Story by Tory Hoen, HiP Paris Correspondent. Photos by Paris in Pink.
Casual shoppers, beware. The French sales are just around the corner and many a French fashionista is getting ready to pounce on items she has secretly coveted all Fall. In all honesty, though, the soldes are often the one moment of fashion folly many Parisiennes allow themselves. For decades, one market has proven remarkably resistant to passing trends: Paris. Despite jumping at the occasional fad (the Balmain-inspired shoulder pad, the hardware-adorned gladiator sandal), Parisian shoppers — both young and old — follow certain cardinal rules in their shopping habits, year-in and year-out. (more…)
Story and photos by Lindsey Tramuta of Lost In Cheeseland
Throughout history, creative individuals have flocked to Paris in search of inspiration to refine and evolve their craft. Monet, Picasso, Dali, Josephine Baker, Langston Hughes, Miles Davis, and most recently, Lenny Kravitz. Lured by the city’s beauty, cultural diversity and widely supported art scene, all types of artists – from writers and painters to musicians and photographers – make Paris home for an inexplicable sense of creative freedom and energy unlike anything they’ve ever felt before.
Designers and stylists also reap the benefits of being in a city where fashion is a crucial component of everyday life and where they may be surrounded by some of the world’s greatest and most influential fashion powerhouses. It’s easy to understand why emerging designers would want to introduce their collections in one of the fashion capitals of the world to the savviest and most discerning of consumers.
Unfortunately, much of what is available in the way of unique, quality apparel and accessories will max out the average woman’s budget. Enter Kasia Dietz- a former ad girl and authentic New Yorker with an unrelenting passion for design and an infectious love for travel. The Kasia Dietz collection of bags and totes is affordable, wearable art with motifs inspired by her travels, minimalist art and 70’s prints designed by her mother; truly one-of-a-kind creations. I sat down with Kasia at a local café for an espresso and a tête-à-tête to find out more about how she got into designing, her recent re-launch and the hurdles she has come across bringing her brand to Paris.
Lindsey Tramuta: You were an art buyer in the fast-paced world of advertising in NYC. What motivated you to launch a side project, more specifically, a line of bags?How is designing and producing your pieces in Paris different than in NYC? Any specific challenges that surprised you?
Kasia Dietz: In NYC I found a manufacturer through a friend, showed him my samples and began production. I had no prior knowledge or experience of the garment industry, but soon found my way. In Paris, quite a different story. My greatest barrier aside from the language, is the closed nature of the people and the difficulty in making the necessary contacts. Many an afternoon I spent in this search, following the hum of sewing machines, and often being met with a ‘ce n’est pas possible’. While in NYC, it seemed that everything ‘is possible’. These ‘adventures’ between the garment districts of Montmartre and the Sentier provoked me to create my own patterns and samples, and I even began cutting fabric at home. Finally, with a lot of persistence and a little luck, I found the manufacturer I was in search of, and production began, leading to my new collections.
In terms of designing, since living in Paris I have expanded my collections to reflect the need for an all-day fashion savvy yet practical handbag. Additionally, I welcomed the international fabric selection which suits my most recent travel tastes
LT: Paris fashion is known for being on the more discreet side of the color spectrum – lots of black, white, navy, beige, gray with only hints of color. What is your strategy for attracting the French market to a more vibrant and colorful line of accessories?
KD: I have noticed that Parisian women make a statement with their accessories, carefully chosen much like a work of art. In this manner they create their individual style. My handbags and accessories definitely draw attention while serving to compliment a more discreet color palette. My strategy is to appeal to this fashionable elite, considering each bag is one-of-a-kind. Additionally, the reversibility factor tailors to an eccentric side as well as to the discreet side of a ‘Parisian’ woman.
LT: Within only a couple weeks of re-launching, your bags can already be found on the UK-based online boutique Not On the High Street and Swelle Boutique. What are your plans for further distribution?
KD: I’m thrilled to already have so much interest in my new collections. My plans are to continue selling in major cities around the world as well as expanding distribution to smaller towns and beach resorts frequented by an international fashion-savvy clientèle. After all, it’s life in a big city combined with my affinity for small villages that serve as inspiration for my designs.
LT: Out of all the bags in your latest collection, which best reflects this Parisian chapter in your life?
KD: Since I fell in love with Paris many years ago, I have always been drawn to the right bank for it’s history and elegance. I may very well cross the river in time, but for the moment ‘rive droite’ from the Paris Collection best represents this chapter of my life. Perhaps a ‘le haute marais’ bag would make an even stronger statement!
Kasia Dietz’s fabulous totes and bags are available for sale at shop.ParisienSalon.com.
