Emily in Paris (although I prefer the other title) is not the first fashion TV show to add glitter and spice and everything nice to the realities of being an adult in a big city. In Sex and The City, Carrie Bradshaw could barely afford Vogue, yet she lived in a fancy two-hundred meter-squared apartment on the Upper East Side. With a walk-in closet. For sure rents were more feasible in the 90s but come on. Not to mention Serena Van Der Woodsen having a different purse for every Gossip Girl episode (121 bags - really?). Or when Blair Waldorf visits Belles de Jour and meets her future husband, who is also the Prince of Monaco, obviously.
But while viewers in the 90’s and early 2000s were acknowledging the fact that these TV shows were absurd and enjoyed some healthy escapism, today’s viewers are a lot faster to raise the red flag when seeing something unrealistic on TV: no surprise that Emily in Paris got quite a bit of hate, and as an easily offended Gen Z girl, I don’t blame it.
As an Italian who was raised on bread and 2000s fashion TV shows, episodes from Sex and The City or Gossip Girl that were set in Paris created for me a completely insane and illogical idea of the French girl allure. As an adult who currently lives in Paris, Emily in Paris triggers the prickly politically correct in me. I will try to keep the topic strictly related to fashion, without divulging into the other completely ridiculous and utopian aspects of the show (although it is tempting to judge that as well).
When I first came to Paris, I was scared that my wardrobe wasn’t going to meet Parisian expectations. In Sex and The City’s episode “An American Girl in Paris”, Carrie goes all out: she wears ball gowns, corsets, sparkles, and tweed to go eat “le French Fry” (to be read in her annoying American accent). On a very similar Cinderella vibe, in Gossip Girl’s “Double Identity” episode, Blair is wearing a stunning red hot Oscar de la Renta dress at Gare du Nord. How fitting. I wish there were outfits from Emily in Paris that struck me the same way, but not really. Of course, that’s just my personal taste, but objectively speaking wearing platform patent leather pumps to go to work is already a lot to take in. You understand now what kind of pressure I was under.
Spoiler alert: the French girl allure looks nothing like what we see on TV. If anything, it is quite underwhelming if you ask me. Don’t get me wrong, I wish I looked as stunning with no make-up and a random pair of skinny jeans styled with my grandpa’s old cashmere sweater. So, I can’t help but wonder – is French style all that? (Again, to be read in Carrie Bradshaw’s voice).
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