Take two: Monday morning and I find myself at Alexis Mabille's show in Paris, sitting next to a woman in a Balmain tennis-ball shouldered jacket and faded black skinny jeans. She is the beautiful, cool, 30-something Emmanuelle Alt, a French Vogue stylist who is the muse-consultant to Christophe Decarnin, Balmain's man of the moment.
I ask her about the recession-defying price of the hit house denim. "Oh, yes, they are so expensive," she agrees, but goes on to explain that they're all hand-made and every last rip is finished in the atelier. "There are so many processes, the dyeing, the washing, the fraying." All this could be done at a fraction of the cost in China. "But, you know, it is all made in France." (Note to the outraged: can keeping skilled workers in Europe in employment be a bad thing?)
Then the big question jumped out of my mouth: what jeans was she wearing? I'm sure Alt has plenty of Balmain denim at her disposal, but that wasn't what she had on the other morning. " Oh, Topshop," she shrugged. "Really old."
I looked over and noticed they were developing a little hole above the knee.