February 13, 2016

Deco Off... when decoration becomes fashion

Café Les Deux Magots, Café de Flore, Restaurant La Société, Armani store, Ralph Lauren emporium,  Eglise St. Germain de Près are all well known places in one of Paris' most popular neighbourhoods. My personal favourite would be La Rhumerie but then again I am biased towards the sunny Caribbean.

Well, after frequenting the area for decades I discovered - much to my surprise - that there is a whole backstage to Quartier Saint Germain dedicated to home decoration and fabrics. So what if the brands might be luxurious and exorbitantly expensive, it allows for great window shopping and endless inspiration.

While I was hoping in and out of stores asking about wallpaper which is enjoying a revival in the world of Parisian decor my attention was caught by an event: Deco Off!

The 7th edition of the annual exhibition boasted a record 106 showrooms and galleries taking part. The annual five-day showcase saw designers, buyers, and international press descend to view the latest new releases in textiles, trimmings, lighting as well as paint, floor and wall coverings.

And boy did they descend... as did I with hubby in tow! Given the public's majority turned out to be Italian, he felt right at home. Not to mention when we bumped into some friends from Milano. Small world. The entire due felt like "Fashion Night Out" organised every year by Vogue throughout the fashion capitals but this time the colours, patterns and texture of the fabrics clearly surpassed the people's clothing.

The European Confederation of spinners, weavers and knitters provided 140 oversized lamps—adorned by each fabric house—to illuminate participating showrooms along the streets of the Rive Droite and Rive Gauche. As if the lamps were not enough, red carpets even provided the final few steps of direction.

Place de Fürstenberg, the epicentre of deco heaven

Rue de l'Abbaye in b&w

Rue de Seine

A bustling café tucked in between art galleries

Little Green, an inspiring English wallpaper store...
competition is tough!

February 12, 2016

Tickling my fancy today...

I might have been carried away by my wallpaper frenzy lately but this theme has entertained me to no end. Less so the rest of my family! I wonder why?!?

Too flowery maybe?

Too skinny?

Too grey?


February 9, 2016

If walls could speak...

Spring cleaning is not my thing... cleaning in general is not, I might add at this point. However, every year in January I get this urge to clean out cupboards and shelves to ease up some space, a very rare and pricey commodity in Paris.

This year my itch to declutter went a little further when I discovered the DECO OFF , a sort of open days held by Paris' leading interior decorators based in the Quartier Latin. Then and there I decided that wallpaper would make the cut this January. Two days later I let myself be inspired by Pierre Frey's fabric exhibit at the Museum of Decorative Arts. 

The exhibition paid tribute to one of the major references in the field of interior design. Founded in 1935, la Maison Pierre Frey creates, edits and manufactures fabrics and wallpapers in the purest French tradition allowing for eclectic styles and inspiration. Just up my street.

Pierre Frey was born in 1903 in Northern France. He started early, very early, when at 17 years old he made his first steps in home furnishing. Pierre Frey became more than just a designer: he collaborated with artists from around the world, transformed the concept of wall and upset the codes of the wallpaper.

The exhibition honours his career but also explains the methods and practices of artistic fabric and allows the audience to explore his most famous creations.

So, now all I need to do is to decide which of the white walls will remain white and what theme will tickle my fancy! Maybe I should start by asking my hubby what he thinks of my new project first?!?

My kind of funky wallpaper

The "ingredients" of wallpaper back when the company started out

Going native... in all kinds of different ways

Monsieur Pierre Frey, the founder, seems like a happy chap

Getting lost in the mazes of wallpaper

If abstract tickles your fancy... this is the answer!

Feeling wild

An eclectic mix

If ever you needed some inspiration

Look carefully at the shadow formations

An explosion of light thanks to a fun interactive motion game

February 3, 2016

Not just another trunk...

The LV logo is known for posh handbags and fancy accessoires. But behind all that bling is a beautiful story of passion and travel. Today it may be one of the biggest and most profitable luxury brands on the planet, but Louis Vuitton's origins are more humble, dating back to a young man who left home to make his living packing luggage for the great and the good in 19th-century Paris.

Louis Vuitton himself was born the son of a miller in 1821 in the Jura Mountains, not far from the Swiss border. The teenager was taken on as an apprentice by Monsieur Maréchal, a box maker and packer on the Rue Saint-Honoré in Paris.

