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Nov 2017

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Posts Tagged ‘Custom’

Cooking up Ceramics with Claire de Lavallée


All photos by Fabrice Fortin for Paris By Appointment Only™

Certain disciplines (music and film, fashion and sculpture, design and architecture) go together like peas in a pod, but did you know that pottery and pastry making were creative soul mates too? I hadn’t either until I ventured into the wonderfully cluttered Left Bank atelier of French ceramicist Claire de Lavallée.


Surrounded by wall-to-wall cupboards, cutting boards and rolling pins galore, de Lavallée has the baker thing going on big time. But instead of turning out batches of rustic tarts or bulbous baguettes, her industrial ovens are filled with glistening handmade vases, plates, cups and bowls in the most gorgeous shapes and shades imaginable.

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Esquivel: Putting the Kick-Ass in Artisanal Shoes


Since all of Paris closes shop in August, I’ll be posting “by appointment” discoveries made during my summertime travels back home in the USA this month.  Hope you enjoy this special summer edition with content from New York and Los Angeles.

Custom. Handmade. Shoes. Say those three words aloud and your mind hops a plane to the fashion capitals of Europe where couture cobbling has been celebrated for centuries. But don’t buy your brain’s tickets just so fast… The special new stomping ground for original, handcrafted shoes is neither in Paris, London or Milan, but in a back alley, by appointment shop in none other than Los Angeles!


Over the last fifteen years Southern California native Georges Esquivel—whose men’s and women’s shoe brand Esquivel Shoes was recently announced as one of the 2009 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund finalists—has built a mini shoe empire to rival Europe’s leading luxury labels. The best part of all, it happened entirely by chance (ahh, you gotta love America!).


Years before “artisanal” became a marketing buzzword, Esquivel was reworking vintage clothes for his SoCal musician friends. An unexpected jaunt to a cobbler in Mexico spawned his first pair of custom shoes. His friends went wild and started clamoring for their own pairs. Before long Esquivel found a seasoned shoemaker in L.A. to build his designs. To cut costs, Esquivel offered to help out around the shop. “He said, ‘sure, take out the trash,’” recalls Esquivel with a chuckle. “So I went from taking out the trash to organizing the shop and cutting leather. Two-and-a-half years later I knew how to make a pair of shoes.”

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Embroidery Art by Justin Morin


These days, you don’t have to be an heir to the throne to justify having your portrait done, nor do you don’t need a royal inheritance to pay for one. Why? Because more and more contemporary artists are loosening up classical portraiture, divesting the genre of its stuffy elitism and stratospheric prices.

That’s why I plan on having my face stitched on fabric.

Call me crazy, but when I find the funds to immortalize my mug, I’m going the way of the needle— and I know who’s going to do the stitching!


For years I’ve admired the work of French artist Justin Morin. Using embroidery as his main medium, Morin makes art out of different types of threads. From chunky macramé sculptures and hand-embroidered stickers to Birkin bags stitched in silk on cotton fabric, he gives a conceptual dimension to handicrafts by modernizing their subjects and settings.

“It all started with the notion of the link; how relationships between people are created, how they cross one another, come together and come apart. The vocabulary used to explain these ideas resonated for me visually in thread,” says the 29-yr-old artist.

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Baby-Faced Cabinetmakers Redefine Their Craft


It’s only my fourth post but I already have a confession to make (and no, it’s not about the cutie above).

One of the reasons why I’m doing this project is to satisfy my longstanding curiosity for people who pursue unusual professional paths. I have never been blessed (or cursed, perhaps?) with a burning career calling, but I am fascinated with those who are—especially when their shtick is super obscure.

Working as a journalist has served me well in this department. Interviewing someone is like having a giant question pass printed on your forehead. From challenging and quirky to just plain personal, you can ask your subject just about anything.

For me, the ultimate “jackpot conversation” is when I walk out of the experience with a juicy slice into someone’s life and a completely new window into the world.

That’s how I felt after my visit to Avenel L, a year-old workshop and design firm dedicated to the art of woodworking.

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