The idea for this trip started last year when my niece was turning 15 and I gave her the suggestion to go to Paris instead of having a party. So, she told everyone and invited most family members to attend the trip.
My idea for a gift was a birthday photoshoot in Paris for her alone. My son, Alex, was going to be her chambelan de honor, and we were going to have photos shot by the Eiffel tower with her parents and her abuelos. Planning for this trip started back in September, when we began telling everyone to book their own airfare, while we were going to take care of the accomodations.
We looked into tours and we knew it was going to be magical. About twenty people were booked in this quinceanera trip!
We arrived to Paris on Friday, March 9th, 2018. We experienced a cancelled flight since our plane was being diverted for a rescue mission, so we had to book a different plane through Air France from Houston to Amsterdam then to Paris. Adjusting to the time change and to the temperature change was hard! We strongly felt the change in the environment. We headed out on our tours, we went to dinner, and the next day, the excitement began! Saturday, we went to the Catacombs under the city. Sunday, we headed to Notre Dame Cathedral and enjoyed Sunday Mass there. Then, we headed out for lunch to celebrate my Alex’s 15th birthday. After lunch, we headed out to the Centre Pompidou, which we enjoyed a lot. There were music, arts, and a lot of excitement. I purchased a French beret, my souvenirs, and postcards. All for my customers!
Monday morning, we woke up early to prepare for the photoshoot. The day was very cold (in the 30s), it was raining, but we still did it! Everyone dressed up and headed out on Uber to Place du Trocadero.
To say that my niece is smart and funny is not just because I love her and say that; it's because it’s true! I feel lucky to be her Tia Ali - the one with the brilliant idea to go to Paris with the family instead of having a big quinceanera party where she’d be spending money on people she barely knew and possibly regretting not doing something more special... Like I said, she’s a smart girl!
Preparations were so exciting! We put together her outfit and coordinated her jewelry and shoes. I found her hot pink dress on Rent-the-Runway; it was the perfect dress for a modern day Quinceanera! She put it on in January when it arrived and it fit her like a glove. I had ordered a turquoise color just in case, as a Plan-B. She fell in love with the hot pink - so did her mom and abuela. Next, I knew that the styling needed to be age appropriate, so we decided on her hair to be in loose curls and her makeup subtle with a pop of brightness on her lip. We mapped it out in Houston two months prior to departure. There was a lovely fur stole that I had brought back from St. Petersburg, and it was a lovely complement to her styling in a cool, wet environment. We had been monitoring the weather and we knew Paris would be cold; nevertheless, not even the Paris cold was ready for our hot photoshoot!
Putting together styling shoots has been something I’ve learned to do as I work with amazing women and customers who want to look great while they do great things. Naturally, planning a shoot for my girl, Jade Isabella, was a dream come true for me! My talents have always been centered around teaching; fashion was always an afterthought; but I’ve realized that I’m good at it and that I should just embrace it! Embrace it, I have.
Written by Alicia A. Elatassi