Story by Richard Nahem, Eye Prefer Paris Correspondent
On rue Pasquier, on the same block as Chajin Tea, I discovered another dandy shop. Les Dandys is a bespoke shop for men, offering suits, jackets, shirts, pants and coats. It’s one of those shops where everything is Paris perfect: the impeccable suits; the crisp, cotton shirts in soothing colors; the soft cashmere ties; the spare, stylish decor; and the neat, young owners, Sylvan and Antoine. (more…)
Story by Linda Donahue
While riding on the Métro last month, I shared a car with at least a dozen tourists from around the world. Russians. Japanese. Aussies. Americans. The one thing they all had in common was that they looked like tourists. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Still, the uniform has become easy to recognize. Sneakers that belong in the gym, not on the street. A camera around the neck or in a nylon camera bag. A fanny pack. A fold-out map. While these items are all clearly practical, let’s face it: they aren’t very fashionable. (more…)
Last winter, I was strolling through the Place des Vosges, when I came upon a seemingly endless line of women snaking around the walkway. I wondered what could possibly inspire these women to wait patiently in the cold. Was Johnny Depp offering free massages inside? As it turns out, a designer had opened her showroom to the public, and these fashionable females were simply waiting to get their hands on the fine frockery inside. (more…)
By Sophie Delon
In Paris, the fashion trend of the moment is having your own personal shopper. From the city’s grands magasins to independent fashion advisors, there’s no shortage of creative alternatives to traditional shopping. (more…)
Story and Interview by Linda Donahue
Mireille Nagourney believes that every woman should have five of each season’s essential pieces in her wardrobe. She calls them the “five must-haves.” The founder of Je Ne Sais Quoi (JNSQ), a unique, multi-brand e-boutique, further offers that it’s the combination of edgy-yet-elegant accessories that adds that certain, well, je ne sais quoi to anyone’s personal style. And this is the key to Paris style. (more…)
Story and photos by Linda Donahue
Fashion shouldn’t be intimidating, at least not according to Nathalie Bui. The petite fashionista spent ten years working with her sister, the European designer Barbara Bui, all the while cultivating her own sense of style. And now she’s bringing her creative energy to the Paris fashion scene with the opening of her own boutique, make my d. (more…)
Story by Linda Donahue
Fashionistas in Paris have discovered a relatively new mecca on the rue des Rosiers in the Marais. That’s where global budget fashion group H&M opened a new store at the end of March, launching a new fashion concept combining the meticulous attention to detail of ready-to-wear design with down-to-earth pricing. (more…)
Story by Julie Blakley, Why Go Paris for Haven in Paris
Despite the fact that I have an ample amount of French blood pumping through my veins, I still find myself to be the fashion and style inferior to all the fabulously dressed French women when I’m traveling in France. After living in Paris through the winter, and doing enough shopping while I was there, I learned a great deal about how to dress so I wouldn’t look like a tourist when I was going to class, sipping my cappuccino or shopping. Here are a few tips on excellent winter wear in France, so you won’t stick out quite so much when walking the streets of Paris, visiting the vineyards of the Loire or bundling up in the mountains of the Alps. (more…)
Edited by Linda Donahue
A Paris concept store offering a combination of fashion, interior decoration and design, L’Éclaireur has opened a new space at 40 de la rue de Sévigné, in the Marais. Spanning over 5375 square feet, the women’s collections include prestigious brands like Lanvin and Balmain and, in keeping with its avant-garde reputation, numerous designer brands, such as Dries Van Noten, Gianni Barbato, Koi, and Alexander Mc Queen. Owners of four other stores across the capital (on the Champs-Élysées, Faubourg Saint-Honoré, Place des Victoires and Rue Malher), Martine and Armand Hadida have turned L’Éclaireur into a chic and unique brand, offering perfumes, jewelery, accessories and artworks. In the early 1990s, this was one of the first places in Paris to experiment with this marriage of fashion and design, providing a showcase for Philippe Starck, Garouste and Bonetti, and Jean Nouvel.
40 rue de Sévigné, Paris 4th
Tel +33 (0)1 48 87 10 22
Some people (like Parisien Salon’s editor in chief) make sure they know the location of every single H&M in whatever city they’re visiting. Well, Paris has plenty of them all. They’re over the city. There are even two on the rue de Rivoli, in case you can’t go a few blocks without your fix. (more…)
Shoe lovers have a new mecca, and it’s at Galeries Lafayette in Paris. The basement level of this landmark department store on boulevard Haussmann is now home to the world’s largest shoe collection. with over 32,000 square feet of shoes. Designed by Patrick Jouin in partnership with Sanjit Manku, the Galeries Lafayette shoe heaven hosts over 150 brands of fabulous footwear spread out by theme. But there are other services like shoe repair and a private “changing room” for those who prefer to try on their shoes in private. There are even lessons for how to walk in high heels. Makes you want to go a pied in Paris, doesn’t it?
40 bd Haussmann, Paris 9th
Tel +33 (0)1 42 82 34 56
Story by Ashley Bruckbauer
Parisian women don’t simply dress in the latest season’s fashions or buy the most expensive clothing off the racks….They have something more about their air…an aura…a presence…a certain je ne sais quoi? It’s called style.
