In Paris, we ask ourselves what are the “coups de coeur”?
We’re back in Paris for a brief two and a half days to see what we couldn’t see our last visit for fall/winter 2019. We expect to find more gems or “coups de coeur”. When you see how we laugh, try on beautiful clothes, and sip champagne at the end of the day, you might think that we are not focused, not serious but you would be wrong. Finding what is rare and beautiful for LeslieJane is a long process. The photographs from Paris are only the beginning.
Barbara Lang is a perfectionist
When we arrive at her beautiful atelier, we are offered coffee, French pastries and fresh fruit. We immediately start the order for fall - following careful instructions from Paul - and we look at each item, and consider, and order or not. At this point, Barbara arrives and explains that her collection is 100% French from the fabrics she chooses to the meticulous construction.
We finish and wander down the street to Khadi and Co and are met by Hiro, our hero who shows us Bess Neilsen’s new collection of gossamer scarves and shawls for fall. Julie, his colleague enters from the back room where she has been sketching the fall catalogue and shows us how to wear the new petite scarf. Frances tries one for herself.
After Khadi, we cross the boulevard to Merci for lunch but our desire to visit this store with excellent in-store eateries is not for purely selfish reasons. Merci is a “launch-pad” for new designers and so we search the racks for new labels. (We discover a few.) Although a commercial enterprise, Merci funds an endowment paying for educational projects and development in south-west Madagascar. It’s a wonderful space on three levels and worth a visit anytime you’re in Paris.
Our next stop was Galerie Vivienne, where Manuelle Guibal closes her store and creates a showroom for Paris Fashion Week. Frances and I always feel at home with Manuelle, Tatiana, Yasmin, and since she introduced her male collection, Manuelle’s sons Sinaan and Yaya. Truly, I could sit and talk for hours with these wonderful people but time is short and I need to tell Paul what is new and exciting. Manuelle has outdone herself. Cotton corduroy, soft as velvet is fashioned into skirts, pants, and jackets and teamed with a fresh black and white check cotton or dotted wool. There is a sportier wool group that can be trimmed with bright colour or not. There will be all sorts of surprises from this extraordinary woman this fall.
Frances is playing peekaboo at the Carousel de Louvre. It’s the next morning and we are waiting for our appointment with Vlas Blomme, the Japanese design house that only uses the finest flax in the world from Belgium for its linens. There is so much, I don’t know where to begin so I’ll show you a few pictures. Please note that if you see anything here that you want, let Paul or Simone know immediately.
In one picture, Cecile and I try on the same dress. No we are not having fun, we are showing how a dress looks in two different bodies in two colours. The next picture shows Mizuki, so lovely, and in an aside she tells me that she has just married a Spaniard and must learn Spanish quickly as his family speaks no English or Japanese and she is visiting them after the fair.
(All the while, Cecile, Satoshi, and Mizuki are trying to teach me Japanese as I will be in Japan at the end of the month and hopefully will get to visit the Vlas Blomme store in Tokyo.)
Next, we visit another Japanese line but I’m keeping this visit a secret until next season.
It is now well past noon and we must catch a shuttle to Palais de la Bourse, try and find something to eat, and finalize our apuntob order. Gaia is as helpful as ever and shows us a few additional items to choose from. By the time we finish, the clock is striking six and we head to a cafe across the road for a well-deserved libation. We splurge and order a coupe de champagne and are also given an unordered but appreciated tapenade. Life can be very sweet in Paris.Tonight we made a reservation at a restaurant in yet another palace - Palais de Tokyo and we don’t have time to return home so we head over and arrive early. We are surprised to see that Fashion Week is also present in this contemporary art gallery - up a staircase and called “Designers Apartment”. I thought it was recreations of designers’ apartments but Frances thought it new and upcoming designers. She was right. This is part of fashion week every year we learn and is described as “an incubator for young design talent”. It was definitely that - young, creative, quirky and perhaps a bit over the top for me, but still amazingly innovative and exciting.
Our last morning we intended to spend three or four hours at Premiere Class in the Tuileries but the “Gilets Jaunes” had other ideas. We’d forgotten that these protesters who lead “a revolt against a political class they view as out of touch with common people” continue to demonstrate every Saturday. We arrived at the Tuileries by metro and went to our first appointment at Épice where Elodie informed us that if we were to catch our train and plane home, we had better make haste - soon the metro would be closed and all roads would be clogged. We had already viewed Epice’s artsy scarves so only photographed the newly arrived wool tees and ran.