Sometimes the more things change the more they remain the same. A case in point; my recent buying trip to the "city of lights". I hadn't been to fashion week in Paris for a while, and as I am ever in quest of the latest and greatest, I needed to check out this most magical (and fashionable) of cities with a fresh pair of eyes.
Paris never disappoints. Yes, there are more and more international "chain" stores, from H&M to Louis Vuitton. There is a certain sameness about their offerings. One could be in London, New York, or Hong Kong. But I never tire of visiting the Hermes flagship store on Rue de Faubourg St. Honore. From the elegant 19th century stone building, to the impeccable sales staff, and the magnificent selection of handmade leather goods, this is a retail experience like no other. If you plan ahead, you might even arrange a private visit to the vintage model of the city, clothed in leather gloves, which is secreted on the top floor.
The genius of Miuccia Prada provided a bright and new highlight to my visit with a fantastical art installation in the Paris store. Executed by, and celebrating, the costume design of Milena Canonero (who won an oscar for her work in the Grand Budapest Hotel) the astonishing in store vignettes featured ethereal and magical scenes, merging fashion and contemporary art. A fitting venture for a designer at the peak of her powers, and committed to bringing contemporary art and culture together.
There are other "only in Paris" experiences that set my heart aflutter. I spent a number of hours at Laduree, dining on the most delectable suppers, washed down with a nice Sancerre or Bordeaux, and topped off with the most delicate and tasty macaroons in the world. Once you are seated upstairs, and far from the clamoring line at the boulangerie below, it is like an elegant private home, each room a different salon filled with antique furniture and art. One evening I shared a few words with Brad Goreski, grabbing a quiet and civilized bite before fighting through the paparazzi to get to the next fashion event. Stay tuned Fashion Police fans.
The shows I attend take place in rather romantic places too. One day I searched for jewelry and accessories in a large room under the great Pyramid at the Louvre. Another day the shows were in tents next to the grand Carousel de Louvre. I did find treasures that were irresistible, placing orders for three brand new jewelry lines for PEARL. The first, from Caths, Belgium will be in store in May.
Its chunky and well priced layering pieces channel the 70's and speak of the African and Ethnic vibe in vogue for spring and summer. I also met Christophe, a frenchman who had abandoned his life in Europe to settle in Morocco, and design the most divine and cheerful scarves. The caravan of scarves will be at PEARL in July, just in time to punch up your favorite summer outfits.
No visit to Paris is complete without tea and a little something at Le Marriage des Freres. Buddha Blend is my favorite, available right here at Dean and DeLucca. But the ambience is ONLY in PARIS!.