Paris, French Connection & Me

On the 1st July, I arrived – appallingly bedraggled – at Paris Nord train station, with two thirty-ton Costco suitcases weighing me down physically, emotionally and spiritually. Let us not discuss the traumatic metro journey that delivered me to my new residence in the center of Paris: the sweat, swearing and sobs that ensued do little to promote my facade as effortlessly elegant Parisian fashionista.

In short, upon arriving at my new flat and exuberantly greeting my new “co-locataire” – conveniently renowned fashion photographer, Gordon Shishodia – we decided a drink(s) were in order…Well, naturally.

We squeezed ourselves into two seats outside an impossibly crowded café; we attempted to order our drinks in French; the waiter replied in English (a pattern to which we would soon become accustomed); our neighbour puffed casually on his cigarette; and I remained the only one for a mile around without a cigarette. We keenly observed the Parisian passers-by, and with each fresh round of drinks, we brainstormed with ever-greater ingenuity.

And so, the French Connection brainchild was born. Indeed, why not call upon those so-called “analytical skills” we (err) so often apply to our studies in Oxford, and combine them with my shamelessly honed predilection for people watching? Why not wander the streets of Paris in a romantic reverie – arrondissement by arrondissement – and ascertain just what it is that constitutes Parisian chic? Why not use my astounding facility to empathize with my Oxford peers to enter the minds of these Parisian pedestrians, to understand why they dress the way they do? Why not publish my inspired findings on the hip, up-and-coming Oxford Fashion Society blog, transporting “Parisian Chic” to Oxford and while I’m at it influence the world and the generations to come?

Really, it’s a wonder nobody’s thought of it before…

Constantina Marshall

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