Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Paris 2012: Trends

COLOR-BLOCKING at Bottega Veneta
Trends  are  such  a  double - edged  sword !
You want to know what's going on; what's the next, new thing.  But, you don't want to get so caught up that you lose all sense of originality.  That said, I'm just back from Paris, and here's what people are wearing...
RED at Prada
The  biggest  everywhere /over - and - over  trend  is the
all - black  +  1  small  shot  of  red (clothing or accessory).
It   was   everywhere.
One day I walked behind two women each wearing head-to-toe black, yet each carried a bright red bag.
RED at Hermès
It  wasn't  as  simple  as  wearing  an  all-black  outfit  plus  a  red  coat
....and head-to-toe black means opaque-black tights if you're wearing a skirt or dress.  That said, one of the better ones of these I saw was all black plus bright orange-red hose/tights.  The brighter-more-orangey the red the better.
FUCHSIA at Kenzo
That said, I saw the same trend on three people (within about one minute, one day, while waiting to cross the street near La Madeleine) where a tiny bit of fuchsia was worn in place of red.
What  else  was  big ?     Puffy  jackets !
Every woman, man and child had one on.  That might be okay, but it was also the case in 2010, there were just a ton more this time.  You'd think Parisians would have come up with something newer and better in two years.
Quite a few did seem to have changed over to the traditional pea coats.  These were almost always double-breasted, with gold buttons.  Another big coat trend was toggle-closures on the front.  Tons of those.
Boots -- tons of boots, as usual, but this time they were all sans-heel.  Maybe 1" or less, but really no more than that.  Other shoes -- lots of little oxfords.  I'm really kicking myself now for not having picked up the ones I loved at Robert Clergerie.  Additionally, Mary Janes are still big, as are tons of bows on shoes....tons!!  And there are still a fair number of wedges and super-thick heels.
COLOR BLOCKING in the Marais
Even more confounding than the endless parade of puffy jackets (for lack of better description, we used to call them down vests from LL Bean; these have sleeves.) is the even longer-lasting trend of the pashmina-type scarf.  This is another every-man-woman-child-type of trend.  It seemed to have reached its peak a couple of years ago....but, nope, they're still everywhere!  
 NEUTRALS on NEUTRALS at Curling, rue Saint-Sulpice
When will the good old silk carré make a come back?!  Sadly, no one under 60 (no agism here) seems to be wearing anything but the pashmina-type of scarf, and the gauzier the better!  That "BOBO/bourgeois-bohemian" trend is pretty die-hard!  Garance Doré was recently photographed in a pale gray silk one of these; she also appears to love her Robert Clergerie -glitter- shoes.  Garance is France's go-to girl-of-the-moment, famous in particular for working alongside Sartorialist-founder, Scott Schuman.

GRAY  on  GRAY  at at Le Prince du Sud, Ave Daumesnil
As mentioned in a previous post (Factory Chic with Shades of Napoleon III)  the  almost - colorless  palette  is  still  holding  its  own... that  is,  in  its  parallel  life  with  hot - neon  brights!  This was everywhere -- in both clothing and design...tons of gray...absolutely tons....
A few grays were paired with brighter shades.

 at Hermès (above) and Phynès (below)
Below,  paired neons at Carven, rue Saint-Sulpice (left)
and Antoine et Lilirue de Seine (right)
So, take it with a grain of salt and wear what makes you happy!


Paris Shopping :  Montmartre

for the love of :  Fall  Fringues

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentines!

Love  is  shown  in  your  deeds,  not  in  your  words. "
Fr. Jerome Cummings

"Love   is   the   only   gold."
Lord Alfred Tennyson

"To   love   and   win   is   the   best   thing.
To   love   and   lose,   the   next   best."
William M. Thackeray

"Love  is  a  promise,  love  is  a  souvenir, 
once  given  never  forgotten,  never  let  it  disappear."
-John Lennon

 "The  richest  love  is  that  which  submits
to  the  arbitration  of  time."
Lawrence Durrell

"Death  is  a  challenge.    It  tells  us  not  to  waste  time ... 
It  tells  us  to  tell  each  other  right  now  that  we  love  each  other."
Leo F. Buscaglia

"Love  is  the  condition  in  which  the  happiness  of  another  person
is  essential  to  your  own."
Robert Heinlein

"To  love  another  person  is  to  see  the  face  of  God."
Victor Hugo, Les Miserables

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Paris 2012: Favorites

Just  back  from  Paris,  here's  an  updated  list  of   favorites!
There are so many things to love in Paris that, with limited time, you tend to go back to visit favorite places...but there are always many NEW areas meriting a visit.
(This is really five little blog posts in one long one!)

