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Flaneuse en Paris!

Thanks to a fortunate connection through CDG I was able to spend a whirlwind14 hours in Paris. Arriving at 4pm on a Friday afternoon with a hard out of 6am the next morning, I was determined to take in as much of Paris as I physically could. Much to the chagrin of my tired travel companion, we stomped around for hours before our feet finally gave out and we had to stop for a late-night bite and a slug of well-earned wine at Café de Flore.

            I love that feeling you get whenever you arrive in a new place. It always feels like we have a chance to begin again in a new world, one that will let us start over as a better version of our old selves, the person you’ve always secretly wanted to be. In that same vein, I dressed in attempts to master the art of a Parisian ‘flaneur’ (the French word for someone who has perfected the art of nonchalance). Keeping the long walk in mind, I chose a silky blue side-paneled dress from Topshop. So as to not add to the bad rep that American have oversees I paired it with a colorfully striped American Apparel bandeau for extra conservatism (all things considered). 

While sorting through my photos from Paris I realized just how snap happy I was in a single weekend away! Being in Paris came with the refreshing sense of anticipation for the future and excitement for just being alive. Oftentimes with travel there is an unspoken promise that you will return home slightly different, better for having experienced another culture and breathing the air of another land. While I can't say that traveling has made me a new person, I will say that life always seems a little sweeter whenever I get the opportunity to escape into the world. Even if it's just for a little while. 

Pondering in Paris... 

For the first time I worked up the nerve to go on that giant ferris wheel in the Tuileries. I'm slightly terrified of heights, but the view was well worth conquering my fears. From the top you can see everything from the Sacre-Coeur in Montmartre to the Arche de Triomphe. Listening to the soundtrack of 'Midnight in Paris' in one ear and the various street noises in the other, I fell head over heels for the city as the sun set behind Eiffel Tower. 

I've thoroughly enjoyed this trip thanks in a big part to the stunningly sunny Paris weather. It felt so nice to be bare-legged again that I practically danced my wait through the arrondissements! 

You'd be surprised by the number of street crepes I could fit into my mouth within 14 hours. The unforgiving waistline of my dress was certainly not prepared for these kind of indulgences. 

When in Paris... 

When Gaby Aghion originally founded Chloe in the 1950s, she would hold her fashion shows at the Cafe de Flore (among other, similarly styled cafes). In lieu of a catwalk, editors would be seated at breakfast tables as the models sashed around the restaurant in Aghion's newest designs.

I'd never fully understood the concept of saudade until winding through little alfresco brasseries such as this one. Saudade is a Portugese/Galician term for the feeling of being nostalgic for a time you never experienced. Never has it felt more appropriate than to properly express my yearning for the jazz age of Paris. 

Dress: Topshop
Bandeau: American Apparel 
Shoes: Zara

Model as Editor.

Scrolling through my Instagram feed one morning I came across a shot Love magazine had posted of an almost naked Edie Campbell backstage at Louis Vuitton. The accompanying caption read, ‘Welcoming @ecampbell90 as our new contributing editor.’ My first reaction was a little defensive; they’re only doing this for PR, I thought. I convinced myself that these girls, with their long legs and glossy hair weren’t out to take our jobs, but were more interested in licensing their names out while behind-the-scenes assistants and interns did all the work.

Unable to let go of the possible reasoning for Love’s newest hire, I hunted for more information that might help put this new concept into context. While studying the models-slash-editors who came before Ms. Campbell, it dawned on me that perhaps modeling could actually be a suitable pre-requisite to successful editing. As it turns out, a number of former models have successfully made the jump from hanger to creator, paving the way for the newest generation to follow in their well-heeled footsteps.

One of the original trailblazers was Ms. China Machado. Machado, now 83, became the first non-Caucasian model to grace the cover of an American fashion magazine when she covered Harper’s Bazaar in 1958. Going on to achieve both financial and commercial success as one of the world’s highest-paid supermodels, she returned to Bazaar as fashion editor in 1962. During her ten years at the publication she wrote and styled a number of stories, frequently collaborating with Richard Avedon.

Most recently reigniting the trend is Anja Rubik who founded and is the current editor-in-chief of 25. The Polish model started the magazine with a friend of hers in Austria as a platform to explore the relationship between fashion and erotica more. The influence of her own career is apparent in the magazine’s heavy focus on sex and nudity, an unsurprising theme considering the majority of her portfolio (ironically) features her taking things off.

