Emily in Paris Courtesy of Instagram EIP Official Page

Emily in Paris: the fashion tv series that criticizes les Parisiennes

The Netflix scenario has been surrounded by many news during this year. For the most fashionable viewers the waiting was all concentrated into the new chic comedy-drama, Emily in Paris, by the Darren Star the creator of Sex and the City (also Beverly Hills 90 and Melrose Place).

The plot is set from Chicago to Paris where Emily an industrious and lively girl turns up for a work opportunity in the city of love, and fashion, Paris.

She will be surrounded by a super French chic entourage headed by Sylvie, played by the brilliant Philippine Leroy-Beualieu who seems to be extremely unsympathetic to the American girl since the first day. A meeting of minds one “shouting” in English about the importance of social media for an efficiently marketing approach, the other whispering in French and strongly believing in the “old methods” of marketing.

The result is straightforward: a series of events will confirm Emily as a creative, intuitive ace in the fashion game. but before that many challenges will be faced.

As Emily arrives to Paris, she settles into a perfect artistic little flat and meets several new characters. The firstly charming neighbor, Gabriel, who cooks in the restaurant nearby in the district. The two will immediately find a chemistry but, drama spoiler, the guy is taken.

Soon Emily will meet Mindy, a Chinese who’s escaping from her home in Shanghai to prove her independence and ending up being a nanny (still, a fashionable one).

Then Emily meets Camille, the sweetest Parisienne in the city, who happens to be in a relationship with Gabriel making the potential romance a failure from the beginning.

But, the city is still hers.

Even if the workplace is a chronicles of nightmares and her cultural misadventures make Emily a funny character before making her a fashion influencer, she will eventually end up blossoming into a fierce woman fascinating even the most unlikely-susceptible character, Pierre Cadault the anchor-designer of the season and the lucky star among the Emily’s P.R. agency customers.

Few questions arose during the view of the series and some are deliberately left unanswered for the next season.

  1. Is it snob(bish) really cool?

The description of the Parisienne atmosphere at the workplace has left the French public particularly annoyed.  Some argued that the visitors could be “traumatized” by the antiseptic vision that the people who actually live in Paris have in relation of the visitors from abroad. Not guests, not visitors more like strangers here the word we are looking for. This is like an inner circle: if you cannot share the same ideals of the big city, you’re labelled as “out of market”. But from people who once where from abroad and successfully integrated into the city, with struggle of course but not exceptionally atrocious as the series describes, Paris is more opportunities than opportunism. The series has been ironically seasoned by Americans using misunderstandings as a sharp blade cut the, hypothetically, serious atmosphere.

  • Is Fashion a debate of generations?

First Emily vs Sylvie then Pierre Cadault (who sound very much like Arnault, very clever) vs Grey Space. The debate is true: from methodology and approach to designer and production. Emily is a fresh, lively twenty-something girl who unexpected turned her life upside by moving to Paris. Her views for promotion are quite different from Sylvie ones’ more related to the vis-à-vis relation with the client and overall against the fast turn of social media, considering them as a tool not exactly an end. But the combinations of the two is that balance we wish to see in season two, a training- supportive adventure that is not far from reality if you think about flourishing firm which constantly invest in their human resources. As for Pierre Cadault and Grey Space the debate is also visual: one reminds the golden age of Paris and the romantic silhouette of Christian Dior (at least at the beginning of the series), the others are street-styled almost futuristic pioneers of a generations that sometimes seems to be a little too contemptuous.

  • Is love preventing us from ruling the world?

The hardest question not just from this series I presume. Love and work, carrier and private life. Find the perfect balance is already difficult even if there are not connected in the same field: as Emily exceeds in one this the other seems to be at least damaged. The  city of love will for sure call for many romantic encounters: a fascinating but pedantic teacher, an impossible love story and, for now, the shadow of Mathieu Cadault, heir of Pierre, are the possible “distractions” for our Emily: who’s going to overturn the annoying Parisienne stereotype first?

  • Who’s really Pierre Caldault?

The most hunted fashion icon and designer of the season needs of course a personal space.

Even if at the beginning he could seem a gathering of all the worst attributes for French people, during the developing of the season, his character grows as well touching some important aspect of the fashion industry like acceptance, the fear of the failure and the exactment of renovation. Starting like an elegant owner of an “aristocratic” atelier he struggles with the innovative designer of Grey Space represented by two young Americans who believe that the future of Haute Couture is the simplification of the system by using Jumpers and culdoscopies textures in their production.

After several moments of discomfort and almost a resignation, Pierre comes up with a new concept of Haute couture which engage the street wear and the youth of its public. From soft colors and textures to strong and daring overlapping of fluos and tons, tons of tulle. To conclude every dress has some sort of message according to the concept of “think differently”. Pierre creations have something of Jean Paul Gaultier from the pistol dress in velvet in 1984 to the “outrageous” black leather dress of Madonna later on but also something very Italian like the creation of Moschino of the last years, like the icon black dress with the capital white letters “You can dress me up! but  you can’t take me out”.

A dress, a statement.

Fanny Trivigno