1.        A S T I E R     d e     V I L L A T T E
Despite some tongue-in-cheek comments about this beautiful line of handmade porcelain, I continue to have a weak spot for it!   I visited the Left Bank  Astier  de  Villatte   shop,   G A L E R I E     S A L O N ,  at  4,  rue  du  Bourbon  le  Château  in  the  Saint-Germain  quarter.   This boutique is run by Carole, who is welcoming and kind.  I was able to find several pieces here that were not available at the other store.  Carole works with John Derian (he'd been in the store earlier that day!) and of course sells his pieces as well.  In addition to stocking mostly Astier de Villatte, Carole carries one-of-a-kind antique pieces.  Galerie Salon has everything you're looking for, and I promise 
you'll   enjoy   wandering   the   tiny   streets   nearby !
Directions: from Blvd Saint Germain, turn onto rue de Buci and find tiny rue du Bourbon le Chateau a block or so down.    
Alternate Address:    173  rue  Saint-Honoré 

2.        Z E N      E T H I C
Rarely  do  you  find  a  shop  where  you'd  love  to  wear  the  merchandise  as  much  as  you'd  like  to  decorate  your  home  with  it !   Zen  Ethic  is  that  place !  
(Even better, I happened upon their  boutique  in  Montmartre,  
just  steps  from  its  church,  Sacré  Coeur !)

 "Zen" is not a word I'd attribute to anything I do design or style-wise, BUT  I went crazy for their merchandise!  Just peering through the shop window, you'll notice piles of  fabrics, some in large (or small!) -scale floral patterns, others in Suzani-inspired patterns, and some with a Designers' Guild-type print.  
All were worth a second look!  Some special details include stitching - in a thread color-corresponding to its fabric - which appears handmade.  Other stitching details include basic quilting.  You'll love their tassel trim that looks like gumballs and their embroidered fabrics as well!  Whether you're looking for clothing or home decor, most patterns/fabrics are available in each!  And, last but not least, this is a smaller operation (no mass-produced junk!), completely envisioned, designed and fabricated in France.   The sales girl could not have been any nicer.   
Put this one on your list!
 WHERE:      4,  rue  des  Abbessess          Metro :  Abbesses
Directions:  rue des Abbesses about half way between rue Vieuville and rue des Martyrs;   Alternate address:   52, rue des Francs Bourgeois

J U S T      G O  ! !
( Note:  Sacré-Coeur in photo;  upper-left corner ! )
Are  you  a  quilter ?     A  seamstress ?     A  designer  or  decorator ?
If you have any interest in fabrics and trims, you can't miss this fantastic block of every shape, size, form, pattern and texture fabric you could possibly dream up!
My  favorties  were  MOLINE  -  one  for  trims,  one  for  fabrics 
(stores are across the street from each other)  -- a  don't - miss!
A  RECOMMENDATION  for  this  area  in  general :
Go    when    you    have    TIME    to    browse  !

"Among my most rewarding finds were the big sales up in Montmartre in the fabric markets dotted around Marché St. Pierre.   I bought fancy smancy trimmings for 20 cents (eurocents, which means about 30 cents US) a meter—I use these to edge placemats that I buy in the U.S. at off-price stores. There were rows of glorious tassels and curtain tie-backs (many could be fashion accessories) and bins of coupons, which is the French word for remnants.  At Reine, the fanciest of the fabrics supermarkets, I got a wool boucle for 8 euros a meter. For about $20 U.S. I got enough fabric to make an Eileen Fisher style short jacket." 
--   Suzy   Gershman,     author  of   Born  to  Shop   series

Marché  Saint  Pierre  is  the  name  of  a  store,   but  a l s o   the  name  for  this  area  in  general  which  stretches  over  several  streets  if  not  an  entire  block...see  directions  below !

