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Sep 2016

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Posts Tagged ‘Chanel’

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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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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Turning Heads at Maison Michel

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The last place you’d expect to find a master milliner is on a small Parisian street best known for its delicious udon noodles and bento box lunches. But authentic Japanese cuisine is just as rare as handmade hats in Paris, so their co-habitation on the rue Sainte Anne is not so odd after all.

Up a winding set of stairs behind a cobblestone courtyard is the discreet home of the renowned Maison Michel where for a price not more than some designer jeans, you could own a timeless, one-of-a-kind accessory that is guaranteed to turn heads.

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Striking in its small, cozy configuration, the multi-room showroom and atelier hums with the sounds of straw weaving machines, seamstresses chattering, the shuffling of hand-written orders and the hissing of heaters baking fabric atop wooden hat molds.

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Occupying the same space since its inception in 1936, Maison Michel was rescued from oblivion by Chanel’s Paraffection division in 1996 on their mission to save the heritage of struggling haute couture ateliers

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