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All in a Paris Weekend: Pop-Ups, Melt-Downs and Sticking-In

 

Some Fashion Weeks come and go and hardly get noticed (at least by me). This one seemed different. When we see very tall, very thin (and not necessarily pretty) women dressed in designer clothing on the streets of Le Marais, we know it’s Fashion Week even without knowing. More often now than before we see men wearing particularly strange costumes (that I wouldn’t call flattering). And then there are the young Japanese (clearly not tourists, as they are without cameras) wearing the most fabulously stylish outfits of all, incorporating every aspect of their bodies including their hair and faces as part of their artistic fashion expression.

Le Marais is the ‘hot spot’ of fashion trends and clearly changes its “esprit” for that one week. The cafés are overspilling with those who are trying too hard to look “chic” in the City of Light and Mode. You see them in their too high heels struggling on the cobblestones ensuring they are ‘seen’ rather than ‘seeing.’ For the long-time resident of the district that was once a slum, it’s most amusing as the fashionistas mix among the Chasidic Jews, Chinese and other eclectic denizens of the district.

Never before have there been so many ‘pop-up’ fashion galleries — in spaces that were once wholesalers or little factories that turned into art galleries, now for this one week displaying fashion creations instead of art, or as art. This Fashion Week made more of an impression on me than in the past as it seemed every door I passed along the streets of the 3rd arrondissement was one of these pop-up spots.

One such spot on rue de Turenne was a work of art in itself that changed frequently with an original display done by a young Japanese artist who was a work of art himself. I saw him many times on the streets, each time his face painted in different designs, like an artist’s palette, his hair or hat equally incorporated into his overall look. The windows were show-stoppers — one using white sneakers as his canvas. Another was a sea of Louis Vuitton bags painted with blobs of color, hanging within gilded frames.

The Eiffel Tower has been celebrating, too, with special lighting for the duration of the week with the words “La Mode Aime Paris” (“Fashion loves Paris”) written on the side. Even Mayor Anne Hidalgo was wearing a Dior coat at the inauguration.

For those who aren’t involved in fashion or just don’t care and never really thought about it, it takes place here twice a year for the spring/summer and then autumn/winter collections. The dates are determined by the French Fashion Federation and is based out of the Carrousel du Louvre, but events take place all over the city. This week’s spring/summer show has taken place September 30th through October 7th — so it’s now winding down.

Glass and Ice on a Sleepless Night

On Friday night while changing busses on route to dinner with a friend, a couple of guys were roping off the Parvis de l’Hôtel de Ville (the plaza in front of City Hall). It was a strange thing to be doing, but since so much takes place on this very spot, it’s not at all unusual that it would be prepared for lord only knows what.

Saturday night, the wonderment came to a conclusion as night descended and the annual festival, La Nuit Blanche, began. Here was placed an astounding work of art by Zhenchen Liu entirely made of ice. Two-hundred-and-seventy multi-color blocks of ice were placed in rows symbolizing different countries of the world and the earth in destruction as we watch it wither away under our noses — the ice which slowly melted over the course of the evening. We arrived there early on just as the huge blocks were beginning to melt, looking very beautiful in all their color.

Another installation of note was Djeff et Monsieur Moo’s “Présage” — a broken fishing boat among broken glass set in the nave of the old church, the lighting changing as eerie sounds came from the organ above, designed to reflect the current state of the world.

Other displays we visited in Le Marais weren’t as impressive…but of course, we didn’t see them all nor did we stay out all night to visit them, like so many others.

On Pins and Needles

Rebecca Weiss has been trying to ‘stick’ me for a long time. She introduced the idea of Acupuncture to me ions ago and for one reason another, it got shelved…until she came back to Paris with her daughter, Robin, who is here for what else?…Fashion Week. That’s when it became an opportunity not worth passing up.

What was there to accomplish? Nothing. I had no particular aches or pains or problems to speak of, but I’ll do anything once and acupuncture is one of those things that is spoken of highly by the people who have used it as a method of healing.

I simply wanted to try it — to understand it better. It’s considered ‘alternative’ medicine by those who think Western medicine is ‘real’ medicine, but it’s a key component of traditional Chinese medicine. Believed to have originated around 100BC in China, and although it is not based on scientific knowledge, it’s commonly used for pain relief.

Rebecca and I share the same birthdate. This was a birthday gift from me to myself, but a gift from her as well in celebration of our shared dates. Her interest in acupuncture started more than 10 years ago and deepened when she studied Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine in Tianjin, China at the university there, earning a master’s degree — well into retirement age.

Her Chinese approach to healing not only treats pain, but also insomnia, headaches, constipation, post-menopausal conditions, depression, allergies, asthma, lack of energy and other unusual symptoms for which there are no great Western cures, other than synthetic drugs. Her list of treatments includes acupuncture, Reiki, cupping, nutritional counseling and lots of things I’d never heard of such as “moxabustion” (using moxa made from dried mugwort [Artemisia argyi]), “GuaSha” (the skin is scraped to produce light bruising) and “Mai Zen” (cosmetic acupuncture).

After a brief conversation about how the acupuncture could help me, we determined that issues I have with my feet would be a good starting point (I have heel spurs in both heels dating back to the transportation strikes in France in the winter of 1995!).

She asked me to lay down on a bed in a quiet room, where she first performed Reiki techniques on me. Reiki is a much more recent method than acupuncture, developed in 1922 by a Japanese Buddhist, also known as “palm healing.” The idea is that “universal energy” is transferred through the palms of the practitioner to encourage healing. She circled her hands over various parts of my body and then whisked the energy away with a kind of tossing motion.

Then came the needles. She placed one in each foot, one in each hand, and on my forehead and another on my belly. I never felt them enter — only what felt like a light tap. I was instructed to lay very still for 30 minutes…which I did, in a very relaxed state. The needles never bothered me in any way.

At the 30-minute mark, she entered the room and removed the needles. I cannot say that I felt any different, but one thing was obvious: when putting on my shoes, my feet felt more relaxed and in less stress or pain than before. I walked home happily and then as she predicted, I slept like a baby, longer and deeper than I can remember in a very long time.

Alternative or not, according to the World Health Organization, “acupuncture is effective for treating 28 conditions, while evidence indicates it may have an effective therapeutic value for many more.” Tension headaches and migraines were found to be effectively relieved by a study made at the Technical University of Munich, Germany. The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center also found that twice-weekly acupuncture treatments on patients treated with radiation for head and neck cancer relieved debilitating symptoms of xerostomia (severe dry mouth).

Rebecca’s Web site says “Have Needles Will Travel!” She comes to Paris from time to time and is happy to see patients here — or perhaps anywhere, including her home in New York State. Visit her site for more information or email her at [email protected].

A la prochaine…

Adrian Leeds
The Adrian Leeds Group

(giving acupuncture a try)

Respond to Adrian

French Property FractionalP.S. Own property in Paris for less by investing in a fractional ownership. We are currently representing three properties with re-sale shares available. Learn more about them on our French Property Franctional page and contact me with any questions at [email protected]

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