WHERE:    Rue  Livingstone,    rue  d'Orsel, *   and    Place  Saint - Pierre, 
You can take Metro Anvers or even Barbès-Rochechouart, but if you are new to the area, you may feel more comfortable arriving via   Metro :   Abbesses.    (It's a fun metro anyhow!)  From Metro: Abbesses, head 1 block north on rue Vieuville, then turn right on rue Yvonne-le-Tac.  Continue on this street for several blocks, and it will turn into rue Tardieu when you cross the Rue des Trois Freres.  Just keep going straight ahead... this  is  a  fun  walk  with  lots  to  see.    You'll see the Sacré Coeur church up on your left.  Rue Tardieu turns into Place Saint Pierre, but keep moving on until you've crossed rue Seveste and are nearing the intersection of rue Livingstone.  * You want the portion of rue d'Orsel which rue Livingstone turns into...only!)
click here for the "Rough Guide to (budget) Fabric Shopping in Montmartre"

beautiful  green way  with  a  view
artisans   and   craftspeople
v i s i o n a r y      c i t y      p l a n n i n g  !
" The   Promenade   Plantée   is   an   endearing   reincarnation   of   a   former   disused   railway   track   into   an   elevated   urban   green   corridor.    Built  in  1859,  it  extends  4.5  kilometres  (2.5 miles)  and  runs  almost  the  entire  length  of  the  12th  arrondissement,  from the Périphérique on the eastern end to the Place de la Bastille on the western end of the quarter. As a linear recreation connector, it now stitches the different segments of the community together. "

"From Opera Bastille to Park Reuilly, Promenade Plantée is elevated above the street for a distance of 1.5 km.    Underneath   the   elevated   walkway   is   the   Viaduct   des   Arts,   where   the   arches   supporting   the   viaduct   were   converted   to   artist  studios,   galleries,   craft   workshops   and   exhibition   spaces, small cafes and restaurants. Thereafter, Promenade Plantee runs at-grade or below street level." -- Rail Corridor
The Promenade Plantée has appeared in various films, including "Before Sunset" (2004) whose  principal  characters  walk  along  the  raised  green way.
   As much as I loved the green way,  I was there for the shopping!
Most shops were open to the public, only a few were by appointment; as always it's best to check any store's hours of operation before going ...you'd be surprised by what can be and is closed on a Saturday in Paris!
What   makes   this   area   special   is   the   artisans   who   specialize   in   their   craft ... items are as specialized as you can imagine.    Most  pieces  are  one - of - a - kind,  whether antique or new, all are veritable objets d'art!  All addresses fall on the Avenue Daumesnil, you need only know the street number...
The  Atelier  du  Temps  Passé,  No.  5,  avenue  Daumesnil,   restores beautiful paintings and art objects.   Créanog,  at  No.  9,  is an exquisite embossing factory, and   Cécile  et  Jeanne,  no. 49,  "upscale costume jewelry and bags."
Mat+jewski,  no.  83,  sells quirky, fun interior accessories and furniture.  His "updated" Toile pattern pillows were listed among House Beautiful Magazine's "Best Decorative Home Accessories" last year.    Atelier  le  Tallec,  no.  93-95  is also worth a look with its magnificent hand-painted porcelain.
l'Atelier  des  Arts  Culinaires,   No.  111,  showcases hand-forged copper...fit for a deluxe kitchen, a gourmet chef, or anyone appreciating beautiful pieces!  Antique copper, brass, pewter and silver restoration is also an offering here, as well as authentic pieces from  Villedieu - les - Poêles.  Generally speaking, prices of these wares aren't low...but lèche-vitrines is FREE!
Le  Prince  du  Sud,  no.  119,  was  a   favorite!   A  creator  of  passementerie  for  almost  100  years, this shop recently moved here from the 6th arrondissement.   Bernard  Serra,  currently at the helm,
 "trained at Studio Berçot in Paris and with top names in the Couture field, educated in the secrets of embroidery and with a passion for Haute-Couture accessories, he is resolutely set on preserving this unique know-how and French heritage.   "To do this, he takes part in the collections of young designers every season and works with the top names in French and international luxury."
Automates  et  Poupées,  no.  97,  is dedicated to the manufacture and restoration of  antique  dolls,   music  boxes,  puppets  and  other  toys
" threatened   by   extinction. "
I also loved  Atelier  Lebeau,  No. 117,  a restorer of antique frames.
Another  favorite   was   Artefact,  no. 125 ,  
an architectural model shop with a storefront to love!
further information:
"From Viaduct to Promenade" by iaintheurbanist,
a history of the origins of the Viaduct to its present status
WHERE:  The Promenade Plantée begins several blocks Southeast of the Opéra Bastille,  where rue de Lyon and rue de Coulée Verte  intersect.
Metro  :   Depending on your starting point/most convenient metro line, you may go via Bastille, Gare de Lyon,  Reuilly-Diderot or Dugommier (eastern end of the viaduct, near Jardin de Reuilly)...Keep  your  map  in  hand !

