c.2014 New York Times News Service

c.2014 New York Times News Service

PARIS — On Tuesday evening, in the break in the couture schedule between Bouchra Jarrar that afternoon and Armani Privé that night, many in the fashion crowd gathered at the U.S. embassy on the Rue du Faubourg St.-Honoré (currently without an actual U.S. ambassador since Charles Rivkin ended his tenure last fall) for a party to honor Richard Baker, the chief executive of Hudson’s Bay Co., which recently acquired Saks Fifth Avenue. That morning, Baker had been to the Chanel show, his first time at couture.

“It was amazing,” said Baker, as his wife, Lisa, dressed in Reem Acra, chatted with some of the arrivals. “Just incredible.”

The party was hosted by Anna Wintour, the editor of Vogue and the recently appointed artistic director of Condé Nast, who was once tipped to be the next ambassador to France before quieting the rumors by taking on her new post. This night, however, Wintour was not talking of politics or even fashion, but tennis, most notably the thrilling five-set match at the Australian Open that day, which she had watched in her hotel room and which ended with Swiss player Stanislas Wawrinka knocking off defending champion, Novak Djokovic.

“I’m hoping for an all-Swiss final,” she said animatedly, referring to the possibility of Roger Federer, her favorite, getting through tough scheduled matches against Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal to make it back again to the last Sunday of the Open. (Federer did his part to keep that dream alive Wednesday, beating Murray in a tense four-setter before losing to Rafael Nadal on Friday.)

In the crowd, besides a crush of fashion editors and retailers, were designers Alber Elbaz and Reed Krakoff. Was Krakoff, here a few weeks before he would show his collection in New York, attending some of the couture presentations?

“No one’s invited me,” he said with a chuckle. “I don’t think many designers invite other designers to their shows.”

At 7:57, three minutes before the event was scheduled to end, Chanel designer Karl Lagerfeld bounded up the steps of the embassy, followed by a small (but exceedingly good-looking) entourage. You got the feeling that the party was just about to begin.