Paris Fashion Week: Day 5


I can’t even remember if I woke up on the floor or in a bed, but by this point it doesn’t matter. I woke up somewhere, good enough for me. It was late in the morning and all three of us were lying around like hibernating grizzlies. We only had a couple more days in Paris, and there were so many things we still had to do.

“Hey Hayley,” I called out, “how much would it cost to change my airline ticket?”

“I don’t know, probably a lot.”

“Can you find out for me?”

“Do you want me to?”


Then she would. It turns out it would only cost a few hundred dollars, which wasn’t a big deal, except for the fact that I had no money, job, or actual reason to stay in Paris. At the same time, I had the same scenario back in New York, making it equally pointless to do either. I figured I’d ask around to see if someone in Paris wanted me and just see what happened.

“What do we have to do today,” I asked Hayley.

“We don’t have anything until Kanye West at 9 tonight,” she replied.

“Good,” I said with a sigh of relief.

“Can we go eat pastries and check out some thrift stores?” Amanda asked with a raised eyebrow.

“Yes!” Hayley and I said in unison.

Off we went, in search of a place called Ladurée, a pastry shop famous for their sweets, especially the macaroons. We took the train to the Champs-Élysées and followed an iPhone map to the bakery, stopping once to check out the Louis Vuitton store. I sat outside and smoked cigarettes while the girls looked around. When they were done, we walked a block and stumbled across the pastry shop. Once again, I found myself outside on a bench smoking as the girls shopped.

They walked out the Ladurée doors with a couple boxes and huge smiles. Amanda sat down next to me and opened her package, displaying “the most delicate, delightful slice of heaven ever.” It had a rose pedal on top, which I told her to save for me. She paused to take a few photos of the pastry.

The girls just sat there saying, “Oh my God,” and, “Oh my goodness,” over and over and over again.

Marie Antoinette got to eat this everyday,” Amanda pouted.

“Yeah, but she was a crazy bitch,” replied Hayley.

“Yeah…” agreed Amanda.

I sat there bemused as they devoured their pastries with unrestrained relish. Occasionally Amanda would force more sweets in me like she was my grandmother.

“Maybe we should go to another pastry shop,” Amanda said. We all agreed it would be necessary. But first, to the thrift store!

Two Metro connections later we found ourselves walking down an alley in search of a store called Thanx God I’m a VIP, a somewhat unfortunate name for an incredibly well curated store. Our friend Kelly had directed us there with the promise that we’d be able to find gems, no problem. I was looking for a grey suit and a purple tie to fit my new fashion personality, but after a quick glance at the minimal men’s section, I knew the place had nothing for me. I sat down in a chair and watched as the girls sifted through the racks. Within minutes, both of them had a ginormous pile of vibrant clothes to try on. They were determined to pick out every diamond in the rough, and they weren’t about to leave a single hanger uninspected.

I just sat there and waited.

And waited…

And waited some more.

An hour and a half later, the girls paid for the two or three garments that had fit their styles and budgets, and it was finally time to leave. I needed whiskey, bad. I talked them into letting me stop by the nearest café for a whiskey water and an espresso, a combination designed to wake me up and take the edge off.

C’est bon!

We’d slacked away most of the day, but now it was time to go to work. We caught a train heading out to the boonies where Kanye West’s fashion show was being held. On the way we discussed his last show, which apparently had been given terrible reviews. I didn’t know if I would rather see him pull off a remarkable turn around or crash and burn for a second time.

On reflection, I knew exactly which I preferred.

A crowd of people were huddling around the gates as we walked up to the Halle Freyssinet Paris. Paparazzi photographers were hanging around en masse, nonchalantly smoking cigarettes, holding cameras and motorcycle helmets. Ticketless onlookers were standing around hoping to see people who were only there to be seen. We didn’t have tickets ourselves and didn’t know if we were going to be able to get in either, and for a moment, it didn’t look good.

But then, as always, a miracle occurred. We got in. How? I don’t always like to dirty up stories with the messy details of how’s and whys, so let’s just say I can be very persuasive.

We walked into an aircraft carrier sized warehouse filled with top of the line, high-end outfits. Celebrities were everywhere. I looked over and noticed P. Diddy standing next to me on a staircase. We locked eyes—I looked at him and he looked right through me. Whatever Diddy.

The show started and the skinniest models I’d ever seen came strutting down the runway. I swear, one of them turned sideways and disappeared out of sight, only reappearing when she turned her back towards us. It was leather on bones, like they’d painted eye shadow on Skeletor. I scanned the crowd for famous people. I was hoping Andrew W.K. was there, but if he was, I didn’t see him.

My attention abruptly turned with the appearance of go-karts that started lapping the audience. All sorts of questions popped into my head. What the hell was happening? Why were there go-carts here, and how many tokens did it take to ride them?

As the show came to end, I was violently pushed aside as an entire riser of photographers rushed by me, pushing and shoving in a free for all. It took me a second to figure out that they were all trying to get the same fucking photo of Kim Kardashian. She just stood there smiling as fights broke out. Whatever Kim Kardashian.

Finally, it was time to party, hard. I walked to the bar and ordered three drinks, lit up a cigarette, and looked for Andrew W.K. again. No dice. I met up with the girls, and the three of us ducked the velvet rope into the VIP section. Cotton balls, still on the stock, made up the floral arrangements, a fairly political approach to flowers that I absolutely loved. I ordered two more drinks and wrote in my moleskin about the significance of the flowers, what they were representing and so forth, filling three pages before Amanda tapped me on the shoulder and pointed to Mos Def.

I looked back in time to see a cute girl jump up on a stage with a microphone, and after she started singing I realized it was Azealia Banks. I jumped around like a motherfucker as she sang her song 212, hoping that she’d see me and think I was rad, ultimately inviting me backstage where she would take advantage of me. I guess she didn’t see me. She finished up and I went back to the bar for another triple round.

The girls and I were checking out what the VIP section had to offer. After a small discussion, we decided it was a good idea to check out the free photo booth. We rolled in and took the customary ridiculous-faced photos, and when we got out, Amanda noticed a glass on the floor. She stood on it for a second, feeling it under the sole of her shoe.

“This glass is really strong,” she said.

“How strong?” I asked. “We must test its tolerance.”

“Should I smash it?”

I nodded.

She stomped on it, shattering the glass into a million pieces.

“Well done!” I said, grabbing an empty champagne glass off a counter and setting it on the ground. “Now we must test this one.”

She smashed it with authority. I grabbed three more and set them on the ground. We smashed them all in concert. It was glorious.

“You’ve taught us well Mike Abu,” Hayley said.

“That’s what I do,” I responded. “I teach you to smash shit, and you teach me how to care.”

The line to ride the go-karts was way too long for us to stand in, so we made the prudent move of skipping the line by jumping over a wall. They go-kart attendants stuck helmets on us and explained in French how to drive the cars. I couldn’t stop smiling as I thought about how fast and reckless I was about to drunk driver.

Two laps in, some random go-kart launched out of the pit directly into Hayley’s car, sending her into the wall and knocking off her helmet. Everything stopped. They checked to see if Hayley was okay, kicking the moron who hit her off the track and giving him a stern French lecture. Hayley said she was fine, so the race resumed, lasting another two laps before I drove straight into wall, resulting in my ejection and French lecture. Whatever dude.

Somehow we closed out the party and caught a cab back to the hotel, a fact I only know because the girls filled me in this morning. That night, finally, I slept like a baby.

Mike Abu

Photos by Amanda Hakan

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