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A Momentous Mercredi

Partying across Paris for the LVMH nominees, Purple, and the Proenza boys

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Kanye West, Karl Lagerfeld, Delphine Arnault, and Shayne Oliver   
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On the Avenue Montaigne, the panel of forty fashion authorities (including Style.com's Tim Blanks) tasked with whittling down the LVMH Prize short list gathered alongside nominees' friends and fans to take a closer look at the fledgling talents. Even Karl Lagerfeld and Kanye West turned out to peruse. Some designers were relatively known, such as Simone Rocha and Simon Porte Jacquemus, but most were not. "I was very impressed by the diversity of applicants," remarked Delphine Arnault after her walk-through. "It's really exciting to meet them. These are the stars of tomorrow." Jean-Jacques Picart reckoned that he reviewed close to six hundred of the 1,221 submissions. "It's very interesting, and so moving—you sort of get addicted," he said. Offered Pat McGrath, "The quality of their work is incredible; it will be almost impossible to choose. But I've got to go home and get my brain together first!"

A few blocks up the Seine, at Monsieur Bleu, Vionnet owner Goga Ashkenazi and Olivier Zahm welcomed an eclectic bunch, including Anthony Vaccarello, Angela Lindvall, Farida Khelfa, André Saraiva, Catherine Baba, and Sarah Andelman, for a buzzy, loud, and decidedly Purple party that rocked over to Le Baron sometime after midnight, only to pick up even more steam. Emerging at the scene, Lindvall offered, "That's the thing about Purple parties: They mean endless nights!"

Meanwhile, on the Left Bank, things were taking a turn for the nostalgic. "It was definitely a trip down memory lane," said Lazaro Hernandez. "Oh, yeah, I mean, our collections are so autobiographical," added Jack McCollough. Hernandez again: "It's like, 'That's the idea we came up with that day on the road trip—'" "Or, 'Wow, remember that time we got in that fight…'" So concluded McCollough, as he and Hernandez talked about the process of putting together their new exhibition at Le Bon Marché Rive Gauche. The exhibition, which opened Wednesday evening with a cocktail soiree and a concert by Ariel Pink, features about eighty looks culled from more than ten years' worth of Proenza Schouler collections. And according to McCollough and Hernandez, it amounts to a very appropriate introduction to the French consumer.

"What's amazing is that Bon Marché is such a Paris institution," Hernandez noted, as guests such as Arizona Muse, Humberto Leon, and Victoria Traina milled around, studying looks. "And so this exhibit, it's not just for the French fashion people, it's for all the Parisians who shop here." Indeed, the store offered the Proenza boys prime real estate on the ground floor for the show, which includes not only clothes but a short film about Hernandez and McCollough and their creative process, and a video cube flashing up old show footage and collection prints. There is also a pop-up shop, with PS1s in exclusive colors and other Proenza goodies.

"I think the main thing we learned from this whole process was, we're more consistent than we give ourselves credit for," McCollough posited. "Yeah, we tend to feel kind of bipolar going from one show to the next," Hernandez added, "because the ideas are always so different." "But," inserted McCollough, in that familiar, dynamic Proenza Schouler duo way, "going back through everything, we were like, 'Oh, hey, we actually have a thing here, don't we?'"

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