While returning early Sunday afternoon from the Luxembourg Garden, where I had given our “Black History in and around the Luxembourg” walk to two clients, I passed by four young women sporting French berets. Judging from the pleased look on their faces, I gathered that that they had just purchased the hats and asked if they would pose for a photograph. All four of them are from Sao Paulo, Brazil, and they were having a fabulous time in Paris!
Archive for the ‘fashion’ Category
I stopped at a stand that was selling pendant earrings from Ghana and Kenya. On display was beautiful jewelry made from banana leaves (Ghana), and coconut shells and zébu horns (Kenya).
Abdel Nasser Diallo from Guinea told me that he makes the rounds of exhibitions to sell his products. Later, I learned that he also exhibits at pop-up stores. His products can be viewed on-line at the following link: https://www.instagram.com/noorart.gh/.
And I met Samiratou Tabé at another stand. Before launching a career as a fashion designer, Samiratou, who hails from Benin, studied economics and political science at the University of Montreal.
Samiratou’s apparel can be viewed here: https://www.instagram.com/yourodam/. I learned that the name of her company, Ô’dam, means “pretty” in the Fodo language, a dialect in the north of Benin.
Axelle, pictured above, was modeling one of Samiratou’s creations.
Next…behind-the-scene photos of the fair.
The first stand I visited exhibited hand-crafted jewelry by Albassane Ag Agaly, a member of the Touareg ethnic group in Mali. He received a certificate of recognition for his jewelry from UNESCO in 2000.
Next, I came upon Esther, from the Central African Republic. She was selling a number of items: hats made in Madagascar from raffia; bags made from raffia by prisoners in Cameroon; shirts from the Central African Republic. Esther was selling these items to raise money and awareness for the non-governmental organization Femmes en Danger, “whose objective is to fight against the impunity of perpetrators of violence against women in times of peace as well as in times of war in Africa in general and in Central Africa.” (My translation.)
I returned to Esther’s stand on Sunday afternoon, and she showed me more hand-crafted products that had not been on display on Friday. In the photographs above, she shows a necklace made from the fruit of bamboo, which is called “pierres végétales” (vegetable rocks) and a doll, both made in the Central African Republic.
Next…more vendors and exhibitors.
Following the music and dancing, six models exhibited the ready-to-wear clothing of Martinican fashion designer Mireille Barclais.
Cressylia, who hails from Martinique, was elected Première Dauphine at the Miss Multicolor France pageant this year. Read more about her (in French) here.
Balbina, who hails from Togo, was elected Miss Togo France Europe in 2015. Read more about her here.
Dialel hails from Senegal. She was finalist in the Miss Senegal France pageant for 2016.
Koudia hails from Senegal.
Cressylia’s daughter and son took the stage to model children’s wear.
At the end of the fashion show, Mireille Barclais came on stage to acknowledge the audience’s appreciation of her beautiful clothes.
Next…food and beverage at the fair.
Two weeks ago, we got an invitation to attend Sarah Rozenbaum’s open house at the Marché aux Puces – the famous flea market that lies in Saint-Ouen, just outside the Paris city limits to the north. She had opened a second vintage clothing store and was inviting us to come by and see the new shop. Having written about her shop back in January 2013, I was eager to return to see what she was up to. Also, I thought that it would be a good occasion to dine in one to the restaurants around the flea market after we had visited her boutique.
We arrived on a Friday evening and saw that the open house was a special market-wide event. Called “Voyage au Centre des Puces,” it had been organized around the theme of travel and was open only to those who received an invitation. We didn’t linger in the other boutiques, though – we headed straight for Sarah’s.
Located in a covered passage, appropriately called “Le Passage,” Sarah’s vintage clothing store stretches along three-quarters of a city block. Back in 2013, I wrote that “mannequins dressed in 20th century garb display feathery hats, flappers’ skirts, elegant gowns, frilly dresses, colorful capes, and chic purses…it’s all there for the shopper who wants to dress in yesterday’s styles. Most of the selection is for women, but men’s clothes are displayed as well.” When we arrived at her shop on this recent Friday evening, we discovered that the newly opened second shop lay just across the alley from the first. It was just as long (three-quarters of a city block), but the major difference was that here she sells a wide selection of vintage men’s clothing as well as women’s clothing and fabrics.
We decided to concentrate our exploration on the men’s clothing, and we found lots of handsome attire to admire.