Here are some tips of how you can insert that style into your everyday wardrobe and routine and unleash your inner parisienne you chic, classy, fabulous, sophisticated woman you!
1. Color: How to use it effectively
The common perception of the typical Parisienne is that she only wears black. Recently fashionistas around the world have sought to debunk this myth and bestow upon the Parisienne eye-popping colors. Sorry, world fashionistas, but this just isn’t so. The tried and true rule that black goes with everything is still very much present in and an important part of the modern-day Parisienne’s style. Don’t get me wrong bright colors may be present in the overall ensemble, but it is used as an eye-catching accent amid neutrals which dominate the outfit. Black and other neutrals immediately offer a sense of sophistication. By using them often and pairing them with bright camisoles, wraps, purses, shoes, and other accessories you will avoid being boring, while achieving a more elegant look.
2. Simple lines and great fits
Likely the most important secret of the Parisienne’s success in defining a style: her clothes fit! Parisian women go for quality not quantity. They spend a little extra on a few items that are classic and fit perfectly complimenting their individual shape. They don’t necessarily follow the fashion of the seasons, but instead what looks best on their particular figure. Parisiennes wear extremely well-tailored clothes (many times professionally tailored) with classic lines. This goes back to not forcing fashion but embracing style…your style…what makes you look your best. When your clothes fit, you always look timeless and fabulous!
3. Accessories: purses, scarfs, and jewelry
These special pieces are where the individual personalities are allowed to come out. Purses, scarfs and jewelry are not thought of as simply accessories but style statements that communicate to the outside world just who you are. This is where most Parisiennes insert a little extra color, texture, and visual interest into their wardrobe. Important is that since these are not solely accessories, they should be rich-looking and not rinky dink (this doesn’t necessarily require a large expense).
Women (and men for that matter) in Paris judge you based on your shoes. This is the easiest way to spot a tourist: of course there are the tell-tale sneakers but also the worn loafers, scratched patent leather, and the American in the ridiculously high-heels on the metro. Parisiennes invest time and money in their shoes. A worn or sloppy pair of shoes can destroy and outfit and nothing about that says fabulous!
Another myth of the Parisienne is that she always wears 4 inch heels. This is simply untrue! A large majority of the Parisian women I’ve seen during my time in Paris wear flats or more modestly heeled shoes. Do you think high-heels are accomodating for climbing up and down the metro stairs ten times a day? The key is to have clean, well-cared-for shoes that have a flattering shape and distinctive details.
5. Pamper yourself: perfume, macquillage, and spa products
Parisiennes do not skimp on “the necessities”! Why do you think there is a pharmacy around every corner? This is where they can load up on the best in face creams, moisturizers, and many other products this American-born will likely never fully grasp. So, have a signature scent, buy the nice moisturizer, and splurge on the luxury bath products.
Experiment and have fun, but always keep it simple! You deserve it, and your inner Parisienne will thank you!
Ashley is a recent college grad turned expat who is living in Shanghai, China and teaching English to kindergartners. She specializes in 18th and 19th century French and late-Imperial Chinese art history, as well as international advertising and French and Chinese language. She wears many hats, and her blog – La Vie en China? - serves as her platform to share travel tips, book reviews, photos, and any other tid-bits that come up along the way.
Story and photos by Meredith Mullins for Eye Prefer Paris
In Paris, there is a story waiting to be discovered down each alleyway, behind each coded gate, and inside even the most innocent looking cafés and shops. You find yourself wishing you had an infinite amount of time to explore every one of these hidden worlds. (more…)
As the global economic climate has forced consumers to shop more selectively, it has also forced retailers to sell more creatively. Merci, Paris’ newest concept store, provides a breathtaking space where visitors can shop with a conscience. Created by Marie-France and Bernard Cohen, founders of renowned children’s clothing line Bonpoint, Merci donates all of its proceeds (after breaking even) to a co-op for young women in Madagascar.
A 21st century super hero of sartorial sensuality, artisan lingerie designer Louise Feuillère empowers women by building their bras, not burning them. Since she opened her adorable atelier-boutique on the aptly named “rue des Dames” in 2004, 35-yr-old Feuillère has been perking up the private lives of her privileged patrons with her couture and made-to-measure lingerie.
From superfine cotton panties with delicate lace trimming to sexy waist cinchers with velvet-covered ribbing, Feuillère’s confections are masterpieces of sensuality, technique, comfort and form.
“Lingerie sets the mood for the day,” says Feuillère, a sprightly, petite brunette with a mischievous smile and large coy eyes. “It’s the first decision you make when it comes to dressing. When you think of its impact on our daily disposition it takes on a dimension of well-being.” (Hear that ladies? Forget meditation, buy made-to-measure!!)