Netflix’s latest binge-worthy offering Emily In Paris might be short on substance but it is big on style.
I binged Netflix’s new series, Emily In Paris, starring lily Collins from start to finish and it was the best kind of Sunday self-care. The premise of the show is this: Emily is a marketing executive from Chicago who is seconded to the Paris office to oversee processes and clients. Before we move on to Emily herself, the producers were already winning with the backdrop of this show. We’re given the most romantic version of the French capital you have ever seen: boulangeries a plenty, a panoramic view of the twinkling Eiffel tower, an onslaught of arrogant but handsome men and 500-year-old apartment buildings.
As for the protagonist, she can’t speak a word of French, she can’t count the flights of stairs correctly to get to her 5th floor apartment (frequently stopping at handsome neighbour’s 4th floor apartment), and she can’t seem to win over with her new colleagues.
However, credit where credit is due, Emily can walk in Louboutins on cobbles and she works social media like no other. I don’t know what is more unrealistic: getting around the narrow bumpy streets in 6 inch heels, or the fact that Emily shoots only one picture before uploading it to her Instagram with a witty caption, when we know the reality is agonising over at least 10 version of the same picture before it hits the main grid.
Emily’s adventures in Paris are silly, and therein lies this series’ charm. The men, the croissants, the flirting are all secondary to the main event which is of course the clothes.
Emily’s wardrobe, put together by the formidable Patricia Field of Sex and the City fame, is punchy. It’s designer bag heavy (she is positively dripping in Chanel), there are bold graphic prints, brighter than bright colours, an accessory for every occasion, including a crystal headpiece, and more berets than the most clichéd of Parisians. It is utterly ridiculous and entirely joyful.
We first meet Emily in her native Chicago where she is wearing white cowboy boots and a bright pink button down coat in a sports bar. (Carrie Bradshaw, that you?) And that’s just the beginning of Emily’s sartorial journey. By the time she reaches Paris (we are still in episode one) the clothes have really come into their own. In true Field fashion, the outfits are quite unwearable to the everyday woman, but that didn’t stop me revelling in the delight of seeing something worlds apart from what I have been living in (a rotation of elasticated waistbands).
As the episodes progress so does the fashion. We see Emily step out in a sunshine yellow printed dress, belted and worn with spindly Manolo Blahnik Chaos black sandals (an elevation from my current office attire of Nike leggings and a busted sweatshirt). There’s a particularly special Audrey Hepburn (obviously) inspired black off-the-shoulder dress worn with the aforementioned crystal headband for the ballet, and at one point I have to pause and check that she is indeed wearing Margiela ‘Tabby’ boots.
Emily tackles her fashion like she does her job with an element of fearlessness even if that means unrefined. By contrast, Sylvie (Emily’s waspy boss) has an elegant, sexy, considered typically ‘classic’ wardrobe that sees the two characters at odds even before their first words are spoken.
While Sylvie’s wardrobe is ultimately the woman I would love to dress like, it’s impossible to not to feel cheered up when Emily and her fashions (and often her misfortunes) are on screen.
While her outfits don’t make me want to invest in a pair of heels, or try and take on a beret (I could never), they do make me want to get up and get dressed in the morning. They make me want to face my day with a bit more purpose than a tracksuit could ever lend itself too and it might even make me run a brush through my hair.
When most of the world looks pretty gloomy right now, beyond the onslaught of rain we are due, the frivolity of Emily In Paris and her silly fashions is just the tonic we need.