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Top, Skirt, Shoes & Clutch - Alice & Olivia. Watch - Larsson & Jennings. Bangle – ASOS.

Dear skirt that hangs south of my faux-abs and forgives all sorts of dinner crime… where have you been all my life? I mean really, every meal I’ve ever had – especially in Paris – has been a two-part act of 1) arriving in jittery enthusiasm with dance moves that impress no judge, and 2) waddling out belt unbuckled and unladylike, burping the alphabet in post-meal euphoria. Alas, a maxi skirt, as pictured, means unsightly leg dance concealed within the folds of silky meringue, and the entire table worth of food – minus the plates – safely tucked into the fabric puff under the waist belt, which to curious onlookers I insist is an Alice & Olivia design feature and NOT a food baby (it is). It’s genius, and useful also in making the evening a tad more interesting because guess how many people it takes to pack a semi-drunk woman in a creampuff/ballgown skirt into a taxi?

BTW, this was the stunning Paris flat I was staying with a couple of girlfriends (Team Apartment + Reem) over Paris Fashion Week, and now that I look back I wish I’d taken more photos. Too bad we were too convinced this was our upgraded life now and that we were never going to leave, and this also explains why I kept reaching out for my ballgown get-up… 

Thank you Reem for helping with the shots!

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Hermès Petit h atelier, Paris

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The ‘Ali Baba cave’, full of bits and bobs that were rejected, discontinued or defected.

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Even the tiniest of fault in a Hermès bag would be rejected and sent to Petit h for re-purposing

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Stools with re-purposed scarves and croc leather

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Silk-covered mobile

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Leather pleating detailing on a vase, which is now adapted at other ateliers at Hermès

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The store on Rue de Sèvres

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Studio-shot photos courtesy of Hermès

The little sister that wanders the garden to collect acorns and bright-coloured leaves, and sits at the foot of her mother’s sewing table and picks up scraps – buttons, fabrics, ribbons- to store them all in a special place… that’s Hermès Petit h for you. She makes dolls out of discarded socks and fills them with scrap yarn, carves out the pages of an old book to make a secret box… some of her knick-knacks even have names and stories. Championed by Pascale Mussard, great-great-great-granddaugher of the saddle-maker Thierry Hermès, Petit h was a solution to the materials that were discarded, discontinued, or refused by Grand H - Hermès, which, by policy, would normally be destroyed or burnt without exception, belt buckles to Birkins. Open in 2010, it has since been a treasure cove of flawed materials from all the ateliers, and a laboratory where these materials breathed new life as absolutely unique, one-off pieces. A team of six multi-disciplinary artisans act as treasure-hunters, most well seasoned in the Hermès tradition of impeccable craftsmanship but also a few younger apprentices that Mussard believes can instil fresher takes on design.

Speaking with Pascale Mussard in the Petit h atelier, it’s astonishing, because she is that ‘little sister’. Her face animates as she tells us about her love for collecting and takes us through her life story of growing up in post-war France, being frugal but also creative with the things you have. She recalls fondly how she and her mother would imagine up new recipes using leftovers, or make play costumes with leather scrounged from the ateliers. Even during her years at Hermès she had set aside rooms and rooms to collect paraphernalia: fabrics, leathers… which would eventually evolve into the official archive of Hermes. I’ve never met anyone as passionate, I think. Ultimately, her joy of saving, taking care, and re-inventing/up-cycling would give way for treasures via Petit h. It’s been over a year since I visited the Hermès Atelier Sacs and saw a Constance bag creep into my very grown-up wish-list, but I have a feeling Petit h will be a delight to my inner child for years to come.

Petit h is setting up camp in the Bond Street store starting 20th November through till the 7th December, and let’s just say, as far as Hermès pricing goes, this may be the ideal time to start your collection. The space is being designed in collaboration with Studio Toogood, which also lends a good excuse just to pop by for a good oogle.

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Sunglasses - Carrera by Jimmy Choo

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Sunglasses - Carrera by Jimmy Choo

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Cashmere boyfriend knit – Next. Boyfriend jeans – ASOS. Brogues – Zara. Bag – L.K Bennett. Cashmere scarf - Johnstons of Elgin (opposite British Museum). Watch – Sekonda (via ASOS). Bangles - ASOS (similar). Coral Ring  - Michelle Oh. Nail Polish - YSL. Sunglasses - Carrera by Jimmy Choo.

