Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas windows in Paris

One of my favorite things about Paris are the Christmas windows at Galeries Lafayette and Printemps. There is obviously a bit of competition between the two big department stores and during the holiday season, that area is always packed with people looking at the stunning offerings. Fortunately the stores are right next to each other.
This year the theme at Galeries Lafayette was a very pink Alice in Wonderland filled with dancing bears, a crazy tea party and basically pink everywhere. At Printemps this year the theme was Coco Chanel. Chanel everywhere.
Paris never ceases to amaze me. Even the children are well dressed and they somehow match the windows!!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Rose Bakery

So, although Paris has great food, you can't always find great organic food. Rose Bakery fits the bill. The french/english couple are originally from London and they have imported an Anglophone-type deli to Paris. There you find tarts, quiches, carrot cake, fruit crumbles and cinnamon rolls to name a few. They also have for take-away grilled veggies, salads and little pizzas. Their restaurant serves brunch on the weekends and lunch during the week. I had their hamburger which was organic, mixed with wonderful herbs and flanked with grilled pumpkin and sweet potatoes. My friend had a quiche which was divine. They sell organic teas, cookies and other yummy things for you to bring home. Everyone there speaks english. This is a cozy place to hang when you just want something organic and familiar.

This bakery is also in the 3rd/11th hood I was talking about in the Chloe outlet post. And, Rose's brother is married to Rei Kawabuko thus, making this place super cool.
rue debellyme 75003
they have a second bakery at rue des martyrs 75009

Chloe outlet

This was clearly the last sale of 'press sale' season. The city is littered with 'stocks' or outlets, it just takes time to figure out which ones are worth visiting. These pseudo exclusive sales are a good way to get new clients. Anyhow, there was a password and then you could get it.

Everyone loves Chloe. Ever since Phoebe Philo re-invented the label a few years ago, every wannabe 'bobo' fashionista yearns for Chloe. Unfortunately, the price points are usually really high. So, alas, I went to the outlet to see what deals were to be had!!!

The area is one of those 'transitonal' neighborhoods of Paris. It is near Republic which also flanks Belleville which is known to be a bit seedy and not so glamourous. This is also a neighborhood that is becoming hipper as we speak. The 3rd and the 11th arrondissement are the ultimate urban village. Cool boutiques such as Vanessa Bruno, Antik Batik, Shine and APC occupy real estate here. Things still feel Parisien without feeling too gentrified. So, it seemed appropriate that the Chloe outlet was on the outskirts of this 'hood.

Upon entering, you see loads of bags. They were between 500-800 euros with 20% off. I saw some Paddingtons, Bay bags, but no Paraty bags. The clothes were a big mix. They had loads of sweaters, pants and dresses. The price point varied from 100 - over 500 euros for fur coats. Everything had an additional 20% that day. So, for Chloe, the prices were ok, but compared to the other press sales I had been too, it wasn't the best deal. Next door were the shoes. I saw ballerina flats for 112 euros ( super cute!!) heels for 200 and some boots. It was there that made the trip all worth it. I found some cute purple suede flats that were so soft that I couldn't leave without them. Chloe outlet 5-7 rue J P Timbaud 75011, closest metro is Oberkampf.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

the press sales continue.......

So the sales continued. I headed to the Place Vosges in the Marais for the 'Les Petites' sale. It was a miserable day and the line was formed under the arcades. Place Vosges is where you can find Victor Hugo's home, which is a museum, and loads of little cafes and galleries. It is gorgeous. So luckily we were protected from the rain, since the line was equally as long as the one for Maje and it was moving really slow.

Normally at these sales, they do not allow you to try on the clothes. Initially I found it slightly irritating, but after this sale, I kind of agree with that policy. I saw girls piling up clothes in a corner and just taking off their clothes to try on dresses, pants etc. The security detail, which is always present, must have been having a hey-day watching all the women in different stages of undress. I saw an old woman, clearly in her 70's shuffling about with a dress on and her pants at her ankles. It freaked me out!!! The air was thick with dust from the clothes being thrown around, the chaos of the girls vying for a spot to try their potential clothes and the bitchiness of girls hoping to find something before you do. Les Petites' price points aren't the highest and their quality is passable. They are extremely trendy, thus making them very popular. You could tell the difference between this clientele versus the other sales I have been to. Dresses were 50 euros, sweaters 50 euros and coats 70 euros. I left fairly quickly. I was not inspired to really look for anything. The desperation, and the image of the old lady, traumatized me for the day!

