In this feature, InStyle's Accessories Director Leah Karp documents what she packed and what she wore for her trip to Paris for Paris Fashion Week.
I love Paris. It’s such a treat. I go twice a year—in September and February for the shows. I'm in Europe for almost three weeks each time. I go to all of the shows and, in between, I go to accessories appointments where I see all the new shoes, bags, and jewelry, months before they hit stores. The whole time, I'm taking pictures and sort of creating my own digital lookbook for when I get back to New York.
Paris is where you start to see the real trends come together. Of course, you start with the New York shows, but everything is sort of a mix at that point. In Paris, you’re seeing the color, texture, heel height, and the shape of the bag.
The days are incredibly long. I start first thing in the morning and go all day, back-to-back between shows and appointments. Sometimes I'll do a coffee with someone, then a drink after a 5 o'clock show, and then a dinner after an 8 o'clock show. It’s labor-intensive, but it’s amazing. I also enjoy my time there because I live for a cheese plate, so the fact that every restaurant, even the hotel—basically everywhere you go—you can order cheese. It’s my favorite thing in the world.
While that’s always consistent, my packing strategy varies from season to season. This time around, I thought about the color story—sort of like what we do for shoots—and I packed things that would be interchangeable and that I could sort of play with when I got there.
I check two suitcases. With the number of accessories I bring, it’s the only choice. I probably had about 15 pairs of shoes with me, 10 handbags, and a whole big pouch full of jewelry. Sometimes I plan out my outfits accessories-first, but only if it’s a really standout shoe or bag.
I would describe my style as minimal with an edge. I add the edge with jewelry or minimal pieces that are crafted in leather, like a skirt or pant. Generally, my jewelry is Jennifer Fisher. She’s one of the coolest people and a good friend. When I found her jewelry, I was like "I'm done. I don’t need anything else."
When in Paris, I manage to stay true to my personal style but I do bring out special pieces, like a tiny Chanel "Boy" bag. In New York, it's harder to do so since I’m so back and forth to the office—I'm carrying my life around, so I wear a higher heel and carry a smaller bag in Paris. There’s that luxury of going to shows and not carrying everything around with you. It's very French.
What you get to do and what you get to see—I almost can't describe it to someone: you have to experience it. It's like a marathon. You feel like you've run a marathon. I genuinely feel lucky that I get to do this, and I know that I am. It's a dream.
—Coordinated by InStyle’s Senior Market Editor/Digital Correspondent Dana Avidan-Cohn