by Catherine Piercy
Photographed by Irving Penn
With dozens of runway shows yet to go in Paris, you may need more than a good night’s sleep to make it through the next five
days—starting, of course, with a quick fine-tuning of your fashion-week aura.
“Your energy is confused, like a TV screen that’s gone static,” pronounced Junnon Sawamura-Mérigoux—the Hong Kong–born, Paris-based holistic practitioner who has won the loyalty of editors, actresses, and everyday Parisiennes—the other day before the Balmain show. In the two-plus decades since the former dancer suffered a serious back injury that sidelined her career, she has devoted herself to honing her current craft, which includes therapeutic massage, mind-body assessment, and energy work influenced by traditional Chinese medicine. These days, she’ll come straight to your hotel door in the service of treating anything from a migraine to a stiff lower lumbar to, yes, lackluster auras and crackling, scrambled energy.
Here’s how it goes: Each 90-minute consultation with Sawamura-Mérigoux begins with a conversation about your emotional health and lifestyle—which, during this particular week, might well devolve into a muddled explanation of jam-packed show schedules, crushing deadlines, unfairly high heel heights (how is anyone really supposed to walk briskly in Charlotte Olympia’s five-inch Orient Express ankle bootie?), and repeated sprints to Céline.
Nonetheless, Sawamura-Mérigoux is skilled at keeping the rambling and bleary-eyed on track, moving on to a physical assessment of one’s vital energy flow, or chi, by positioning the body this way and that before pressing down on various energy meridians from head to toe. Next comes an assessment of the size and stability of one’s aura (the field of subtle, palpable energy that surrounds each person) which Sawamura-Mérigoux explains can project up to ten, twenty, or 50 meters beyond the body. (Mine, sadly, is lacking in scope and keeps coming “detached,” damn it, leaving me to ruminate enviously on the size of other people’s auras. Namely Naomi Campbell’s.) Suffice it to say, things get trippy from there, with Sawamura-Mérigoux prescribing a precise regimen of daily physical exercises meant to increase an aura’s size (weak ones, it turns out, can be influenced by other, bigger, bossier auras, meaning you’d do well to get yours in shape now). And even the most skeptical subject might have trouble arguing with their centering effect, which bears a loose resemblance to the same principles of focus and breath that have made meditation a 5,000-year-old practice—not to mention with Mérigoux’s funny, practical, refreshingly normal delivery. “If you do them every day, you’ll see a difference,” she promises, before breezing out the door. Get ready to feel the glow.