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Sep 2016

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Posts Tagged ‘Secret Shopping’

WARMI: Handmade Knits from the Homeland

WARMI-jaguar-sweater

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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Paris Umbrella Artisan Makes Showery Chic

Gold-rim-umbrella

I write about some pretty unusual talents on this blog, but couture umbrella maker just might be my rarest find yet. That’s why I’m letting Michel Heurtault, owner of the fabulous umbrella shop, Parasolerie Heurtault, tell the story behind his flabbergasting art.
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“I’ve been obsessed with umbrellas from the time I was three. I have no idea why, but I could spend hours breaking them apart and studying how they opened and closed. I collected all of the umbrellas I could find, and by the time I was eight I was repairing them for people in my neighborhood. Needless to say, my parents thought I was nuts.

Portrait-Heurtault
I moved from Toulon to Paris when I was eighteen and began working as a costume designer. I eventually opened my own company, Art ‘Scene, where I made costumes and corsets for film shoots, theatre productions as well as fashion houses such as Dior. I poured the most luxurious elements into my costumes.

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Cooking up Ceramics with Claire de Lavallée

Gold-enamel-ceramics

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.

Claire-deLavallée-portrait

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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Chavernet: Parisian Couture for the Modern Chick

yellow-couture-dress

Over the last ten years hundreds of French fashion artisans have been given the ax at venerable houses by number crunching executives sending production overseas. But one man’s trash is another man’s treasure…especially when centuries-old savoir-faire is heaped high in the bin!

french-fashion-label

Taking advantage of luxury industry’s shortsighted greed and indifference towards its own heritage, Chavernet, a new Paris-based couture house, is putting Paris’ forgotten couturiers back to work.

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