Les Docks, Cité de la Mode et du Design, for Fashionistas

What do you do when you see a startling new building on the Paris horizon? You ask friends what it’s called. And if they don’t know know?

You ask the kindly older woman on the bus next to you, pointing to the wavelike, green structure on the Left Bank as you cross the Seine.

And if she doesn’t know?

You walk along the river in the 13th, to investigate.

Les Docks, Cité de la Mode et du Design, a sleek concrete and glass space that used to be a dockside warehouse, is dedicated to avant-garde fashion. Designed by Paris architects Jakob+Macfarlane, Les Docks contains classrooms and offices for l’Institut Français de la Mode (the French Fashion Institute), and hosts designer runway shows.

The space also houses a concept store; a boutique; a fabulous upper deck terrasse; a hip café, restaurant and 2 nightclubs; and fashion expos.

Through Oct 7, see Cristóbal Balenciaga: Collector of Fashion.” This collection of Balenciaga costumes and clothing from the designer’s private collection is stunning, especially in the ubermodern setting.

Also showing: a Rei Kawakubo installation of Comme des Garçon’s 1212 all-white spring/summer collection, “White Drama.”