Why getting an engagement for free is easier than you might think
Vogue had celebrated its 90th birthday during fashion week with its dreary masked ball.
Grazia had inaugurated its first by filling Opera Garnier with 2,000 pretty young things. It was now time for Madame Figaro to have a knees up for its 30th.
On a frosty December evening I joined my beau after acting class. I was all sweaty and grungey so we ducked into a nearby hotel so that I could change. I am not sure that the Frenchies are used to encountering someone topless in the ladies, especially putting on hold ups but I simply had no choice.
I was on a tight schedule and I needed to transform from scuzzy student to catwalk chic. One particular woman gave me a frosty look, possibly thinking I was getting ready for a 'client'. All glammed up we were ready for our big entrance.
I had gone with a rock chick look - long multi coloured gloves from Sonia Rykiel, clumpy heels and a leather dress. But I had nowhere to put my acting clothes. No way was I hitting the red carpet looking like a bag lady.
My beau saw my dilemma straightaway. He stashed the bag in a bush. We then sashayed past the cameras and he went back to retrieve it once we had done our big entrance.
To any random onlooker it must have looked hilarious - especially as the paparazzi did not pay us the slightest attention. I didn’t care. It was all about red carpet etiquette.
The party was buzzing already. Jean Paul Gaultier was playing up to the cameras and licking a macaroon off the giant 30th birthday cake. Veuve was flowing freely and mini burgers sizzled to help soak up the bubbles.
All the great and the good were there - Lambert Wilson, Ines de la Fressange, Emmanuelle Beart amongst others. And not just for the photocall (à la Vogue). They stayed all evening.
Indeed Ms Beart was seen later rock and rolling with such gusto that she ended up splayed on the floor. No hissy fit just a big smile and she was straight back on her dancing feet.
My friend at Paul Smith was there too - mid-discussing my new rainbow gloves none other than their creator, Sonia Rykiel's daughter passed by. It was a freaky coincidence.
She gave me an approving smile - saying they looked very 'cool' with my fur waistcoat. Someone else said I was very 'Madame Figaro'.
The fashion police had paid me the ultimate compliment.
I was still basking in their praise when girls started handing out funky little teddy bears that folded out into a mini handbag. I took 3. You can never have too many bags.
A pink one caught my eye and grabbed that one too. I opened it to see how the bag worked and a card popped out with an obscene sum of money written on the card. I did not pay attention until a friend nudged me - I had won one of the 8 Mikimoto Pearl prizes.
OMFFFFGGGG. I thought I was going to pass out on the spot. Coincidentally all day I had thought about rings - for our upcoming wedding - and in the words of my shamanic chum - I had manifested one.
This was both our second wedding so we were way more laid back. Thank heavens as I was bridezilla for the first one. However a free ring was not to be sniffed at. So I literally tore my way through the crowd to the stage to claim my prize - a cluster of pearls on a white gold ring.
It was like receiving an Emmy. It took me all the way back to open day at school when I won a Barbie in the tombola.
I was 7 and proudly paraded my doll for all to see on stage. Now 30 years later I was flashing my pearl ring at the flash bulbs. My beau was ecstatic for me - and for his wallet as I now had an engagement ring.
I was buzzing with my victory and ready for a boogie. I joined the fabulous editor who was partying like a rock star.
My poor beau was flagging by then and tried to prize me off the dance floor. In my euphoria, I had hit level 8 he said. We have a secret code for my dance mode. 1 being conservative and 1O is too hot to trot.
By level 8 I am usually displaying a lot of bare flesh and high kicking. Back in UK no one gives two hoots about OTT booty shaking. In France the rules are different.
By a level 8 men start to swarm around like bees - mad dancing means you are a goer. After the Rykiel/Pearl Ring high I did not want to lower the tone so I put my dance moves away and drifted into the night as I admired my prize.
I certainly was the Girl with the Pearl Ring.
Brit Chick suggests:
175 Boulevard Saint-Germain
75006 Paris, France
Tel. +33 1 45 49 13 10 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting +33 1 45 49 13 10 end_of_the_skype_highlighting
8 Place Vendôme
Tel. + 33 1 42 60 33 55 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting + 33 1 42 60 33 55 end_of_the_skype_highlighting
Brit Chick says: "Visit Bonmarche in 6th for fab Sonia Rykiel accessories and clothes
Mikimoto is one of the main jewellers in Place Vendome - one worlds leading pearl jewellers."