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Archive for October, 2009

Chavernet: Parisian Couture for the Modern Chick

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Over the last ten years hundreds of French fashion artisans have been given the ax at venerable houses by number crunching executives sending production overseas. But one man’s trash is another man’s treasure…especially when centuries-old savoir-faire is heaped high in the bin!

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Taking advantage of luxury industry’s shortsighted greed and indifference towards its own heritage, Chavernet, a new Paris-based couture house, is putting Paris’ forgotten couturiers back to work.

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Deyrolle: Where the Wild Things Are (Again)

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In the wee morning hours of February 1st, 2008, a four-alarm fire ravaged the most ancient and atmospheric taxidermy shop in Paris.

For those familiar with Deyrolle—a crowded cabinet of curiosities located in a multi-room apartment above street level—the news was creepy, if not totally surreal (imagine all those dead beasts having to go through it all again??).deyrolle-stuffed-lion“The scene had a Pompeii feeling to it, almost like an archeological dig,” recalls photographer Laurent Bochet of the charred and ransacked insides of the nearly two-hundred-year-old boutique. All of the furniture had gone up in smoke, an entire room was missing a ceiling, and close to 90% of the historic inventory was now a pile of smoking cinders.

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Guy Chanel: The One-Man Luxury Brand

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When Oprah got snubbed by Hermès a few years ago she should have immediately rung Chanel. Not Chanel, as in Coco Chanel, but Guy Chanel (yes, you heard me right).

Guy Chanel is a lone ranger on the high plains of fashion and home accessories. Working alone out of his atelier on the outskirts of Paris, he handcrafts a variety of one-of-a-kind designs using leather, crocodile, ostrich and other fine skins.

Guy-Chanel-Portrait

From saddles, handbags and wallets to belts, briefcases and even lamps, every Chanel creation is made-to-measure and constructed by hand using artisanal tools and techniques (ask him to show you the giant wooden tweezer he uses to hold small things in place when he sews).

By keeping production slow and steady, his solo operation turns out discreet, logo-less products of unparalleled quality and detail that are built to last several lifetimes.

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Fine Art Azulejos by Maria De Morais

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Photos by Nicholas Calcott for Paris By Appointment Only™

Despite distance traveled or time lived abroad, an expatriate’s cultural roots are remarkably resilient. With the accumulated weight of new experiences and customs pushing them deeper underground, they become more organized, focusing their strength on their most distinctive features.

As any expat will tell you, these gnarly little buggers can sprout up out of nowhere. For Maria De Morais (aka Milu Cachat), a Portuguese artist who has lived in Paris for thirty years, her cultural heritage caught her by surprise, not in her subjects, but in the shapes of her paintings.

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“Someone stopped by my studio and saw all of my paintings laid out on the ground and said ‘no doubt you are Portuguese, these look like azulejos,’” laughs De Morais while admiring the vibrant grid of colors at her feet. “I hadn’t realized it at first, but the paintings are perfect squares, just like the ceramic tiles that Portugal is famous for.”

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