Paris Fashions           Aug 2023

It all started when I accidentally picked up the wrong suitcase at the Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris. I was very tired from my delayed flights from New Zealand. I took a taxi to 3 Rue de l’Odéon to the Odéon by Malone Hotel in the centre of Paris. I was excited to be chosen to represent one of New Zealand’s top fashion designers, Doris de Pont. I was to wear one of her designer cocktail dresses at the Paris Fashion Week Opening Cocktail evening that started at 7.00pm that night. One of my jobs was to make contact with any of Paris’s leading fashion designers like Alba Babtise or Alexa Chung.  My taxi finally arrived at the hotel which gave me only two hours to get ready for the event. After a shower I went to open my suitcase to put on my evening dress. The key wouldn’t open the lock and it was then that I noticed my baggage label with my name and hotel address was missing. I tried the key again when the lock suddenly popped open.

“Cripes! This isn’t my suitcase” I said out loud as I stood in my room with a white towel wrapped around me. The clothes in the suitcase belonged to a woman and the suitcase was identical to my one. I scanned the bag for a name tag or any sign to identify the owner. Near the top of the case was a clear plastic bag containing a black skirt, red blazer, white blouse and black high heel shoes. Maybe she was going to the Paris Fashion show too? I rang the airport lost luggage department but could only leave a message in English. I would try to speak to someone at the airport tomorrow. Time was running out and I had no dress to wear! I looked at the fashionable clothes in the plastic bag and considered if I should borrow them for just one night?

 Fifteen minutes later I stood in front of a mirror wearing the very short black, layered taffeta skirt with silver trim which stuck out stiffly. A white ruffled blouse frothed low over my breasts. A wide silk gold waist band wrapped my midriff. The fire engine red jacket fitted perfectly and was linked together with gold chains in the middle over the waistband. The jackets cuffs and wide labels were embroidered in black and silver to match the skirt. I wore black knee high stockings and black high heeled shoes (that actually fitted). A little black and gold hat fascinator sat snugly on my red hair. To my surprise I looked quite good. I hoped that the outfit could pass for a punk/retro look. I ordered my taxi and left a contact address with the hotel reception in case my real suitcase turned up.

After a ten minute taxi ride I was dropped off at salons of the Masée d’Orsay where the Paris fashion Week Cocktail party was being held. Beautiful people dressed in various fashions from conservative cocktail dresses to modern designs were also arriving to the invite only event. After registering and picking up my ID pass , I met a young assistant designer called Juliette Dubois who worked for Louis Vuitton. I still felt very conscious with what I was wearing. Juliette stared at my outfit.

“Mon Dieu, what are you wearing!’ she gasped.

 “Trés chic, Trés chic, mon amie” she declared with approval. I breathed a sigh of relief and we both went into the cocktail party. I met some new designers and received numerous complements on my punk outfit. After an hour I was interrupted by a French waiter who informed me that a visitor was waiting for me in reception.

“I see that you have found my suitcase” said a young woman standing at reception and who was holding my suitcase. She had tracked me down from the address I had given my hotel’s receptionist. Her name was Celine Babtiste and she explained that my “Trés Chic” outfit was in fact her magician’s assistant costume and she needed urgently for a magic performance at the La Nouvelle Eve Paris show tonight. I apologised profusely to her for wearing her clothes and we took a taxi back to my hotel to swop suitcases and change into our appropriate outfits. She found it very funny that I had worn her costume and offered to introduce me to her designer sister who was none other than the famous designer Alba Babtiste. Celine left by taxi with her suitcase and wearing her magician assistant outfit to the magic show. I went back to the cocktail party finally wearing my Doris de Pont designer outfit which was a long sleeved, salmon pink sequined evening dress with matching heels. Only a few people noticed that I had changed my outfit. Juliette queried why I had changed my clothes.

“I couldn’t decide what to wear, so I decided to wear both. The Trés Chic outfit is from our “Magic Tricks” selection and the one I am wearing now is from our “Switched luggage” selection.” I answered.

 It turned out the luggage mix-up incident led to a very successful connection with the Paris fashion designer Alba Babtiste. She helped Doris de Pont’s designs integrate into the elite Paris fashion market (also helped by a touch of magic of course).

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