Though 25 has a somewhat limited distribution range, it has been recognized n multiple occasions for its achievements in the artistic field. Rubik often cites the relationships and connections formed while modeling as a defining factor in the success of 25.

Even Naomi Campbell has gotten on board with the changing roles of fashion. In 2011 she was named editor-at-large of both the German and Russian editions of Interview magazine, though nepotism has been suggested as the deciding factor of her appointment- both magazines are published by her boyfriend, Vladiskav Doronin. Despite these accusations, Naomi continues to use her monthly column, ‘State of Mind’, as an opportunity to share her personal opinions (rare for a model) and talk with prominent industry members about the current state of fashion.

Then there is Kate Moss. Moss recently – and very publicly – joined the masthead of British Vogue as a ‘contributing editor’. Moss and Vogue have maintained a Woody Allen-esq contract since the early ‘90s, when she made her debut. Appearing on the cover of at least one issue per year over the past two decades, Moss has racked up an impressive 33 covers for The Kate Moss Magazine Vogue.

Moss’ first contribution comes in the form of ‘Cause Celebre,’ a 12-page story shot by Mert Alas & Marcus Piggott featuring Daria Werbowy for the March 2014 issue. In her Letter from the Editor Alexandra Schulman, editor-in-chief of Vogue UK, described Moss’ involvement as being “very hands-on. From gathering the initial moodboard to talking me through the rail of clothes in the Vogue fashion room and adjusting the accessories on Daria, Kate took on the complete role of fashion editor.”

Obviously there are exceptions to the rule (Kate and Naomi being prime examples), but the downside of a career that relies so heavily on looks is that it generally comes with a strict timeline. When the time inevitably comes to follow a new career path acting is a common choice. Acting is a natural progression as so much of modeling is about embodying a character and following the photographer’s direction.

If this is the case then wouldn’t editing (in the sense of both writing and styling) be just as logical a progression? What better training is there than being physically present on set hundreds, even thousands, of times? Especially when the focus on models’ ‘off-duty’ looks has proven that these girls actually do have style others want to copy.

In the same way that royalty is brought up with their future positions in mind, girls who start modeling at an age where they are still highly impressionable are essentially being molded by the industry they will later join. They may not have slaved away at the same internships and lowly assistant positions as other industry hopefuls, but having actually been at the center of the industry as a teen is surely a step up.

Their minds have been opened by the traveling and collaborative experiences they grew accustomed to. They come in with pre-established credibility, the understanding of what it takes to get the shot, and the valuable personal connections that may help secure exclusives for the magazine. Though they may be awarded unfair advantages due to unchangeable (genetic) circumstances, the opportunities awarded to models create worldly, professional women who are in the perfect position to make that jump.

You May Never Find The Perfect Man, But There Is Always The Perfect Leather Pant.

            As the days get longer and ever-so-slightly more bearable, I’m torn between optimistically moving all of my winter pieces to the back of the closet or sensibly sticking it out in my parka for a few more weeks. One item I’m having a hard time letting go of is my favorite pair of skinny leather pants.  Clinging to the security of that barely-there thigh gap they create when slipped on, I am determined to bring them into my spring wardrobe.

            Updating your skinny leather pants with a few easy styling tricks can transform them into a year-round-staple. Using Olivia Palermo as inspiration, a favorite pair can smoothly transition your entire collection into the spring months. Aided by Olivia’s expertise and personal style, here are a few quick tips for making them work to your advantage: 

·      Olivia’s affinity for the classics has been documented by nearly every street style photographer on the market. Her quality over quantity strategy results in a number of ogle-worthy investment pieces, which, thanks to their simple silhouettes, can be pared with pretty much anything.  A chunky sweater and croc bag are all you need to create that downtown, girl-on-the-go vibe 

·      Oversized (light) outerwear is a great tactic for keeping warm on those chilly April nights.
·      Leather pants aren’t traditionally appropriate for the office, but with the right accouterments such as a polished bag and menswear-inspired extras they can fit in with a creative environment.


·      Never underestimate the power of color in those in-between seasons. Adding even a tiny dose of color in the form of accessories - like Olivia’s ballet flats- can change the entire mood of your look. But beware: you’ll be receiving buzzing bumblebee references for the rest of the day. 


My photo
Caroline Mason: 21. Native New Yorker (and one time North Carolinian). Assistant to Derek Blasberg. Just a girl who is OCD about all things fashion, drinks way too much coffee, and has an affinity for late night talk shows and travel books. FIT class of 2016. Previously with Karla Otto PR, Lori Goldstein and Lester Garcia.

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