Field Notes: Paris

Words by Jessie Wong

Spring / Summer '24 collection on display at the showroom

In the busy world of handbags, June and July are the months when designs take flight from our Wellington studio on Victoria Street. It's a process that traverses continents: and our third destination is Paris. Welcome to our Field Notes, Paris—a candid glimpse into the genesis of our collection.

After our time in London, we venture to Paris to host sales appointments. The showroom anticipation is high as we haul seven suitcases of carefully crafted samples on the Eurostar from St. Pancras to Gare du Nord. This June, we shifted our showroom's locale, saying goodbye to the old Yves Saint Laurent atelier in Montparnasse. The last-minute change lands our accommodation on the wrong side of the river, necessitating an extra journey with the suitcases, but once we get to the 8th arrondissement, the classically French surroundings are worth it.

Paris, with all its charm, eschews modern buildings and ease of movement; offering instead narrow, winding staircases. We’re met by a crane hired to lift mannequins and boxes of collections to the top of the building. The showroom is light-filled and beautiful, adorned with clean white walls and Parisian window trims. Robyn Catinella—who heads our sales agency—has decorated the showroom with displays of trees and fresh flowers in the five rooms that feature off the main foyer; each a space for brands to tell their own story.

Catinella Showroom, Paris

It’s hot. The heatwave blanketed us for the first two days in the showroom—the temperature a sweltering 36 degrees.

Over the next week, we meet with buyers from every corner of the globe, including esteemed retailers Bergdorf Goodman and Selfridges, and committed stockists from home that have made the journey.

Paris is known for couture and luxury runways, and while this is true (Pharell’s first show for Vuitton was held at Pont Neuf the day we arrived), it’s also a temporary home across the week for brands from all corners of the world. The floor above us hosted Japanese and Korean designers, and near the Canal Saint-Martin, we visited the showroom of Super Yaya; an embodiment of Beiruit and Abidjan's creative spirit.

Milly Bag in Toffee photographed on the streets of Paris

Fashion Week is traditionally a trade show, but this season, it feels like more than the display of the collection. It’s an exploration of cultural connections and creative pursuits from across the globe—a week of inspiration that leaves an indelible mark on the realm of design thinking.

Creative Director and Founder

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