CHENNAI: Despite its enormous popularity, the Darren Star-created series “Sex and the City” garnered criticism over its lack of racial diversity. Star’s latest offering, a Netflix outing titled “Emily in Paris,” addresses this while painting a glossy picture of the upper crust of society.
The 10-episode first season is a love affair with Paris. Captured by Steven Fierberg and Alexander Gruszynski, the city is alluring, its people sexy and seductive. But what really stands out here is the fashion, lashings of Chanel, Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent in combinations only the best of the best could dream up. Styled by the venerable Patricia Field, who headed up costume design for both “Sex and the City” and “The Devil Wears Prada,” the fashion is shown off superbly by protagonist Emily (Lily Collins).
For the Chicago resident, it comes as a grand surprise when her boss in a marketing firm asks Emily to work in Paris for a year. “I will learn French,” she says with plucky confidence. And so, she moves abroad with wide-eyed longing and — it must be said — a rather irritating lack of tact.
After a cold reception in the Parisian boardroom, Emily attempts to build professional relationships with her antagonistic boss Sylvie (Philippine Leroy-Beaulieu) and perfume company owner Antoine Lambert (William Abadie). Thrown in for good measure is a handsome young neighbor just to keep the audience — and Emily — on their toes.
Emily makes it her mission to modernize the firm’s approach to social media and inject an American point of view, but is checkmated by Sylvie, who is determined to run the business in a more “French” manner. What follows is a small screen portrayal of a culture clash at its finest. Emily is shocked, but viewers could be left questioning her failure to understand international differences — this is, however, addressed in the series.
“Emily in Paris” is eye candy all right — beautiful women, handsome men and exquisite designer wear are intermingled with romance in breathtakingly beautiful Paris. But scratch the surface and the series is but a set of pretty pictures and the leading lady comes off as frivolous. We know very little about her except that her life back home was boring. If you are up to watching Instagram-worthy scenery and style, “Emily in Paris” will not disappoint.