy; anti-bling and effortlessly cool. What’s more they’re all slightly to majorly cheaper in Paris than in the boutiques that import them across the world.
So why not shop in Paris? If you live in Southern England, it takes no longer and costs no more to travel to Paris than to Edinburgh but to get your head round it you’re probably going to have to give your trip some serious justification. So here’s the plan. Don’t look on it as a day at the shops: think of it more as a sales-cation. When you offset your savings against the cost of your trip you’ll find it comes in at a kind of B.O.G.O.F. (buy a coat, get a free holiday).
I just bought this in the sales. It's from APC and I usually can't go wrong with anything from there. It's silk, hmmm maybe a little bit too shiny, but definitely not over the no-go 'satin' boundary. It fits perfectly. But is it a bit too much like '70s fancy dress? (I bought it for private views etc: want to look vaguely professional, not too girly, but also ready to party - you know how it is...).
Here's the actual item:
Should I keep it or should I send it back. Honest opinions below please. (You are allowed to say it's horrible).