In 1854, Vuitton married the 17-year-old Clémence-Emilie Parriaux and decided to open his own company on the Rue des Capucines, just around the corner from his old boss. He advertised his services on a small poster that read, "Securely packs the most fragile objects. Specialising in packing fashions." Goes to show... behind every great man stands a strong, intelligent woman! ;)

He became well known for his innovations, such as using canvas and glue for the casing rather than hide, which could impregnate the contents of the trunk with its smell. He also offered luggage in fashionable colours - in particular a pale shade he called Trianon grey.

But the big leap forward came in 1858 when he introduced the slat trunk, which was reinforced with beech slats and covered in Trianon grey canvas. This is arguably the first ever piece of modern luggage and is a design that is still used today. It was the dawn of the age of global travel and to keep up with booming demand, Vuitton moved his workshop to the village of Asnières on the banks of the Seine, three miles from central Paris, where the company's luggage is still made. The factory also became the Vuitton family home.

From here, the company went on to conquer the world. In 1889, the company presented a new canvas at the Exposition Universelle in Paris - where the Eiffel Tower was unveiled. This new design included a discreet registered trademark and was patented - a very early example of fashion branding: the pattern of alternating brown and beige squares known as Damier (French for chequerboard). It won a gold medal at the exposition and, since its reintroduction in 1996, has become synonymous with the label.

By the time the company reached its centenary in 1954, the Vuitton monogram was one of the most recognisable logos in the world. Salvador Dalí even took inspiration from it to create his own "Dalígram".

In 1997 LVMH decided to launch Louis Vuitton as a fashion label and as the saying goes ... the rest is history.

The extensive, nine-room retrospective covers 160 years, four modes of transport and hundreds of signature pieces by a handful of Vuitton descendants and designers, all of which portray the brand’s inventiveness and elegance.

A flower-filled beauty case, a gift to important customers of the time

Vuitton’s “Trunk of 1906,” with beechwood, brass corners, patent lock and monogram canvas exterior not only embodies the brand’s history and sensibility, but is also the prototype for modern luggage, making it the most appropriate piece to welcome visitors.

A fun image of Louis Vuitton in Bond Street

Imagine a travel trunk just for your shoes?!?

A colourful trunk ... just up my street.. maybe a little pink missing?

LV accompanied the explorers by sea...

... by land ...

... and by air!

Easy-jet allows you to check-in 20 kg max nowadays.
This trunk weighed 26 kilos when empty!

Travelling in style by train

A modern graffiti interpretation of the LV bags from 2000.

Proof of a well-travelled trunk

The DJ box, this record box designed by Helmut Lang in 1996 to celebrate the centennial of the monogrammed canvas.

A lovely portrait of the young M. Louis Vuitton

January 29, 2016

... and she keeps on running...

Woohooo! We are into our fifth year in Paris and I am still running. Admittedly a little less than in previous years since my kids now go to school by themselves and I was forced to alter my beautiful park route unless I doubled my distance. On a sunny day I am happy to run around the Bois de Boulogne but it is a bit of a hike from home.

Instead my new route passes in front of  the Eiffel tower which is not bad either. The morning sunrises are spectacular in these frisk winter days.

As the iconic Virginia Slims commercial used to state: "Baby, you've come a long way!" but it’s obvious that I have so much further to go!

My new running partner

Just trying to keep up the motivation!

January 26, 2016

Fitting it all into one week

Given that January started off at a very slow pace, I am not surprised to find that by mid-month I am trying to keep up with myself once again. There are just NOT enough hours in the day to cover all the attractions Paris has to offer. This was my week...

"Volez, voguez, voyagez" with Louis Vuitton at the Grand Palais

Enjoying a coffee with a friend in need

Always room for a sweet tooth @ UMA 

A seriously cool view onto THE tower from the Musée de l'Architecture

Feeding the homeless on a cold night

Flaneusing across Paris on a rainy day

Girls' lunch at the Musée de l'Homme, as in TGIF

Picasso Mania: a romantic date to start the weekend

Reuniting with old friends visiting from abroad

Wondering through Paris Deco for inspiration

Café de la Paix for an exquisite dîner

Classical concert at the Eglise de Saint Louis en Ile for meditation on a Sunday afternoon

... and this has not covered the board meeting, the hairdresser's appointment, the manicure, the university info evening, the International night at school, the yoga, the pilates, or the physiotherapist!

Ahh, Paris will always be Paris!

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