Paris is my lover – everyone knows that - we make sweet love every now and then, and it’s beautiful. Sometimes it makes me cry like a little boy. But if I’m honest, I don’t think I’d be up for a long-term relationship. As you know, I did one week this time and sure, it was electrifying at the start – to be able to decorate my own Parisian flat with baguettes and… baguettes (!), but the magic wore off quickly. Near the end of it, it was just early nights with microwave meals, t-shirts + jeans, and bickering in the metro. In fact, I recall something similar happened last season too, which was when my eczema was at its worst, after days of working in the bitter cold I’d completely fallen out of charm with being in the city. I suppose it’s the gritty truth of having to work, and the stress attached to it, not to mention the language barrier – asking how to get to the ‘piscine’ sure never got me very far (further than the closest swimming pool, that is). Oh, but what would be a story of lovers without proper ending? On this trip, I moved out of my little flat in Oberkampf, into a great little hotel on the left bank, and spent the last two days with team Next and some of my favourite blogger girls* doing absolutely postcard Paris holiday things: like learning to make macarons, or going on a chocolate tour sampling goodies from Pierre Hermé and éclairs from Angelina. We visited the Eiffel on a hazy morning, and even having seen it nearly every day for the past week, it felt like meeting someone for the first time.

Aaaand I was smitten again. Paris my luvrr, hope to see you soon, short and sweet, next time.

*Carrie of Wishwishwish, Emily of Fashion Foie Gras, Reem of Five Five Fabulous, Kit of Style Slicker, Ella of Coco’s Tea PartyMany thanks to Next for such a great time!

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Sweater – Chanel AW13. Dress – Next. Booties – Next. Bag – Couronne. Rose-gold star necklace – MyFlashTrash. Watch – Sekonda. Sunglasses – c/o Carrera by Jimmy Choo. Thank you Carrie for helping with the outfit shots.

Guess who feels all grown up buying baguettes at the local boulangerie and eating them straight out the paper bag in her own Parisian flat? Me. Sometimes I alternate a chomp with a lick off a spoonful of French Nutella on one hand and feel like I’ve cooked a meal. Renting an apartment in Paris for one week sounded harmless at first – it’s a fraction of the costs of a hotel room, has a kitchen, and get this: my own room service rules. The Kit Kat in the fridge would be plentiful and would not cost €3,000 + my first-born on check-out. But three days in, I feel like I was getting just too comfortable; the internet was unbelievably fast for some reason and Carrefour supermarket would only sell dessert pots by sets of 6, so I was dutifully employing myself to chain-eat chocolate pudding while streaming Korea’s Next Top Model

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episodes, back-to-back. I’d make it to a PFW show at 10am in the morning, then come home and do this until it was time to go to the next 10am show. THIS particular set of photos were shot on the last day at the flat before a dinner with a few of my gal friends. Like coming out from a cave, I emerged in this feminine, first-date outfit. An attempt to join society again, I suppose. Even wore my new Carrera by Jimmy Choo sunglasses to protect my out-TV’d eyes, although I’d like to say it was a style choice because, well, aren’t they pretty cool, yo? Good thing I was packing and going home because otherwise I’d really have eaten €3,000 worth in pudding and perhaps even had my first born in there. How Parisienne-chic.

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There and back again, 3 minutes in Paris with Kenzo Parfum

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Beautiful Aimee of Song of Style

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Wearing: Trench – H&M Trend. Navy crop-top – American Apparel. Skirt – ASOS. Heels – Kurt Geiger. Bag – 3.1 Phillip Lim. Sunglasses – Celine via Sunglasses Shop

When I was younger my daddy used to go on these business trips where he’d leave at the crack of dawn and be back for dinner the same day. I never understood it – in my mind a trip that involves trains or planes meant packing puzzles, books and Barbie outfits (we never remembered to take the actual Barbies) and my brother and I would take a nap in the car to the airport and find ourselves in a hotel bed the next morning. Then we’d spend countless days trudging along in mum’s shadow chasing supposedly important, but always broken, buildings, and never actually touched any of the toys we’d packed. Only on my train back from Paris the other week it clicked, how it all worked, how my dad did all that within a day. I’d gotten on a midday train, arrived at 3pm in Paris, and by 6pm I was back in London in time for dinner with the hubby. See, there was  a big ferris wheel with a red Kenzo poppy stuck on the butts of each capsule, and we rode in it, three times. Then after a quick coffee and a nibble of something coconutty inside a little boat decorated with floating poppies, I was back in the cab headed to the train station. (And all that time I played with my Barbie once maybe.) That was it, I’ve cracked it, my daddy’s secret on coming home the same day he left = ferris wheel rides and something coconutty.

Kenzo Parfums are launching something cool in September, and this was a little sneakpeek, but also an ongoing celebration of the Kenzo Flower Wave movement with Every Mother Counts on improving health in pregnancy for every mother around the world. It’s a great cause, and so easy to get involved, pass on the poppy love!