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Archive for January, 2010

Swedish Hasbeens: A Renaissance in Retro Footwear

Swedish-Hasbeens-Clogs

Quickened pulse, dilated eyes, a desperate desire to touch and try. The setting was cold and depressing but it happened nonetheless—I fell head over heels in love.

Wandering among Who’s Next, the stadium-sized fashion and accessories fair this week in Paris, my heart gave out in front of the colorful panoply of Swedish Hasbeens clogs. These were the shoes of my childhood fantasies brought (back) to life. If I didn’t know better, I’d say that the pair of sky-high lipstick red peep toe clogs on display were torn off of Olivia Newton John’s feet during the dance finale of Grease!
Red-peep-toe-clogs

Based on a treasure trove of clogs found in the basement of an old Swedish factory, Swedish Hasbeens pick up where the 70s left off. In addition to the classic clogs and t-strap sandles are modern models like belted ankle boots, lovely lace-ups, sexy knee-highs, and sophisticated loafers available in a kaleidoscopic range of colors.

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WARMI: Handmade Knits from the Homeland

WARMI-jaguar-sweater

Snugly stylish sweaters are the most wanted items in a wardrobe. Without them, you may as well spend the winter in bed. That’s why I dream not of sparkly jewels or wads of cash but of owning an army of grannies who send me a steady supply of gorgeous handmade knits from November through March (yes, it’s that cold in Paris).

Turns out my fantasy isn’t all my own. Sylvia Toth, a Columbian designer who moved to Paris eight years ago, dreamed up a way to battle the bitter winter months by hiring a gang of knitters from her homeland. Lucky for us, she shares the handcrafted gems through WARMI, her artisanal fashion label.

Red-sweater
Launched in 2008, WARMI is a Franco-Columbian brand that blends contemporary style with indigenous craftsmanship. Each collection is designed by Toth in Paris then produced in a remote mountainous village in Northern Columbia by a cooperative of women weavers. Though you’d think the name was just a funky new diminutive for “warm,” WARMI means “woman” in Quechua, one of the last living indigenous languages of the Andean region.

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Paris Umbrella Artisan Makes Showery Chic

Gold-rim-umbrella

I write about some pretty unusual talents on this blog, but couture umbrella maker just might be my rarest find yet. That’s why I’m letting Michel Heurtault, owner of the fabulous umbrella shop, Parasolerie Heurtault, tell the story behind his flabbergasting art.
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“I’ve been obsessed with umbrellas from the time I was three. I have no idea why, but I could spend hours breaking them apart and studying how they opened and closed. I collected all of the umbrellas I could find, and by the time I was eight I was repairing them for people in my neighborhood. Needless to say, my parents thought I was nuts.

Portrait-Heurtault
I moved from Toulon to Paris when I was eighteen and began working as a costume designer. I eventually opened my own company, Art ‘Scene, where I made costumes and corsets for film shoots, theatre productions as well as fashion houses such as Dior. I poured the most luxurious elements into my costumes.

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Intaglio: Artisan Printer Adds Twist to Tradition

Intaglio-Red-Card

Photos by Fabrice Fortin for Paris By Appointment Only™

You’d think that gorgeous paper goods would be extinct by now. But one of the amazing side effects of our plugged-in lifestyle is a renewed craving for objects that are pleasantly tactile and reassuringly permanent.

No better sign o’ the times is the rising success of Intaglio, an independent printing press based in Paris.

Printing-press-Paris

A couture paper company with the friendly appeal of a neighborhood candy store, Intaglio (which means ‘engraving’ in Italian) is owned by Stephan Le Sauter and his wife, Anne. Together the affable duo has turned the rare art of foil stamping (an inkless printing process that permanently presses pigment into paper using weight and heat) into stationery so sophisticated and stylish you wonder how you’ve ever lived without it!

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