Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Richard Serra all over Paris

So I was walking through the Jardins de Tuileries the other day and I came upon a huge metal sculpture. It felt like a modern day Alice in Wonderland maze. Alas, it was a Richard Serra sculpture. The piece was put up 6 months ago and will be removed next month. Last May, Richard Serra created a new installation for the Grand Palais. I find it inspiring that the city of Paris supports these types of works.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

fiac - Cour Caree du Louvre

I went to the FIAC exhibit at the Louvre yesterday. Packed full of people and inside, it was crowded with buyers, voyeurs and tourists looking at contemporary art. There were galleries from all over the world exhibiting their artists. The Prix Marcel Duchamp is located there and the four artists up for the prize were featured. The winner will have an exhibit in the Pompidou Center next year. It is limited to only french artists. The other main stage of the FIAC is at the Grand Palais. What I saw today was really interesting and you felt you were really on the pulse of art that is happening now.

Friday, October 24, 2008

hello kitty - fiac

So by far the coolest thing about being is Paris is all the art around. This week the FIAC - Foire Internationale d'Art Contemporain is going on for three days. Galleries open up and there are loads of exhibits at the Grand Palais and other museums throughout the city. In honor of this happening, the artist Tom Sachs has created three big sculptures and placed them at the Trocadero over looking the Eiffel Tower. There is a 'Crying Hello Kitty', a
'Crying Miffy' and a My Melody. The Hello Kitty and Miffy are fountains with water coming out of their eyes. For more information on the art exhibits you can check it out at

rock n roll - zadig et voltaire

The french really seem to embrace rock n' roll in everything. They have their imitation Elvis in Johnny Hallyday and the women love to dress like rock star groupies. This usually entails lots of black, skinny jeans, a casual top and a great slouchy bag. The store that dominates this look is Zadig et Voltaire. They are found all over Paris and they love cashmere sweaters with words like "MICK", "KURT" and "PEACE" stitched on the back. Their clothes are tight fitting, lofty and overpriced. They definitely have some cute items, but it comes with a price tag which seems ridiculous for the quality. Nonetheless, it is a staple in a Parisian's wardrobe. I admit to having a few pieces, but I resisted the sweaters with random English words stitched in. There is an outlet in the Marais next to Mariage Freres on rue Bourg-Tibourg. It is kind of hidden and sometimes you can find good deals. I got a cute long-sleeve shirt there the other day with some gold stitching for 48 euros. If you have the energy, you should check it out.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

TBM-Le Bon Marche

So today I ventured to what one can consider the Vatican of the left bank - Le Bon Marche! It is a beautiful department store which is well organized, civilized and very exclusive. It differs greatly from its right bank counterparts, Printemps and Galeries Lafayette, since it isn't loud, chaotic or messy. Rarely to you find clumps of Japanese tourists blocking your way, nor huge packs of crazy old french ladies fighting to get in front of you. The store carries the latest designers and the sales people are relatively nice for french employees.
The most amazing department is the cosmetics. They have an entire room dedicated to hair care, an entire room dedicated to organic/natural products and the best part is that you can touch, smell and fondle the products without some salesperson harassing you!! There is no loud trendy music, so you don't feel like you are in Sephora. The primary color of the store is white so you never feel agoraphobic.
My girlfriend and I made our way to the Lanvin department hoping to try on the famous ballerina flats. The salesperson was super nice and we tried on several pairs. They really are the best ones on the market. They have a built in heel which is covered by the leather. The nubuck version was so comfortable, you felt you could already walk the streets without fear of a blister. They run about 375euros a pair, but during the sale, they usually go half price. I have already made a mental note.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

David Lynch at Cafe Flore

I was just having a snack with my girlfriend Mollie today at Cafe Flore, and who do I spot sitting right in front of us....David Lynch!!! Random sighting. He was there for awhile and we could hear his mid-western twang.

