Are the French losing their edge as the fashion capitol of the world? A recent visit to Paris gave me new insight as to who is influencing whom in fashion and trends in 2013. Here are ten indicators that Paris has embraced the American aesthetic:
1. Tennis shoes from Nike and Keds are being worn by Parisians (not just tourists), in bright colors and metallic, wedged high-top sneakers.
2. Starbucks has infiltrated the corner cafés on the major boulevards. Mon Dieu!
3. American designers such as Ralph Lauren, Michael Kors and Donna Karan are now located in the exclusive shopping districts like Avenue Montaigne, Boulevard St. Germaine and Saint-Honoré. San Francisco-based Levi’s is among the many retailers doing business on the Champs-Élysées.
4. Ball caps with American professional sports logos have replaced the beret as preferred headgear for the French.
5. Much like Benicia, strollers and babies are everywhere.
6. Breakfast in America, a new restaurant in the 4th Arrondissement, has a traditional diner look and sports one of the best breakfasts in the City. The restaurant is also known for its famous Super B.I.A. burger—a tower of beef patty, grilled onions, cheddar cheese, peppers, BBQ sauce and bacon.
7. Paris has its first gourmet food truck, Le Camion Qui Fume, and the locals have caught on to this newest dining trend from the states. California chef Kristen Frederick has developed a menu of freshly made burgers using real cheddar and buns from a Parisian baker. Patrons can follow the truck on any street on a given day by following its website, lecamionquifume.com.
8. Californian wines are included on restaurant wine lists alongside French Bordeaux and Beaujolais.
9. American expressionist artist Shirley Goldfarb's work is presented at the elegant Galerie Guillaume Art Museum. Her large-scale abstract canvases are characterized by thick abstract strokes.
10. “How to Become Parisian in One Hour” is taking Paris by storm. In its 4th year, the live show is devoted to preparing visitors to become a Parisian in 60 minutes. Over 180,000 audience members have learned how to make it in the city of love. The star, Oliver Giraud, was born in Bordeaux, and has lived in Paris and the United States. He has put together a one-man act that depicts the cultural differences between Americans and the French. It’s a hilarious, spot-on performance that gets standing ovations from a multicultural audience of Americans, Canadians, Russians and even the French!
July is a month of celebration of independence, for both Americans and the French. Viva la difference (or not)!