Haute Couture at Sotheby’s

A friend and I recently checked out the haute couture exhibit at Sotheby’s, one of the major international auction houses. One hundred fifty items were on display, mostly dresses but also some hats and shoes and other accessories. All belong to Didier Ludot’s collection and will be auctioned off on July 8 in the first high fashion auction at Sotheby’s Paris location.

To my surprise, there was no line to enter the free exhibit. We had space to roam around the two floors and no competition to view the several catalogues available for reference.

The clothing ranged from the 1920s up to today and were arranged by color. Many of them have been worn by actresses and models.

My friend was the perfect companion, which is why I invited her—how can you go wrong taking a French woman who enjoys shopping to a fashion exhibit?


My favorite dress was this pale pink John Galliano. The diagonal lines, the lace, the satin, the color… The lace-up made it sexy but not overly so, as the skirt was long and only slit up to the knee. Upon closer examination, I saw where a zipper began on the side but couldn’t find the end, the execution was so seamless. It was really beautiful.

sothebys.2015a 100_8641100_8640From Sotheby’s web site:
John Galliano, 2000
Robe longue en dentelle et satin duchesse rose pâle
A pink satin and lace sheath with asymmetric ‘corset’ bodice and diagonal lacing

Estimation: 1,000-1,500 euros


On the Sotheby’s web site you can view the estimated buying price in 20 different currencies. The paper catalogue included it in euros and dollars.

My other favorite was this elaborately pretty dress by Yves Saint Laurent.sothebys.2015bYves Saint Laurent Haute Couture, printemps-été 1963
Robe du soir courte en tulle tilleul brodé de perles et larmes de rhodoïd en nacre par la maison Lesage
Yves Saint Laurent haute couture, s/s 1963
A lavishly embroidered, beaded and sequined cocktail dress

Estimation: 2,500-3,500 euros


My friend’s pick in “Which one would you buy?” was this simple, chic dress, which appealed to me as well.sothebys.2015cCourrèges Haute Couture, 1967
Mini-robe en lainage rose buvard
A pink double-faced wool mini-dress with top-stitched detailing

Estimation: 2,000-3,000 euros


Her other favorite was this long printed dress. sothebys.2015eSchiaparelli Haute Couture, printemps-été 1938
Collection “cirque” ensemble du soir en crêpe de soie imprimé d’après un dessin de Marcel Vertès
‘Circus collection’, s/s 1938 a rare silk crepe gown printed with designs after Marcel Vertès

Estimation: 2,000-3,000 euros


There were more costume-y dresses as well—polka dots, a jumpsuit that resembled a space suit, a one-piece that was laced up from sneakers to pants to top.

A ball gown with full skirt prompted me to explain what an American prom is to my friend. When I think about it, it is a funny tradition that a bunch of 17 and 18-year-olds dress up in gowns and tuxes and ride in limos to dance. But really, unless you move in certain circles, how many times do you get to do that?

I wonder if I can find an opportunity to wear my prom dress. Assuming I can still fit in it, that is.

Look Up

This is how I am when the sun comes out. 114.sun.2015aAnd once I look up, I realize how pretty the tree against the sky is. And I remind myself to look up more often.114.sun.2015b 114.sun.2015cUsually we live life straight ahead. One day I realized that if, while on the bus, I moved my line of vision just slightly upward, the ride was a different experience. Instead of looking at the storefronts, which is interesting in itself, I was looking at the rooftops of the old Haussmannian buildings.

When I was a kid, I sometimes walked around my family’s apartment while holding a mirror in front of me with the surface facing upwards. When I looked down at the mirror, it felt like I was walking on the ceiling. When crossing rooms, I would instinctively step over the door frame although there was actually nothing but flat continuous floor beneath my feet.

I’m not sure how I started doing that. Who knows what inspires us to see the world from a different perspective from time to time? All I can say is thank goodness that it happens.

Parc Monceau and Jardin des Plantes

Yesterday, two days after I got back to Paris, I woke up at 4:30am and couldn’t go back to sleep even though I had gone to bed at a normal time. Jet lag is always tougher for me coming back to France than going to the States.

When late morning rolled around, I headed out to take advantage of the beautiful sunny day complete with cloudless blue sky. What a far cry from the Northeastern U.S., where snow still clung to the ground when I left.

While I sat at the bus stop near my apartment, a young woman stopped in front of me and snapped several photos in succession before walking away briskly. Maybe I should remember my outfit for the future (navy blue dress, oatmeal-colored sweater, Kermit green scarf, plum tights). Hopefully she was capturing me for a fashion blog and not a site called “Foreigners Who Don’t Fit In.”

At Parc Monceau, it was my turn to photograph a stranger. She was a bride in a beautiful Islamic wedding dress.43.parcs.2014aParc Monceau’s wide paths and peaceful lake make it great for strolling and sitting even when people are out in full force.43.parcs.2014b43.parcs.2014cI will never get over how some parks in Paris are bounded by such grand ornate gates.43.parcs.2014dPark number 2 for the day was Jardin des Plantes.43.parcs.2014e 43.parcs.2014f 43.parcs.2014g 43.parcs.2014hI was sitting on a bench when a couple sat down beside me and started making out. I refused to move because first-come, first-served, right?

It isn’t spring yet, but it sure feels like it.

Have You Seen My Mums?

Fall in Paris isn’t quite like fall where I’m from, so when I saw these red and yellow mums in the Luxembourg Gardens, I had to pop in.14.fall.2013aFor me, fall is red, orange, yellow, and purple leaves.  Pumpkins and hay bales.  Apple cider and cinnamon donuts.  Squash and gourds.  Scarecrows and witches.

Fall in Paris is rain.  Gray skies and glistening wet cement.  Hesitating when the café waiter asks, “Do you want to sit inside or outside?”  (I usually choose outside.)  A leisurely walk in the cool night air but maybe a hot chocolate after.  Some days it’s cold enough to wear a scarf, hat, and gloves, but the other night was sufficiently warm to sit outside with a friend and eat a sandwich from a Lebanese place off the Champs-Elysées.  Not just any Lebanese place, but the Lebanese place where a friend took me to lunch the day I arrived at Charles de Gaulle airport over a year ago.

In any case, fall here isn’t crispy leaves and pumpkin patches.  Luxembourg, however, is decked out for the season.14.fall.2013b

Mums are the flower of November.14.fall.2013c14.fall.2013e

In the background is Luxembourg Palace, which houses the Senate.


Ducks floated on a lake of leaves.


Who knows what will bloom next?