With Paris under nighttime curfew and the UK frozen in various states of restriction, the Emily In Paris television series is a heady nostalgia for a world before Covid. And it is extremely attractive.
What might once have been just another portrayal of an American in Paris is now a total plunge into the things we miss most.
As tempting as a dish overflowing with profiteroles, and just as easy to consume, it quickly became one of the most popular Netflix shows in the world.
No Parisian cliché is unexplored as we follow Emily Cooper’s initiation, performed by Lily Collins, to city paths, from the joy of buttery croissants to the glittering Eiffel Tower, from the mansard roofs tiled to the glass of midday red wine.
On the Netflix show Emily In Paris, Sylvie (Philippine Leroy-Beaulieu, above) is a great foil for Emily, despite being both quite scary: Emily, a Chicago millennial with a lack of irony. or shade. ; Sylvie with her cold, manipulative and demeaning gaze. Above, top boss Roland Mouret Holden, £ 460; wrap midi skirt pareo by & Other Stories, £ 65; and vintage metallic coat
The show was designed by Darren Starr, creator of Sex And The City, and SATC costume designer Patricia Field is behind the wardrobe. Pictured: Sylvie is the ‘mistress of gesture’ and gives nothing here in a Yohji Yamamoto dress, £ 1,646
Never one to deal with fashion, Field (who also made The Devil Wears Prada and Ugly Betty) missed no opportunity to force characterization through extravagant costumes. Above, Emily admires Sylvie in a dazzling emerald asymmetric off-the-shoulder evening gown Alexandre Vauthier, £ 1,685
I say bring them – all. Especially those involving Sylvie, Emily’s boss, who, in her steamy, sashay figure, is the stereotypical Parisian slut of our dreams and who, unlike the heroine, most certainly knows how to dress.
The thing with the clichés is that they are grounded in the truth, of course, and in Sylvie’s style, I recognize a lot of Parisian women that I have met during 25 years of Paris Fashion Weeks.
And it is important here to recognize that we are talking about Parisian women, Parisian style, not French. It’s not for nothing that French Vogue is called Vogue Paris. Paris is a world of style apart.
Smoke Hot: Sylvie, who ‘knows the value of a bare shoulder’, reveals the two in a simple but so smart Rick Owens mesh-paneled sleeveless dress, £ 615
Classic High Street: Casual yet chic in a Topshop silk green wrap dress, £ 39, with vintage Les Merveilles de Babellou necklace
Sylvie (Philippine Leroy-Beaulieu) is an excellent foil for Emily, although they are both quite scary: Emily, a Chicago millennial with a lack of irony or nuance, cringe; Sylvie with her cold, manipulative and demeaning gaze.
The show was designed by Darren Starr, creator of Sex And The City, and SATC costume designer Patricia Field is behind the wardrobe.
Never one to deal with fashion, Field (who also made The Devil Wears Prada and Ugly Betty) missed no opportunity to force characterization through extravagant costumes.
But do we care? No.
We roll our eyes, but with benevolence, when Emily appears in an Eiffel Tower print shirt on her first day at Savoir, the luxury goods marketing firm she was seconded to.
We wonder why she thinks belly button crop tops are appropriate office wear and why she has to exaggerate the color of the eyebrows.
But with each outfit more and more ridiculous, like the shocking pink Kenzo coat accessorized with color-matched Christian Louboutin pumps and violently pink knee-length socks, or her weird striped raffia flying saucer hat that looks like something we do. could have made in kindergarten, her crazy clothes are more part of the appeal.
So bad that they are not good, but all the same transfixing.
But it is Sylvie’s gaze that is closer to reality. It is Paris 24 carats.
Popular French style models today like Caroline de Maigret with her 931,000 Instagram followers, Vogue editor-in-chief Emmanuelle Alt, Carla Bruni (OK, she’s Italian but she’s pure Paris in attitude) share a tribal uniform. They love all colors as long as it’s black – unless it’s white or denim.
Emily… the fashion is so bad you can’t stop looking!
They’re black leather, shiny with ankle strap heels or ballet flats, and work a trench coat like no one else – cinched waist, high collar, sleeves still rolled up above the wrist.
Maintenance is everything and they spend a fortune looking like they don’t care. Their hair will never be styled ostentatiously but will be casually and super artistically tousled in an equally long way just like Sylvie’s.
They wear little makeup, maybe a touch of blush, a touch of lip balm and for the evening a coat of mascara, but they spend expensive hours at the facialist having complex (and very painful) massages. from the inside of the cheek, reducing wrinkles. lip injections and fillers.
At 57, Ms. Leroy-Beaulieu looks fantastic – and in some ways, she’s the real star of the show.
Perhaps for the real authenticity Sylvie exposes too much naked flesh. With the exception of Brigitte Macron, chic Parisians don’t flaunt their legs and never expose the cleavage.
But that aside, her wardrobe certainly rings true. Her wrap tops, whether they’re from Rick Owens (a gang’s favorite designer) or Topshop, slide down her torso with flattering gathers that obscure the unlikely possibility of a middle-aged spread.
She knows the value of a bare shoulder (even though it’s American designer Donna Karan who led the way in this look).
Sylvie’s accessories are always a knockout bracelet or necklace – nothing twee. We wouldn’t see her in her grave carrying a wacky bag like the one Field gives Emily at dinner, decorated with an applique of white glasses.
Sylvie, like her real-life counterparts, is the mistress of the gesture: a dismissive shrug, underscored by the coats she wears over her shoulder, deliberately swaying her hips as her pencil-skirted figure descends the along the paneled suite of rooms in his office, and – above all – a controlled expression that never reveals his intention. Parisians don’t give anything.
Emily In Paris is hardly The Crown, much less Chernobyl. It’s about as believable as Snow White, in fact. I doubt he wins many awards. But despite all the snickers from critics, it’s winning legions of fans not just here, but – cliché or no cliché – in France itself. And in these dark days, a little escape foam isn’t a bad thing.
Especially when it’s the only show I’ve seen lately that doesn’t feature a single coach.
Additional reports: Saskia Hume