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Sep 2016

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Posts Tagged ‘Haute Couture’

The House of Haute Couture Sound

Fabrice-Fortin-Speaker-Illustration

Text by Alison Culliford*, illustration & photos by Fabrice Fortin

In a world of crashing bottle-banks and traffic noise, where we cocoon ourselves in our i-Pod bubbles, the revelation of superior sound can be a doors-of-perception experience.

When a stereo-buff friend took me to La Maison du Haut Parleur promising an extra-sensory treat, a visit to an opium den would not have had a more profound effect. We sat in the sweet spot on two directors’ chairs, and Monsieur Gest delicately placed the needle on a record. An oboe began its plaintive song; a cello answered and as the orchestra swelled the music resonated in our very bones.

Luxury-speakers

Closing your eyes, you are not just in the best concert hall in the world, but in the instrument itself.

Bruno Gest is a self-deprecating man, so much so that he would not be photographed for our feature. He has run La Maison du Haut Parleur for 34 years and is soon to retire, handing the business over to his associate Christian Robert and young employee Romain Aubry.

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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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