Suddenly I’m back on the chic Paris party lists again. It’s been 20-plus years since I’ve been invited to chichi soirées and I realize I’m the “girl” with closets full of clothes and nothing to wear.
Halsbrook asked me to come up with an idea for a conversation with you and I thought my recent conundrum and its solution would be an interesting subject.
Let me get on the record here before continuing my lament: The reason I’m “in” again is because of the interviews I’ve been doing for my book. One of my first friends when arriving in France some 30 years ago was Françoise Dumas who is considered one of the world’s most creative party creators. Among her clients are Karl Lagerfeld, the Grimaldi family of Monaco, and various brands under the LVMH umbrella. She also orchestrates sumptuous private parties. When I arrived here to work way back then she helped me enormously and I have been ever grateful to her.
Recently she has been helping me again by putting me back on the party circuit so that I could, in a social setting, mingle with some of the people I wanted to interview. In fact her idea has been brilliant and has helped me cut through all the public relations barrage nonsense of getting to the people I wanted to meet.
But here’s the thing, the gorgeous invitations stipulate “Cocktail Attire” and I can’t figure out what to wear from the vast offerings in my closet. Yes the clothes I wore decades ago are still in there, but I have to be honest. They no longer fit even though some would definitely fulfill the cocktail requirement.
So, that leaves me with a quandary: What should I buy to fill the gap?
Time and time again, and this was true before and continues to be true today, Frenchwomen turn to dresses. Oh, how they love their little dresses. I’m talking about Frenchwomen of every age. Some cover their arms, others — of all ages again — bare arms. Inevitably they look stylishly elegant.
I wanted in on this look so I turned to Halsbrook to find dresses. The buying team, at the behest of their loyal clients, have been including more and more dresses with sleeves, which I think is good news for most of us. When a dress is sleeveless, but just too pretty not to succumb to its charms, there is always a jacket, cardigan or shawl solution. That’s how I look at the sweet cornflower blue dress with the bows on the shoulders. More power to the women who have great arms because it’s a great dress with or without camouflage.
The two identical dresses in black and white are quintessential French frocks. They are the types of dresses Frenchwomen love and you can see why. The possibilities with them are vast, furthermore they could go from work to cocktails with a quick accessory change.
Then there is the cap-sleeved bordeaux dress with, as my daughter said when she was a little girl, “a twirly” skirt. It is so pretty, it’s not black and it has a classic, feminine vibe that will be an elegant forever addition to any wardrobe.
I rather doubt my time on the party circuit will continue beyond this year, but that’s fine. It was fun while it lasted, but I won’t miss it when it’s gone.
Still, I find it’s a perfect excuse to buy a dress. Who knows, I might be invited to a wedding.
Do you wear dresses?