Consignment Stores- Left Bank

So today I ventured to the other stores listed in the IHT article. By chance, I was near St. Germain, so I headed over to Le Depot-Vente de Buci located on 4 rue de Bourbon Le Chateau. There are two stores. One store has mid-range items and the other stores carries more luxury good. The second store is where I focused my critical energy.
First of all, it seems all the women who work at these places are pretty unfriendly and can be downright rude. So be prepared when you go into these stores. On that note, let's see what I found!
They had a pretty good collection of YSL, Chanel and some LV. I found some YSL suits for around 280 euros. I found a YSL raincoat for 180 euros, but it looked pretty old. I also found a LV type of raincoat, short, clearly a model during the Murakami rainbow color years, for 400 euros. It is the type of store that if you have patience, you may be able to find a gem, but the majority of the stuff wasn't really of the season and some of it felt almost vintage-y. The shocker was a Hermes Kelly bag, size 30 I believe in a hard calf leather without the shoulder strap or dust bag for 3000 euros. It was in passable shape, but I have found on the internet similar bags with all the accessories for about the same price.
The stores is close to many tourist trappings and shopping. So, if you are having a drink at Cafe Flore or Les Deux Magots, swing by and maybe you'll find something that moves you.

After that stop, I headed to the other side of the 7th, past Les Invalids to check out Amelie par Luxury located at 17 rue Amelie. This store is not easy to get to and transportation to that area is challenging. So, I decided to go by foot and by the time I got there, I was pretty tired.
The store was a great surprise. The saleswoman was really nice. The first one I have encountered at these stores. Her items were well organized, clean and of the season. This meaning, she had everything for fall and winter out. Her shoes were off the ground and put on a very clean shelf where you could pick and choose without bending down. There was a good bit of Chanel around. I found a gorgeous Chanel mid-length raincoat for 800 euros, a Marni wool long coat for 350 euros and another Marni coat for 650 euros. The prices are comparable with WK Accessories, but it is a friendlier environment. She had nice purses as well, but the selection paled in comparison to WK. Also, they have a website which is based in Switzerland and they have loads of stuff.
This store is worth the visit if you are in the area.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Palais Royal

I have to admit, I love the Palais Royal. Not only is it connected to my favorite author's old apartment (Colette) but it is a tiny little piece of paradise in the middle of Paris. It has amazing stores in the arcade, a beautiful garden and always interesting art installations. They have a new one called 'Guardianes' by Xavier Mascaro. In the middle of children playing in the sand and the fountain, you now find a series of seated iron guards protecting a skeleton of a boat. They are placed in a line with the first guards at either end facing away from the boat and the others facing toward the boat. It is amazing. Additionally, the Palais Royal has added a little something new to their normal pylon installation. They have surrounded it with a wall and you can only look into the pylons via a colored window. The windows are at all heights so kids can enjoy it as well. For a garden attached to the Comedie Francaise, it definitely embraces modern art and makes it accessible to everyone.

Consignment Stores - Right Bank

So two of my favorite shopaholics both sent me an article on depot-vente(i.e. consignment stores) spots in Paris on the same day!! I figured I could not disrespect them, so I decided to take it upon myself to explore the conspicuous consumption possibilities. I took the metro to Tuileries and ventured out.
Once one is out of the metro stop, you are basically in fashion central. Not the typical Champs-Elysees type, but the very fashionable area dominated by Colette. The store is right up the street from the metro. So, I walked up the rue Marche St Honore and began looking for WK Accessories.
It was literally spitting distance from Colette. There were some remnants of fashion week milling about since in the Tuileries Gardens, there was an industry market called Atmospheres which had tents all over and had exhibits from up and coming designers. Anyhow, back to the store... So, in the window they had two Hermes bags, Louboutin shoes, Givenchy bag, YSL coat, and loads of other luxury good items. You walk in and there is a round rack of purses ranging from Fendi to Louis Vuitton. I spotted a brand new YSL patent leather muse bag, large size, for 600 euros. The woman said they had loads of brand new bags. I also noted loads of Marni dresses, starting at 400 euros, good amount of Chloe, much of it with tags still on and a good amount of Chanel. I found a gorgeous Roberto Cavalli sweater, brand new, for 500 euros. There was alot of clothing with the tags still on.
There was a good amount of shoes as well, though I didn't really explore them carefully. Most of them looked worn and I am not a fan of worn shoes.

I watched a woman come in with a rolling LV bag and two big LV vernis bags with stuff to sell. She was laquered in designer-wear and you could tell she cleared her wardrobe every season. I got the impression this store got the cream of the crop on the right bank.

I explored another store that was mentioned in the IHT article called La Marelle located in the Galerie Vivienne. There was no comparison. Though the Galerie is beautiful and worth a visit, the store has very mid-range items. You found some Isabel Marant, Max Mara and Comptoir des Cotonniers. I felt that these type of brands you could buy for new on sale rather than go to a consignment stores. The beauty of a consignment stores is to find amazing pieces that; 1) you have never seen or were able to get on the waitlist, 2) they just cost way too much to buy new and in season.

