Op-Ed

Marie-Christiane Marek : A True Passion for Fashion

Marie-Christiane Marek at New York Fashion Week

Marie-Christiane Marek at New York Fashion Week

NEW YORK, Sept 16, 2005 – Some days at a Fashion Week are just full of good surprises! Just before the exquisite Chado Ralph Rucci show started in the evening, we were sitting, together with Julien Fournié, chatting during the usual waiting before the start of any fashion show, wondering what interesting thoughts we could share with you here on this last day of the presentation of Spring 2006 collections in New York.

Suddenly, sitting front row, just opposite us, a familiar Parisian figure appears : Marie-Christiane! The two of us had been missing her, although we could not say we are real friends : we have met only at fashion shows either attending or organizing… But yes, she is definitely familiar to us, as Julien and I have both been following (even before getting to know each other) her TV program « Paris Modes », week after week, since 1992 I believe!

And that’s also not taking into account the week of the collections – ready-to-wear and haute couture, when she used to have a daily show. The French channel (Paris Première) that was airing her show has stopped her program since July last year. Although it has tried to replace it with a bad copy of « Paris Modes », I can assert here that the face of fashion will never quite be the same for us in France after this program was stopped.

Nostalgia isn’t quite my cup of tea, but looking back on these programs, is for Julien and for me, just as for many people now involved in the fashion world, very important. Marie-Christiane’s TV shows have taught us so much ! Not only did she allow us to attend via our TV sets the biggest designers’ runway shows, with her comments, she has also been literally teaching us what fashion, luxury and creativity are all about. Of course, we have also studied, gained experience in the various circles of the fashion world, but our fashion culture would not quite be the same if there had been no Marie-Christiane Marek !

She started her carrer in Paris with a spell at « 20 Ans » magazine, where she could become a journalist in a field which she was interested in since she was a little girl. In the early 1990s, she sensed that fashion had its place on French TV. TF1 and Canal+ welcomed her as a reporter for a time. She started « Paris Mode », at the moment when Paris Première was looking for identification and has become then one of the most famous faces of her channel, hosting her show. She is, to my knowledge, the only TV host who was ever welcome to interview designers backstage and live during their shows, while they were sending the girls on their runway.

This tradition that has become her signature, started with no other than Christian Lacroix and Jean-Charles de Castelbajac, soon joined by Jean-Paul Gaultier and all the other major designers in Paris. Her live comments and reports are famous for their technicity and yet remain understandable for everyone. Marie-Christiane Marek has, of course, become a real friend to many a designer. She has supported them, very often discovered them, she has loved their work, always true to her feelings, she has seldom been hard without a cause. Travelling the world over to follow the designers in Paris, Milan, London and New York, she has also made a number of very beautiful programs abroad (I remember particularly her special number with Jean-Paul Gaultier in Tahiti, or in England at Alexander McQueen’s country cottage).

« Paris Modes » is over but Marie-Christiane Marek still has a very important program in France aired on France 2 « La Nuit de la Mode » which lasts for a whole night after each Fashion Week in Paris. And she is in New York City to prepare another show for TV5 that you should look out for (TV5 is the channel that speaks French and that you can get through cable and satellite the world over, including in the United States). But as this very clever woman could not see a new media arise without investigating it, she also has, for some years now opened an internet site full of streaming videos and reports about fashion events. Without abandonning fashionwindows, you could go and have a look at www.themode.tv…

«I feel fashion is not as fashionable as it used to be» she told us after the Ralph Rucci show, «but the taste for fashion will come back» she continued. As you can see, this is the time when you recognize genuine people, when they are not on the A-list any more but continue to follow their track and support designers. Even at a time and place when celebrities might seem more useful to designers than real reporters, Marie-Christiane is still present and attentive, eager to discover a new talent, eager to witness any designers’creativity, happy to tell yet another fashion story.

We love you, Marie-Christiane ! You are among the very few reporters who have been following runway shows throughout the world and , just for this precious experience and knowkedge, you should systematically have a golden chair front row (or backstage) at every fashion show organized in any city waiting for you ! I only wish I could write here your signature final phrase « See you next week ! » … I am writing it all the same and wishing this could come true again, you never know !

[JEAN PAUL CAUVIN]
Illustration by JULIEN FOURNIE