Hysterical beige

The Paris fashion world is a parallel universe where things have different locations and names. When everyone is going crazy once again for Fashion Week, Mademoiselle Lili thinks about Loïc Prigent’s collection of verbal comedy and laughs herself silly.

Catherine Deneuve, the grande dame of French cinema, is normally marked by a rather reserved elegance. But when she appeared in a mini series on Arte and read out sayings and bons mots that Loïc Prigent picked up over several seasons of fashion shows, events and in fashion studios, even she was laughing so hard she almost fell off her chair.

“Our list of applicants is so long that most of them are already 45 by the time they get to do an internship with us”. 

“What events are you doing today? – All of them.  ­­– Oh yes, you weren’t at Céline’s this morning”. 

“I’m on a crazy diet again. Just sweets and mineral water all day long”. 

“My schedule is getting crazier and crazier. On Monday I have 10 dinners”. 

“You don’t say: pretentious and unwearable. You say: it is a sophisticated collection”. 

“True luxury is when you don’t care that your mobile phone only has 2% charge left”. 

Since 2011, Loïc Prigent has been tweeting absurd and spiteful nonsense from the Parisian fashion cosmos. With a roaring success – today, he has 258,000 followers, and has published a book with his best tweets: “I love fashion, but it’s everything I despise”. His book 

hasn’t yet been translated into other languages, but it instantly became somewhat of a Bible for me. In these turbulent weeks I seek solace in its pages by reading them aloud to a world that doesn’t seem to be quite in its right mind. It’s also my comical histamine pill that I take to counteract people for whom shades of beige can trigger a dangerous anaphylactic shock, unless it’s a hysterical beige

This summer, the traditional Paris department store Le Bon Marché said farewell to his amusing exhibition entitled “Entendu au Bon Marché”, where he eavesdropped at the changing room doors and wrote down the conversations. Whether people really said all that or whether some of it was made up, we may never know. It doesn’t matter. Since then, the desperate cry for help to the saleswoman, “I would like something sublime. Nothing neo-sublime, nothing post-sublime, Simply sublime. I’m not complicated” has been hanging as a poster in my kitchen with a black frame. I had a hard time deciding between the apron “I’m looking for something more geisha-like and less bon bon-like” or the T-shirt “Why thank you! I’ve always been an S!” The latter is now my favourite T-shirt to wear for sports. 

Every bon mot is illuminating. Taken out of context, black printed on white, they illuminate the lunacy, as well as the poetry, not just of the Paris fashion world, but also of language itself. After all, another tweet by Loïc Prigent exclaims the following about Paris: “Welcome to the best dressed open-air psychiatric hospital in the world”.