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Sep 2016

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Posts Tagged ‘Handmade’

La Clarière: Tiny Textile Studio Revives the Art of Hand Printed Homewear

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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.

Plates

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.

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Swedish Hasbeens: A Renaissance in Retro Footwear

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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

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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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Valerie Sloan’s Sculpted Artisanal Jewels

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Photos by Fabrice Fortin for Paris By Appointment Only™

Just like her distinct, handmade jewels, Valerie Sloan’s shoebox of a boutique is striking despite its diminutive size. Maybe it’s because there’s usually no one in it.

When she’s not upstairs with her slowly growing clientele, the former sculptor can be found downstairs in her atelier handcrafting new pieces for her couture bijoux collection.

Portrait-Valerie-Sloan

Looking for a way to transform her love of volumes and textures to a smaller, more manageable format, Sloan switched from sculpture to jewelry in 2000.

“Sculptors are often burdened by the weight and size of the objects. I quickly realized that I could continue making sculpted objects that were precious to me through jewelry,” says Sloan who opened her shop, Valslo, in early 2009.

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