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Archive for September, 2009

Fashion Meets Art in Erik Halley’s Accessories

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Photos of atelier by Nicholas Calcott for Paris By Appointment Only™


Erik Halley’s business card should have weekend and weekday descriptions.
From Mon-Fri, this adorable Frenchie can be found at his Parisian atelier handcrafting statement-making accessories for the best names in fashion such as Lagerfeld, Yohji, Givenchy and Mugler (to name but a few). But come the weekend, he trades his tools for the turntables as resident DJ of Club Sandwich, the most glamorous and decadent dance party in Paris.

The two jobs go hand in hand, however. The club is not only his front-row seat to the most inspired and eccentric sartorialists in the city, it’s also a stage to test drive his fabulous new concepts and designs.

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Halley has been pushing accoutrements out of the fringes and into the fore of fashion for the last fifteen years. Not only has his wearable art been featured in exhibitions, he was the first designer to ever stage an accessories runway show during fashion week in Paris (see video at end of post).

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Treat Your Feet to Mr. Ho for the Best Paris Pedicure

Fuzzhead-illustration-fabrice-fortinIllustration by Fabrice Fortin for Paris By Appointment Only™

Monsieur Ho is to feet as Yves Saint Laurent was to fashion—worshiped by his clients and envied by his rivals as a master of his medium.  For the last three decades his name has been passed secretly from one glamorous parisienne to another as the best pedicurist in town. None other than La Deneuve, France’s most famous and demanding diva, is his number one fan.

“Many of my clients, like Madame Deneuve, have followed me since my beginning at Carita 27 years ago,” explains Ho, a discreet and soft-spoken man who cares for his word-of-mouth clientele in his own private salon near the Champs Elysées.

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In French,  pedicure means something entirely different from your twenty-buck NYC pedi.  It’s a curative treatment that only a podiatrist can perform, while beauté des pieds refers to the typical scrub and polish you get at your average nail salon. Monsieur Ho is both podiatrist and esthetician, meaning he can cure your feet and make them look divine. In a city where fashionable (read: uncomfortable) shoes are de rigeur at every age, his services bring springs back into steps.

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Meilleur Ami: The New Secret to Simple French Chic

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Stylish, understated accessorizing—there are few things the French do better. Especially the men, and especially when it comes to their scarves. After a decade of careful observation I’m convinced that the entire French male population has been genetically perfected to give good scarf. Believe me, if I had a dollar for ever time a visiting American guy friend asked me to give him a French echarpe tutorial, I’d be a rich lady.

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But the next time someone asks I’ll give my neck a rest and introduce Meilleur Ami instead. Launched in November 2008, Meilleur Ami is a new niche Paris-based men’s accessories brand whose name is its promise—to create designs that behave like best friends.

So strict is founder Fabien Larchez’ criteria for best friend status that there are only two designs in the collection: the perfect bag and the perfect scarf.

“A good accessory can very quickly become your best friend,” says Larchez while modeling his ingenious “080” scarf. A zero-shaped infinity loop made from a sumptuous slice of fabric, the scarf is then twisted in the center to form a number eight and then thrown over the neck for instant style and coverage. (How friggen awesome is that?)

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Larchez, above, uses his inside fashion connections (he worked in the biz as designer, PR and merchandising director for 20 years before launching Meilleur Ami) to source the finest fabrics for his scarves, which are fabricated in a small textile atelier in the outskirts of Paris. They’re all produced in limited series (3-6 scarves per fabric) and come in a smorgasbord of patterns and textures to suit every climate and occasion (silk, cotton and linen for summer, cashmere, wool and even leather for winter).

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Beyond Burlesque: Dita Von Teese at the Gentry de Paris Revue

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When the glittery curtains lifted on the legendary stage of the Casino de Paris for the opening of the Gentry de Paris Revue, a page was turned in the beaudacious book of burlesque. Breaking out of the cozy cabarets and clubs where its best known, burlesque has shimmied and sashayed its way to the fore of a fascinating retro remix and awoken an entire entertainment genre out of its slumber.

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Proof of its elegant ascent from obscure fringe movement to mesmerizing main attraction is the Gentry de Paris Revue. Running in Paris for eleven days (buy tickets here) at the theater Josephine Baker made famous, the show is a music-hall extravaganza whose ravishing roots recall the opulence and grandeur of Ziegfeld Follies and the budget-breaking productions of MGM Hollywood musicals. A titillating tribute to the forces of fantasy and escapism, the show (the first revue at the Casino de Paris since the 1960s) is a series of eighteen dance and singing vignettes intertwined with burlesque.

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“We spiced up the format and gave it a modern edge by making it faced-paced, and by adding burlesque strip teasers,” explains Gentry Lane (above, and yes, that’s her real name) the artistic director of the show and guest star. “Stylistically it’s incredibly modern too. It’s not like a period piece but more like a super fashion show.”

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