I could see myself sporting one of these top hats and strutting into Les Deux Magots to order a double bourbon.
I’d need a pair of striped trousers, though, to do justice to the style of the hat.
This jacket looks as though it will go well with the trousers.
I neglected to look at shirts, but I saw that there was a wide selection of ties, priced at only 5€ each! I was sure to find one that complemented the top hat, jacket, and trousers. Perhaps a bow tie would better suit the style? I didn’t see any around.
Back home, in the evening, I’d doff the top hat and wear this dressing gown.
An Amos Sulka & Company house robe, priced at “only” 400€, no less! Though likely a bargain (Sulka closed in 2001), I would have still have to think twice before putting out that much money.
Realizing that the cost of dressing like a dandy was beyond my means, I left the shop with my partner and headed for our next destination: a nearby restaurant called La Puce. Read our account of this fine eating establishment in this week’s Paris Insights restaurant review.
18, rue Jules Vallès or 27, rue Lécuyer
Metro: Porte de Clignancourt (Line 4)
Open all day Saturday, Sunday, and Monday and by appointment Wednesday through Friday.
While exploring the area around the Château Rouge neighborhood to gather information for our guided “Spirit of Africa” tour, we came upon Jocelyn Armel at his shop Sape & Co at 12, rue de Panama. Hailing from Congo Brazzaville, Mr. Armel sells men’s clothes in the style of sapeurs from that country. The acronym “SAPE” means Société des Ambianceurs et des Personnes Elégantes (Society of Poseurs and Elegant People), and a sapeur is a man whose devotes his life to elegant dress.
Mr. Armel told us that his clothes are imported from Italy. Sape & Co, whose full name is “Sape & Connivence,” is open every day except Sunday from 11:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m.
On Saturday, March 2 I stepped aboard a boat for a fashion cruise down the central canal of Paris. Organized by Seine-Saint-Denis Tourisme the 3½-hour cruise was an opportunity to learn about the history of the textile industry along the canal as well as listen to two presentations about fabric design and watch a parade of fashions created by a young designer.
Our boat left a dock in the town of Pantin and proceeded southward along the Canal de l’Ourcq towards Paris. Along the way, architect and historian Patrick Bezzaloto gave running commentary about the industrial buildings that we passed by. For example, he pointed out the blanchisserie Elis, a company that furnishes uniforms for the hotel and restaurant industry, and the usine Lefaux that once manufactured jute bags used for packaging agricultural products.
Next, fabric designer Alice Laroche gave a demonstration of serigraph printing, a method of using a stencil to apply ink onto fabric. Some of her clients include Maison Georgette (accessories and decoration), Tout Compte Fait (children’s wear), LeSportsac (handbag, luggage, and accessories), Obaïbi (infant wear), and Leroy Merlin (home improvement).
Textile designer Caroline de Tugny gave a talk about her work in creating period costumes for the cinema. She has worked for such productions as Le Pacte des Loups by Christophe Gans, Le Parfum by Jean-Jacques Annaud, and Potiche by François Ozon. She is currently working on Luc Besson’s new film Malavita.
After the boat passed through the Bassin de la Villette, we entered into the Canal Saint Martin. At that point the fashion show began. Models paraded down the central isle of the boat wearing the latest designs by 19-year-old stylist Fahaid Sanober.
Of Pakistani and Moroccan origin, Sanober hails from the nearby town of La Courneuve. He became interested in fashion at the age of 14 when he saw a show on television of the fashion designs of John Galliano. He declares that he finds inspiration in strong, independent women who made an impact in history, such as Josephine Baker and Bonnie Parker.
Following the fashion show, our boat docked at the Port de l’Arsenal, just south of Place de la Bastille. It was a fascinating excursion!
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Sarah Rozenbaum sells vintage fashion at her store in the Saint-Ouen flea market, just outside of Paris. Mannequins dressed in 20th century garb display feathery hats, flappers’ skirts, elegant gowns, frilly dresses, colorful capes, and chic purses…it’s all there for the shopper who nurtures a passion for yesterday’s styles.
Read about Sarah and her shop in this month’s Paris Insights newsletter.
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Last Monday we received an invitation to attend a chic cocktail party at the Kenzo boutique located in the posh “Golden Triangle” district just off the Champs-Elysées. Following Monique’s heady rise to instant celebrity status after her all too-brief appearance on 60 Minutes, we were ready for another shot at stardom.
