The mission was something out of Alice in Wonderland: take a train to a hamlet in the south of the city, walk along cobblestone streets past tempting little shops, turn left on a street called “hope,” look for a window filled with fine linens and warm light and if the adjacent door is propped open, come on in.
My destination was just as dreamlike and quaint as the journey it took to get there. Located in La Butte aux Calles, an adorable, totally remote neighborhood dense with lovely little treasures, La Clarière is a wonderland of hand-printed linens produced in limited series on site.
But if you’re looking for precious chichi motifs with elaborate affect you’ve got the wrong address, La Clarière’s linens are clean compositions of color, shape and weave that blend romance and rusticity. Be they elegant arabesques on rough-hewn army linen, or austere silver moons on buttery-soft cotton, unexpected juxtapositions of material and motif give a light, modern freshness to the designs. Would you expect any less from an interior designer mentored by Andrée Putman?
“The overall effect is unmannered because of the contrast between the patterns and fabric,” says Canadian-born owner Sharon Macdonald who worked for twenty years creating interiors for big-name architecture agencies in Paris before launching La Clarière in 1997. “When I do my work, I cut the fabric into individual pieces and then stamp it as a composition. It’s like its own little world,” says Sharon.
“The idea is to create an atmosphere that if you framed and magnified would becomes like a work of architecture.”
From bed lines and children’s bibs to tote bags and nightgowns, Sharon prints everything on site using a special supply of hand-made stamps crafted out of un-precious materials such as corks and potatoes. It’s a technique she first discovered as a precocious and crafty kid that she’s perfected over the years.
Since most of the fabric Sharon uses is found at the nearby flea market at Vanves, all of her designs are either unique, or available in limited edition. So if you fall in love with that hand-dyed pillow with the green cloverleaf print, or the A-frame nightgown with the rustic red pattern, you should probably pick it up on the spot. Sharon retires colors and patterns until she finds that right support for it again.
But if that’s not special enough, Sharon also does bespoke creations on demand.
Atelier/shop: 8 rue de L’Epérance, 75013, open Wed & Sat from 2:30pm-7pm, or by appointmentPrices: From 12E sachets to 250E duvet covers