My Life as a Professional Paris Fashion Week Boyfriend
InStyle EIC Laura Brown’s boyfriend on Louis Vuitton and international street style
You know InStyle Editor in Chief Laura Brown, right? She runs shit, both here in New York and internationally during fashion month. What you may not know is that she’s dating a comedian named Brandon Borror-Chappell. He’s hilarious. He wrote about Fifty Shades Darker for us. Laura Brown brought Brandon to Paris Fashion Week, but he wasn’t just a stay-at-hotel boyfriend — he actually participated. Below, a day in the life of what Paris Fashion Week is like for a newbie.
March 7, 2017, 9:16 a.m.: I wake up in Paris, France. I’m so glad my little friend on the tip of my nose didn’t abandon me during the night. I know you want to judge me for sleeping in, but keep in mind that Paris is six hours ahead of the time zone my circadian rhythm grooves to. My body wants to lie in bed until mid-afternoon, but since I am running a publicly viewable self-surveillance operation today, I decide to carpe this diem.
9:22 a.m.: What happens next is a delicately timed operation. I put on some athletic clothing and call down to room service. The voice on the phone says, “Bonjour, french french french french.” I respond, “Good morning, I am an American swine, I would like a lox bagel and orange juice.” It will be up in half an hour, so I go downstairs and pedal furiously on a stationary bike for twenty minutes.
My shirt is a 100% cotton Hanes comfort tee, available at CVS in packages of three for 15.95 USD. The hat is a secret. I wish I had the self-discipline to work out every morning, but I don’t. But I did today! Just to impress you.
9:48 a.m.: I return to my room to find this meal awaiting my consumption.
Let the record show that I am slightly bummed about the lox bagel; it is pre-smooshed, pre-sliced and curiously adorned with alfalfa. I prefer a well-toasted bagel poised expectantly beside a smorgasbord of ingredients which I gleefully assemble myself. Onions! Tomatoes! Capers! Oh well.
10:14 a.m.: I have soldiered through a meal that wasn’t EXACTLY what I wanted. Does my courage know no bounds? I lean back onto dual pillows and watch last night’s Late Show with Stephen Colbert on YouTube. All I will say about this is that Stephen helps me feel like our current situation is a passing storm and we will weather it together.
11:26 a.m.: I have showered and readied myself for the day. As it is fashion week in Paris, I don’t want to just blend into the scenery. I’m here to make a splash. But I’ve made bad splashes before. In a moment of self-doubt, I send an “OOTD” mirror pic to my grandmother for approval before venturing out into public.
It’s a good thing I do, because she replies, “Leave the angst in seventh grade where it belongs and dress like a gosh-darn adult.” Phew: That would have been embarrassing. I change into a more conservative outfit and head off to explore Paris. Thanks, Grammy! (And ALC! And ladies!)
11:59 a.m.: I step outside into the sunlight. Prior to today, the weather has been exclusively gray and rainy. I would be happy to wander and stare at the buildings all day, but I function better with a bit of structure. I cross the Seine and head over to L’Hotel des Invalides to imbibe some French history.
12:29 p.m.: I get a sneak peak of Yeezy’s 2017 Fall/Winter collection.
1:01 p.m.: I discover a secret about Paris.
No 1950s Private Eye hats allowed! Not chic. Not chic at all. Fortunately, I have never owned or wanted to own one of these. This sign stands outside the domed cathedral where lies Napoleon Bonaparte — who only approved of fabulous, furry hats.
1:16 p.m.: I thumb through Napoleon’s Wikipedia page while standing ten feet from his marvelously entombed remains. His ghost nods in approval as I read that he was actually a man of average height for his time (5’6”) and the idea that he was abnormally short was a misconception spread by his enemies in an attempt to chip away at his superhuman reputation. Also, he was a liberal and the geographical extension of his Napoleonic Code was a total bonus for humanity — unless you’re a big proponent of feudalism, in which case GTFO.
1:31 p.m.: I leave Napoleon to his mouldering and go across the street to the Musée Rodin. I stop and stare at the door for a minute or two.
The back of my scalp prickles. I fear that when I pass through this door, I will lose something vital. But entrance only costs ten euros.
1:42 p.m.: I reflect.
1:50 p.m.: I snap this pic to bring on my next visit to the barber.
“Leave the sides alone, but give me the Parthenon on top.”
