“I love it when I see a woman in the street with a grocery cart. I am immediately drawn to her because she makes me smile,” said Patou artistic director Guillaume Henry, speaking after his brand’s Fall ’23 fashion show entitled “Shopping Chronicles” which took place Friday morning at Parisian department store, La Samaritaine on the bank of the River Seine.
He tapped family run, made in France outfit, Caddie to collaborate on whimsical Patou branded pull-alongs that trundled along the runway behind the show’s glamorous line-up. Caddie’s main business is in commercial carts for French grocery chains.
The collection drew inspiration from La Samaritaine’s diverse clientele and featured streamlined high octane silhouettes, froufrou flourishes and sporty, cold weather appropriate quilted puffers.
Henry is a keen observer of people and of details and cited all the different typologies — “whether bourgeois, snob, superficial or someone who just loves a beautifully cut garment” — that informed his designs.
Staged beneath the retail emporium’s glass topped atrium where walls feature painstakingly restored Art Nouveau murals decorated with peacocks, models prowled around the top floor gallery with bemused shoppers craning their necks from below.
The choice of venue was not only apt, but also a sound business decision given that both Patou and La Samaritaine are owned by LVMH. The Group recently posted record revenues for 2022, totally some $86billion.
There were two additional collaborations with home grown French brands. Patou also partnered with French heritage shoe label Maison Ernst on the collection’s fierce lace-up cuissard boots and French eyewear label Bollé for a sunglasses capsule.
A fashion centric soundtrack featured Adam Joseph’s “Linda Evangelista.”
She’s “on a mission” [to shop] said Henry of this season’s Patou woman, running the retail gauntlet as soon as the store doors open. Hence functional zip and suspender fastenings evoking ski wear lest anything as fiddly as buttons should get in her way.
“Patou is a practical brand,” he laughed.
Which brings us back to those grocery cart accessories.
While perhaps more usually associated with sweet little old ladies in the U.S., in France, carrying home your groceries in a cart is a perfectly acceptable pursuit no matter what one’s age or arrondissement (zip code) and they wheel back from the market behind the chicest of Paris’ denizens.
And they’re not considered remotely ‘ringarde’
The same cannot be said for French actor Jean Christophe Bouvet, aka “Emily in Paris’” Pierre Cadault. Clad in his alter ego’s signature square framed glasses and an orange duffle coat by the French brand, he peacocked outside the venue brandishing a fan that bore his likeness (despite the fact that the temperature was a chilly 37.4 degrees Fahrenheit) and remained resolutely in character throughout.
Patou’s ready to wear outing followed Paris Haute Couture Week which bowed Thursday.