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Apr / May 2011
'Icon' with Myleene Klass

Writer: Myleene Klass / Illustration: Gina Abou Hamad

Myleene Klass goes behind the scenes with Anna Wintour at the Ritz for Paris Fashion Week.

Reporting from Paris fashion week while being eight months pregnant promised to be an interesting assignment. The contrast of me as a short, round bowling ball and the leggy elegance of the beautiful models was hilarious to say the least. We looked like we belonged to species from a couple of very different planets.

I was lucky enough to see two of the most prestigious shows in one day. The Chanel collection was staged on a 120-metre catwalk in the Grand Palais, lined with mock coal and ashes complete with volcanic smoke. Let me say that if you're going to go to any show while you're in Paris, it’s got to be the Chanel show. Even the way that Karl Lagerfeld emerged through the smoke to take his bow was so dramatic that for a girl who loves fashion, it was hard not to squeal with delight.

Valentino provided another dream come true, but from a different perspective as I spent much of the time backstage, seeing the models being groomed and prepared for the show. With just 15 minutes before it begins the big names arrive: Kanye West and Florence from Florence and the Machine, Vogue Japan’s editor-at-large Anna Dello Russo, Anna Wintour and photographer Mario Testino.

There may be other big fashion weeks around the world, such as the ones at Milan, New York and London, but there’s something about Paris’ fashion week that makes it that little bit special. Anna Dello Russo says Paris is simply very chic: it’s the place you can be the most opulent. With London you've got that eclectic feel, with New York it’s edginess, but Paris has a traditional sense of fashion with an extra flair.

I met Anna Wintour in her suite at Paris’ Ritz and got a glimpse of her collection of wonderful clothes and several thousand pairs of shoes. She doesn't stay in an outfit for more than an hour - she doesn't want the onlooker or her many internet fans to get bored - so she changes from fascinator to accessories to hat to ball gown. Her shoes are delivered to her directly from Christian Louboutin. I saw her give clothes away to her assistant who promptly fell to her knees with tears of gratitude. She's nothing like the parodies of editors we've seen in movies - she could actually be a big sister. Simply delightful.

The fashion tip she gave me was that women shouldn't wear black because it depresses them - the wearer and the onlooker. It was advice I couldn’t act upon, however, because I began filming the segment for icon in black and had to remain in black for continuity reasons! But I will act upon it soon, I promise.

The arts & culture programme ‘icon’ airs each month on CNN International. For full airtimes, visit

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