3 Days in Paris
There is something about Paris. You land, you wander and then you leave, feeling that much more chic, as if through osmosis. Fashion week this year was no exception. Having quietly murmured “c'est magnifique!” to ourselves until out of breath, we spent a few more days visiting favorite designers, markets, and taking in all things fresh and French.
IN OUR POCKET: A travel map of Paris, English-French dictionary, euros, a notebook with addresses
LISTENING TO: Francoise Hardy “Comment te Dire Adieu”
FIRST STOP: LES NÉRÉIDES,
5, rue du Bourg l'Abbé
Named after the sea nymph daughters of Nereus (Greek mythology for The Old Man of the Sea), Les Néréides is a wonderfully whimsical family of jewelry designers based on the Cote d'Azur. Collectors first and foremost, husband and wife founders Pascale and Enzo use treasures snapped up in Indian markets, New York garage sales, and vendors in Waterloo, Clignancourt, Vanves, and Thailand as their main source of inspiration. Since their first boutique opened in 1980, Les Néréides continues to offer entirely handmade and perfect compositions of nature and novelty.
NEXT STOP: MADEMOISELLE SLASSI, 175 Avenue Jean Jaurès
A recent find for us, Mlle. Slassi has become our go-to for edgy yet elegant hats in vibrant colors.
CLUB SAUMON: At La Belle Ferronniere
IN THE AIR: Brigitte “Monsieur je t'aime”
FIRST STOP: DELPHINE MANIVET, 93, rue du faubourg St Honoré
Her dresses hooked us, their beauty both simple and brave. And then we began learning more about Delphine Manivet, her creative process, and the close partnerships she’s formed with centuries-old lace and embroidery makers. That did it; we were in love.
The quality and history of a fabric is central to Delphine’s design perspective, as is keeping art forms which have played such an important role in French heritage alive. Delphine believes that beauty is simplicity. Her ideal dress is one that appears simple from afar, but rich in details up close. For these details she turns to Jean-Philippe Méry, whose family has been hand-weaving silk thread for generations and is one of the largest names in lace. The lace produced in the family’s Caudry facilities is unique in that its production process has remained non-automated since the company’s beginnings. Every stitch and knot is still overseen by a human eye and is finished by hand.
Likewise for the delicate embroideries and Edelweiss guipure she prefers, she turns to Villers d’Outréaux, whose mills use ancestral embroidery patterns as inspiration for the designs they bring to market today. Each of the patterns in this vast, cherished library is rendered the old fashioned way, by rubbing pumice stone over the punches onto tissue paper.
Delphine explains that her admiration for these graceful fabrics stems from a time when they marked the milestones in a person’s life, such as a wedding, baptism, or graduation. We love that idea that these elements in her dresses are deeply symbolic and chosen with great care. In fact, they’re anything but trim.
PICNIC ON THE SEINE: Crusty bread, butter (wrapped in parchment paper), radishes, salt, Camembert, white grapes, a bottle of Beaujolais Nouveau, paper plates and cups, a knife, corkscrew
MORNING PICK-ME-UP: Café au lait and a pastry from Ladurée
FIRST STOP: CLIGNANCOURT, Av. de la Porte de Clignancourt, 18e
Collector of knickknacks, notions, new and vintage fashions: gather your comfiest shoes, your roomiest shopping bag, and be prepared to rise early.
Occupying block upon airy block of the city’s northern edge, most would argue Clignancourt is Paris’s premier flea market. These bustling booths, storefronts, and tables boast wares, high-end to low-end, and venders who’ve made their living here for over three generations.
OVERHEARD: Les boutons? (tug, pluck) vous concevez les boutons!
MARKET FINDS: For more information about our vintage assortment contact a BHLDN stylist at 1.888.642.4536.
LAST STOP: Charles de Gaulle
CAN’T GET OUT OF OUR HEAD: Carla Bruni ”Quelqu'un m'a dit”
Photography courtesy of Elizabeth Messina, Cecile Burban & Thomas Vollaire.