We arrived at the appointed time and place and were greeted by two lovely ladies who explained that we could get our photograph taken. Chic!
Monique stepped up to the Kenzo backdrop to get her photograph taken. The brilliance of the paparazzi flash cameras going off all at once was blinding, and she was momentary disoriented.
It only took her a minute to regain her composure. She has learned quickly how to adapt to fame!
Then I stepped up, looking as cool as can be in my Club Room cotton shirt, Banana Republic corduroy trousers, Royal Mer Bretagne wool sweater, Gold Toe socks, and Rockport shoes. But where were the paparazzi?
After the photo shoot, I thought that I had really looked cool, until two guys dressed in Kenzo fashions stepped up…
…looking much cooler than I could ever hope to look. Coolness is so fleeting!
Feeling chagrined, I went over and got a glass of champagne. It wasn’t just any champagne, it was Mumm. Chic!
Then we nibbled on fancy hors d’œuvres. Chic!
In the women’s department I saw a pair of chic shoes that would look good on the feet of a leggy mistress. General Petraeus, are you listening?
We looked at men’s fashion. I saw a jacket that I liked, as well as a shirt. The jacket cost 800€ and the shirt 165€. That’s way more than I can afford to pay! Maybe fortune will come with fame. Then I can buy it!
It was a fun evening, mingling with the chic and cool crowd. Thank you Kenzo for the invitation to your psy-chic cocktail!
51, avenue George V
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Every young designer probably dreams of receiving a huge check one day from sponsors to boost a fledgling clothing or jewelry line. Last week the dream came through for designing duo Annelie Augustin and Odély Teboul (known as Augustin Teboul), who won the second Dorchester Collection Fashion Prize and a check of 30,000€ in Paris.
The Dorchester Collection is a group of hotels that includes the iconic Plaza Athénée on avenue Montaigne in the French capital, the Hotel Principe de Savoia in Milan, and The Dorchester in London. As the hotels are located in three of the fashion centers of the world, their managers decided that sponsoring fashion would be a good fit for the group.
“We’re very much aware that young designers sometimes struggle at the beginning of their business, and those first years are very important, so we’ve been looking to help these designers, particularly with their first collection,” said Julia Record, director of communications for the Dorchester Collection.
“Hopefully that 30,000€ check will allow them to take that next step forward and help to provide a global platform,” she told Paris Insights.
Dorchester Collection’s chief executive officer Christopher Cowdray added that the group was “inspired by the creativity coming to the fore.” He said the group was confident that the winners would have a “thriving career.”
The contestants for the prize had to meet certain criteria, the organizers said. They had to have managed their brand for at least two years, they had to be based in France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, or Switzerland, and they had to show “original flair, a possibility for commercial distinction as well as reflecting the values of the Dorchester Collection — heritage, craftsmanship, individuality, creativity, and innovation,” Record said.
The five finalists displayed their creations at a catwalk show on prize night, which took place this year at the Plaza Athénée. The luxury hotel dates from 1913 and boasts of having been the favorite hangout of luminaries such as Josephine Baker, Maurice Chevalier, and Christian Dior. The young designers did their best to channel this history.
Ranging from classic outfits to an edgy gangster look, the collections delighted spectators and the panel of judges that included Elizabeth Saltzman, contributing editor to Vanity Fair; Kenzo Takada, founder of Kenzo; and Nathalie Rykiel, CEO of Sonia Rykiel.
The loudest applause went to Quentin Veron, a thin, tattooed designer who drew on his fascination with fur, the gangster era, and the Middle Ages to present a striking collection, with models in stockings, hats, and fur vests. He seemed the front-runner, but after a deliberation period, the judges agreed that the collection displayed by Augustin Teboul best evoked the spirit of “individuality, luxury, style, and craftsmanship, which characterizes Dorchester Collection’s iconic hotels.” The duo’s work also demonstrated critical distinction and the potential for future commercial success, the organizers said.
“It’s been a really great competition,” Veron told Paris Insight. “The other designers were really good too, so it has been very interesting. Even though I didn’t win, I’m of course going to continue my work.”
As well as receiving an engraved Baccarat crystal trophy, the winners will be able to stay at a Dorchester Collection property in either Paris or Milan during spring Fashion Week 2013.
We wish to thank A. D. McKenzie for her contribution to the Paris Insights blog.