valentino, thèmes et variations

i’ve been walking up and down rue de rivoli for a good twenty minutes before i ask my companion to see her map again. after a full month in paris, i’d still rather scour a map repeatedly than simply ask someone for directions. my accent is simply not ready to be tested outside the classroom unless it’s absolutely necessary. meanwhile, the strap of my tote bag is embedding itself into my left shoulder, weighed down with books, papers, my laptop, and a brand-new vogue italia. i realize i could have waited to make this particular purchase, but that fashionista post got me worried.. i’d hate to miss out. in any case, i’m pretty sure that my back is going to give out on me at any minute when i finally spot our destination on the map : musée de la mode et du textile. a left turn towards the louvre, and a right turn towards the jardins des tuileries and we’re there.

the museum map doesn’t prevent us from wandering around aimlessly for a bit, trying to find our desired exhibit, and i note that this museum is a little like the fashion industry itself: a little tough to get into, and no one’s holding any doors for you. and then, like a mirage in a marble desert, i spy a vision in pink beyond the window of an unmarked door. pushing our way in, our eyes adjust to the dim lighting, and we’re there. i’m gazing at valentino couture, mere inches away from where i stand. my hand instinctively reaches for my camera when a security guard swoops down upon us, speaking and gesturing frantically. "pas de flash ou pas de photos?" i ask.

"pas de photos," he informs me, pointing to a sign for reiteration.

"pas du tout ?"

he gives me a warning glare, and i put the camera away.

a couple hundred designs, two floors, and a few hours later, i’m back out on rue de rivoli with no pictures on my camera, but more inspiration than i can handle occupying a space located somewhere between my mind and my heart. my bag is still heavy, and i’ve got a ton of homework to do when i get home, but i can’t say it wasn’t time well spent.

i guess a little valentino goes a long way.

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