Last summer I had the incredible opportunity to travel to England and Sweden to stay with some friends and check out some European Fashion! Through the sale of a wedding dress I even got to spend a night in Paris. Here is a brief synopsis of my trip!
July 21st, 2014, I hopped on the plane with my mom and flew to Heathrow Airport in London. My mom's friend Jacques picked us up at the airport and we spend a few days with her and her parents near Oxford. I got to tour the campus of Oxford a little bit and I even got to spend a day at the Cotswalds poking in and out of shops in the cute stone villages. As far as fashion goes, Oxford definitely had some really cool trends that I could pick out. I saw a lot of super "pinteresty" outfits and noticed that butterfly print is clearly going to be the next "daisy print" we experienced here on the West coast last spring.
A few days into the trip mom and I rode the train to London and went to the Victoria and Albert Museum for a couple really interesting fashion exhibitions. The first one was "The Wedding Dress" which was an exhibit of 300 years of wedding gown history. I saw how the bridal silhouettes and styles have morphed throughout the decades and saw some truely incredible masterpieces. "The History of Italian Fashion" was the next exhibit which started it's timeline at about 1940. This exhibit also had a variety of garments worn by celeberties. It was really fun seeing dresses that I've seen on magazine covers in real life.
The rest of the day was ours to wonder, so we did exactly that. I was so enthralled by the vast number of people and different cultures I saw. It was really eye-opening! My favorite part of the day was at about 2:00 p.m. when it started to rain. Living in the Willamette Valley I knew what rain is, but now I REALLY know what rain is. It was pouring like I'd never seen. Mom and I ran for shelter under a bridge, but our idea was not very original I guess because about 50 other people joined us. Pretty soon everyone was talking and laughing and really having a good time! It was amazing to me that in a city of so many people we could all be under there together, with buckets of rain falling on the bridge above us, that everyone could be having so much fun together. Some people even started singing. It was such a cool experience.
The next day mom and I rode the train down to Southern england to an area called Stummerset to stay with some more friends in their home- a 400 year old courthouse! It was such a beautiful place! The house itself was made out of butter-collored stone and looked like something a princess would live in. The grounds and gardens surrounding the house were immaculate with the most beautiful flowers and the sweetest fresh vegetables. We went with them to view some cathedrals and mansions and had a real english cream tea that about sent me into a food coma!
Earlier in the summer I had sold a wedding dress to a bride in vermont. With that money I bought a little side trip to Paris. We rode the Chunnel to Paris where we met up with a group of people for a tour. We got to ride in a tour bus and learn about some history of the city and what we were looking at. Our first stop was the Eiffel Tower, where I bought some carmel gelato (who diets on vacation?) and got to veiw Paris from the 3rd floor. After that we got to ride on a river cruise of the Seine before going to the Louve to see the Mona Lisa. That night we had dinner at a fun little resturaunt by our hotel and I got the guts to order Escargot. They were actually really good! In the morning we had breakfast with one of the ladies from our tour- a little Japaneese woman who knew no french and very limited English. She bought the tour for her and her daughter, but her daughter ended up being busy so she was all alone, so we invited her to tag along with us!
That day we went to Notre Dame and looked around the fashion district a bit. There was one store, Farge, that had dresses in the windo that caught my eye but it looked closed. The door was propped open because it was such a hot day, so I went inside. A woman rushed up the stairs saying "appointments only!" But when I told her that I was only in Paris for a little longer she let me look around. I'm guessing that you couldn't buy anything in that store for under $8,000. I talked to her for a little while and showed her some of my dresses and she said "Why do you want to go to school? You don't need to go to school!" I was stunned! Here I was in a Parisian fashion house and the saleswoman was telling me I was ready to get to work!
Paris made a place for itself in my heart. I was there exactly 32 hours, but I've never felt more at home. Everyone was in love and happy and everything just had a certain beauty and detail in it. I can't wait to go back there someday!
After Paris we went to visit a dear friend of ours in Sweden who used to be my piano teacher when I was little. The biggest wildfire to ever happen in Sweden actually happened while we were there... TWO MILES FROM WHERE WE WERE STAYING! We were kind of scared that we'd have to evacuate, but the fire calmed down and we actually had a great time. We got to go hiking in the forest and swimming in a cute little lake.
Overall it was an incredible trip and I am so glad I got to go! Paris was definitely my favorite, but getting to meet new people and see how they live was a really stretching experience and I wouldn't trade it for anything.