2:04 p.m.: Rodin officially gives me the willies. This one is called the “Gates of Hell.” There is something about seeing the three-dimensional sculpture that is genuinely horrifying. His figures feel so alive, real and in intense agony.
2:27 p.m.: Shaken to my core, I flee to the cafe.
Michelangelo famously said, “To sculpt means to take away, not to add, because the sculpture already exists inside of the marble. The only thing the sculptor has to do is liberate the figure imprisoned in the marble.” With this in mind, I clumsily attempt to sculpt my chocolate mousse. Not sure what figure I manage to liberate, but it is delicious.
3:09 p.m.: After my bone-chilling brush with Rodin, I find greater pleasure in the simple joys during my walk back to the hotel. Like this giant spinning wheel, framed against the fluffy blue sky. Despite my fear of heights, I climb aboard.
3:21 p.m.: I am alone in my carriage, paused at the top of the Ferris wheel. There’s no gap in the barred door wide enough to accommodate my phone and hand for an unencumbered picture. Such is life. Luckily this encumbered picture is pretty cool, having caught the reflection. I’m sorry I couldn’t get the horizons to line up. The traffic below moves quite fluidly compared to the US — this is also noticeable when you are riding with a competent driver. From up high, the cars look like blood cells moving through a circulatory system, transporting their nutrients from one organ to another.
3:30 p.m.: I walk past this statue of a rhinoceros goring a lion with its horn for the second time today.
3:44 p.m.: I step into the Ritz to pee (I’m not staying here). I am extremely pleased with myself as I stride confidently past the various doormen with the sole purpose of relieving myself in the fancy bathroom.
4:47 p.m.: I take a picture of my invitation to the Louis Vuitton fashion show, because I am casual. I change into a collared button-down and a casual, dark-green blazer in preparation for the show. My goal is to look like I belong. I go downstairs and have a martini with some nice people from Chanel, because that’s what classy gents do.
6:28 p.m.: After entering the Louvre, I begin the search for my seat. I take a few laps of the makeshift runway, trying my best to look natural as I peer under people’s bums for any visible placards. There are fewer and fewer people standing as the crowd of fancy humans trickles to their allotted places. It is now even more difficult to discern which seats are which. I feel increasingly uncomfortable as I walk around, and begin to worry that my seat A.II.67 is somewhere in Narnia. I seek the help of an usher, and I follow him as he makes two more laps. Right now, this show is just him and me. I’m beginning to flush and my pits are sweating buckets but I do my best to paste on an easy smile. Finally, the usher finds the 60s. I squeeze in, pushing somebody off the bench. I’m too embarrassed to feel bad for him.
7:03 p.m.: The overhead lights dim and the pounding music begins. The soundtrack is “Pyramids” by Frank Ocean. There is a glass pyramid overhead. Coincidence? Then a bunch of models walk by. I’m so glad that I have such a complex and nuanced understanding of fashion, because otherwise my being at this highly sought-after show might seem ridiculous. I’d like to share some of my favorite looks from the Louis Vuitton 2017 Fall/Winter collection.
Sexy blue nightie with brown handbag.
This one is actually my favorite:
She looks like a Viking rock star. The fur looked pretty real to me, which I know is controversial but, since I eat meat, I don’t really think I have any moral high ground.
I like this sweater. It looks like the symbols tell a story in a language I don’t speak, but would like to be able to.
I know this model! Her name is Fernanda, and she’s Australian.
Here you can see she is wearing a white top and a dark skirt, an ensemble which is nearly as cool as her hair.
Here’s a good look:
As you can see, this person has fastened her belt around her coat instead of around her pants. It’s nice to know there are different ways to wear a belt; makes it feel like a more versatile item.
Here’s another sexy dress:
I seem to only be able to photograph the models when their eyes are closed. When their eyes are open, I turn to stone.
Here’s another good look:
As you can see, this person is wearing a top, a bottom, another top draped on her shoulders, and shiny black shoes on her feet.
7:26 p.m.: Just like that, Paris Fashion Week has drawn to a close. Agitated by my continued proximity to so many other people, I bolt out of my seat and back out through the Louvre entrance into the fresh air. I watch in a slightly stupefied trance as the fancy fashion folk pour out of the glass pyramid. Somehow I miss Sophie Turner and Jaden Smith.
8:19 p.m.: Time to compile.
10:38 p.m.: I order some fancy French cuisine for a late dinner.
That’s right. Chicken nuggets from the kids’ menu.