Highsnobiety’s “Not In Paris” collection is a bizarre ode to anti-Parisian Parisian fashion
In June 2020, when Paris Fashion Week was still a post-pandemic fantasy, the streetwear-centric fashion, art and culture magazine Highsnobiety decided to take fashion week online. They launched a digital collection called “Not in Paris”, aimed at “celebrating creativity in the age of long-distance interactions”. The now biennial presentation, a curated multimedia series showcasing art, fashion, music and design, takes place just before Men’s Fashion Week (or, in the case of 2020, when Men’s Fashion Week would have been). This year only 6 fashion houses will attend, although a total of 72 are on schedule when factoring in digital shows. Dior and Hermès are among those who will present live between June 22 and 27.
But even though there will be live performances this summer, the true heart of PFW, the street style and the people watching, will be severely diminished. So Highsnobiety continues.
the second edition Not In Paris took place in January 2021, and they are currently preparing for the third edition, which will take place from June 16 to 22. There will even be a pop-up store in Paris, the first time that the Not In Paris collection will actually see the city that inspired it, at 198 rue de Rivoli, from June 19 to 26. Events and designer tours will complement the exclusive shopping experience for Parisian streetwear aficionados.
Partner brands include Thom Browne, MSCHF, Gucci and Cartier, among others, and the exclusive drops will include both apparel, novelty items and intangibles (NFT). MSCHF (known for its Birkin Bag Birkenstocks and Satan shoes from Lil Nas X) is releasing a fuzzy stack of euros, after their fuzzy dollars went viral with an auction price of $ 56,700 at Sotheby’s. Café de Flore, the famous Parisian coffee shop, brings out specialty coffee cups and saucers, an ashtray, an egg cup and… a baseball cap. Streetwear label Bstroy offers a collection of hoodies and other gear with neon red “Bistrot” lettering designed to resemble a late-night Parisian restaurant. CASETiFY has produced a unique Not In Paris iPhone case with an Eiffel Tower on it, and even Longchamp is stepping into the game with a Not In Paris-branded edition of their signature bag. The Franco-Japanese music label Maison Kitsuné offers branded coffee and PSG, the French football authority, offers jerseys to celebrate the Blues in style.
The whole collection looks like something out of a Latin Quarter gift shop, the kind of last-minute Eiffel Tower-adorned trinkets you grab on the way to the airport for your least favorite relative. Their collaboration with APC’s Jean Touitou on jeans with “Paris” embroidered on the back pocket is described on their site as “an ode to classic and touristy style”.
The reappropriation of mass kitsch has become central in the street style of the Covid era, as with the rise of Zizmorcore At New York. But Highsnobiety is doing something a little different… it’s leaving the big French brands aside, allowing them to take advantage of an aesthetic considered antithetical to the Parisian style. The name is on the nose: the collection is not of or in Paris at all, but you would have to know about it to catch it.