The next day, I awoken with the feeling of hope. I was off to the Vanessa Bruno sale in the Bastille. I love her clothes and her quality is amazing. I arrived fairly early and the line was just a few minutes wait. The women in the line were also very well dressed , in that Vanessa Bruno way, and super nice. I have a card to this store, but apparently there are different levels depending on how much you spend. So, technically I could not go to the sale until after noon, but I was assured by the girl standing next to me and I could piggy back on her invite. How nice is that?

The place was organized by color and size. It was so structured, just like her clothes. Also, you were able to try on the clothes, but only where you found them. Thus, no one could hide away with two bags of clothes to try on. The atmosphere was full of anticipation, but since the clothes were a much higher quality and price, it remained a bit more civilized. There were her famous tote bags with sequins starting at 50 euros, shoes for 120 euros and clothes starting at 60 euros. They also had her Athe line which is fun and bit lower priced. I wanted to buy so many pieces, but I made do with a sweater and a cute dress. The desire for my new YSL bag is keeping me in check.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Press sales- Sandro, et vous and tara jarmon

I have fallen upon the strange phenomenon that are the press sales in Paris. I am sure there are several levels, and clearly I am still a debutante, but they are so enticing. In Paris, they are legally 'allowed' two big sales per year. The government decides when and we all wait with bated breath for that day. But, I am guessing that a way to get around the law is to have these 'invitation only' sales. In any case, I hit as many as I could find last week.

The first sale I hit was Tara Jarmon in the Marais. Same location as the Maje sale last week and same security detail. I noticed that this security detail are the same guys they use for the fashion shows. They all wear the same coat and the same earpiece. The scan the store to make sure no one is stealing or trying on the goods. It is a very strange presence. Anyhow, let's talk about the goods!!

Tara Jarmon is a strange designer. I guess if you like embellished girly clothes, she is the one for you. Loads of coats with claudine collars, cute buttons etc. Not really my style, but I did find a nice cardigan for my mother-in-law with pearl buttons. Yes, that type of cute! Normally the prices in the store start at 100 euros and up and the prices were about 60-70% off retail. There were loads of girls there lining up and buying loads of coats and dresses. I felt like a lightweight only getting one thing, but I knew I had many more sales ahead of me!

The next stop was at Adele Sand in the Bastille. It is one of those stores that regularly has 'stock' and if you are a member, you can get in early. So, in the name of research, I joined and I got my little card so I could check it out without a line. The Sandro sale there started early in the morning, so I figured it would be good to see the goods before the madness.
I normally like Sandro, but the sale was fairly mediocre. The style is a bit more hippie-ish and a bit less edgy than maje or zadig. I saw loads of things from last year which was a bit disappointing. The prices were not as interesting as the other sales. Sweaters ran about 70 euros for wool and acrylic mixes. I was surprised. I had been seeing cashmere for 50 euros everywhere else. The coats were still over 100 euros. Nonetheless, Sandro has a very good following and the girls were stuffing their transparent bags full of goods. I bought nothing. The security detail gave me a hard time for taking a picture of the outside of the store. I think they are trying to give the feeling of exclusivity, yet, it was just a bunch of girls trying to get a good deal. I was a bit put off needless to say!!
The next sale I hit was the brand 'et vous'. I had never bought their stuff, but had checked them out regularly in the stores. They are known for having great sweaters and well made clothes. The store was on 15-17 rue Turbigo just near the Pompidou center. The sale was great. Cashmere sweater dresses for 60 euros or if you bought two, 100 euros. Other thinner sweaters for 40 euros. Great coats and really cute tops. There was no security detail and you could try the stuff on. Overall, a much happier experience. I ended up getting two nice cashmere items. I would definitely recommend visiting that store if you are in the neighborhood.
I have two more sales this next week and then I have to SAVE for the big sales in Jan. Let's hope I don't get tempted too much!!!