5.      BERCY    VILLAGE    +     PARC    de    BERCY
Looking  for  a  place  to  hang  out  in   Paris  on  a  Sunday?
How about a place  "the  whole  family  will  love"  or even   "great  shopping  in  Paris? "  Bercy fulfills all of these!  Whether you're on your own, in a couple or a group of people, you'll find lots to enjoy.  What's more, this area remains somewhat French (i.e. the tourists haven't completely taken it over!) 
Bercy    consists    of    several    areas : 

1.    Bercy    Village  ...   shopping !   
And  I  do  mean  something  for  everyone !   It's great for Sundays in particular, when you won't find much open in Paris (except the Marais...another story).   As for the shops -- located in charming, 19th-century wine warehouses --   to  name  a  few :
Loisirs and Création (an upscale version of Michael's), Animalis, a pet store with puppies, kittens, a ferret and birds...Eric Kayser, a much-publicized baker-patissier of recent years; ingredients for a fantastic picnic, or Nicolas, the wine store to complete the picnic basket.  Arteum was great: ... a concept shop with "art in all its forms at all prices."  Côté Maison is an attractive home decoration store and Alice Délice a gourmet kitchen shop.  A tea shop, a comic book store, and Boardriders, a surf shop (my nephew would love it!) a toy store and candy store...Here's the full list!  I had a delicious salad and espresso at the Illy Café

  2.     Parc    de    Bercy,  also known as the  Jardin  Yitzhak  Rabin  
As un-French a 'parc' as I've ever seen (i.e. no structured, manicured shrubbery in geometric design)!   A peaceful, meandering area of trees, ponds, a few small bridges, ducks, joggers and frisbee players, and even a community vegetable garden!
Developed between 1993-1997, the park consists of three areas
The "Romantic Garden", including fishponds and dunes; "Flowerbeds," dedicated to plant life, and "The Meadows," an open lawn shaded by tall trees.  
3.      Frank   Gehry's   only   building   in   Paris   (for  now)  
for which he was awarded the Pritzker Prize, one of architecture's most prestigious.  It houses the  Cinémathèque  Française "one of the largest archives of films, movie documents and film-related objects in the world."
Within close walking distance are the sports arena,
Palais  Omnisports  de  Paris - Bercy,  and  the  Musée  des  Arts  Forains.
4.   A  link  across  the  river  to  the gargantuan  French  National  Library, 
the   Bibliothèque  National  François  Mitterrand,   
via  the   Passarelle   Simone -  de - Beauvoir  undulating footbridge !
Last but not least, take some time to explore the exciting Paris Rive Gauche development just beyond!
WHERE:    12th  arrondissement,  Eastern-most region of the Right Bank 
METRO :    Bercy    OR    Cour  Saint - Émilion --  E  N  J  O Y !

R E L A T E D      P O S T S  :

Paris  Favorites :  Montmartre

Paris  Shopping :   Montmarte

Paris  2012 :   Trends

Paris  Favorites :   2010

Enfin,  Paris !