So, if you really want to check out a 'worth the detour' store and you are ready to drop some euros, check out WK Accessories at 5 rue marche st honore. I will definitely be hitting it again judging by all the women coming in with bags of things to unload!!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Colette remodeled

I decided to make my way to Colette today to check out the new decor. It had been closed for most of the summer in order to remodel the famous digs. They had opened a temporary store in NYC this summer during the close. Anyhow, little did I know that everyone else had the same idea.

The place was packed. They had a wall of custom-made sneakers and a walled off row of t-shirts and hoodies. I felt like I was in Brooklyn on acid. The music was blaring and hipsters were everywhere. They still have the great book department and gadget displays. Unfortunately, they moved all the beauty products upstairs.

Upstairs you are still overwhelmed by mannequins with gorgeous shoes and gothic/hipster outfits. It is amazing. I saw lots of Valentino and Lanvin shoes. Black and fur was everywhere. There was still a great deal of YSL bags, but all in colors of grey or black. It is always hard to ask to try things on there, because you feel like you are in a living gallery.

The beauty products were tucked in a cooridor in between going to the art expo on the little loft. One felt like if you moved too quickly, you would ruin their displays. I saw a salesperson using a ruler to make sure all the lipsticks were in the right place.

I fell in love with a Marie-Helene de Taillac little bracelet. They were delicate and in the nice indian gold she is famous for....maybe I'll get it the next time I do a tour there.

Colette was definitely the rest stop between shows for the fashion crowd. Loads of Goyard bags, black clothing and attitude was abundant today.

Private Sale? In the 16th?

After I left the chaos of the show, I decided I could use some retail therapy. I heard about this sale via It is basically the french version of Daily Candy. Anyhow, it was on the other side of Paris in the 16th which is notorious for being extremely bourgeois and generally kind of boring. Alas, I took the metro and got off at La Muette. The store is called Espace NGR and is located on rue de boulainvilliers. It is not super easy to find, but once you are in, it is so worth it.

You have to check your coat and any other little bags you have with you. They give you a clear plastic bag and you are off! The sale this week was Prada, D&G, Marni, Marc Jacobs, Sergio Rossi accessories and shoes. It was a war zone. Boxes everywhere, clothes off hangers and stressed women all around. The choices were amazing. I nearly died for a Prada Mohair coat which made me look like cousin IT, but it was so warm and cozy. Everything was at least 60% off. Since I am presently on a shopping ban, I resisted. It nearly killed me. I tried on a pair of Sergio Rossi bootie heels which made my legs look so sexy, but the sales woman said the gap between my heel and the shoe was far too large. Leave it to french women to tell you the truth. Luckily, they don't work on commission. I left feeling totally dissatisfied but the sales occur every week. Next week is Vanessa Bruno and American Vintage. I can assure you I'll be ready.

You can check out their website at

japanese fashionista


black, black, black

Carine Rotfeild leaving the show.

Natalie Vodianova and Lord Justin Portman arriving late.

chaos in front of the show and good shoes.

Fashion Week!!!

So, here I am in Paris and it is fashion week. I decided to look up what shows were going on yesterday, and low and behold, Stella McCartney had a show not so far from where I live. Alas, I figured I'd swing by to see what it really involves. Wow! I slowly walked around the Carreau du Temple in the 3rd arrondissement and then I saw the chaos. Fashionistas everywhere and wannabe fashionistas. There were also tons of papparazzi. I never really considered myself the stalker type, but I have to say I was really intrigued. I took out my camera to take pics of the amazing shoes, outfits and maybe the token 'celebrity'.

The women walking into the show were all dressed in black and wearing HIGH heels. Sandals were de rigour. Despite the cold, the gladiator type black sandals were the uniform. Bare legs and all. The fashionistas were all incredibly thin. I took a photo of the Carine Roitfeld while she was passing by. Her calves are tiny! I also spotted Natalie Vodianova and her husband Lord Justin Portman as they were trying to get into the show. Clearly the doorman did not recognize them and they struggled to be let in.

Alas, the show only lasted 20 minutes and then people were pouring out of the show. The papparazzi were shooting away. I spotted 'the sartorialist' Scott Schuman taking pics afterwards. He is very friendly and super energetic.

I realized that the Japanese do not just dominate the Louis Vuitton store here, but they dominate the shows as well. They remain a super styled out population.