Tag Archives: Paris

Handmade Bicycles Get Second Coming

Forced out of business by mass production, a family-owned bicycle-maker in Paris is back in the saddle again, this time creating hand-crafted bicycles as the on-trend luxury must-have.

Maison Tamboite, founded in 1912, had an A-list clientele including the likes of Marlene Dietrich, Maurice Chevalier, Edith Piaf and Josephine Baker in its heyday.

“My grandfather didn’t brag about his customers,” said Frederic Jastrzebski. “It was by flipping through his order books and his diary… that we found mentions of these people.”

It was an uncle who closed down the company in the 1980s when bicycles began being mass-produced and could be found even in supermarkets, Jastrzebski told AFP.

After working in finance for two decades, Jastrzebski was turning 50 in late 2014 when he persuaded his brother – and their wives – “to revive the brand with the same sincere, artisanal workmanship, the same quest for authenticity and perfection.”

In the new workshop near the Bastille in eastern Paris, Jastrzebski has kept the old wooden drawers from the original shop on the other side of town.

He also has the original tools, an old catalogue and the counter on which his great-grandfather built bicycles.

Production has begun, with the Jastrzebskis peddling their two-wheeled creations as an “urban aesthetic” for the well-heeled.

Gleaming but not bling, the bicycles are virtual works of art, their metal frames contrasting with the honey-toned oak from Italy’s Lake Como region used in the wheel rims and the mud guards.

Hand-burnished leather is everywhere: used for the seat of course, but also on the handlebar, the pedals and the lock – as well as the optional satchel.

They sell for an impressive 11,000 euros ($12,000), with the electric version priced at 15,500 euros.

Each bicycle takes three months to make, custom fitted on the basis of no fewer than 15 measurements.

“The time justifies the price,” Jastrzebski said.

“Like a watch, a piece of jewellery, a handbag or an artwork, (the bicycle) will take its place as a luxury accessory that generates real emotion,” he added.

Craftsman Hugo Canivenc, the workshop’s only employee, said: “It’s work similar to making jewelry, requiring the same meticulousness.”

The frame alone can take a month to make before the glam embellishments are added, the 24-year-old noted.

Asked about the wisdom of leaving a Tamboite bicycle on a public street, even with a sturdy lock, Jastrzebski said: “All of our models are numbered and traceable. And let’s also remember that it’s the most basic bicycle models that are stolen the most.”

Besides, the bikes make excellent decoration in an entrance hall, “or even your living room”, he suggested.

Catwalk Questions Trouble Paris Fashion Week

As Paris Fashion Week comes in, fashionistas everywhere are tracking down their favorite models and shows, but within the industry itself something else might be stirring up that casts a bigger shadow over the whole series of events.

The current schism surrounding the ‘see now, buy now’ model of approaching Fashion Week has split fashion houses between the biggest names in US fashion and the European giants who hold a more ‘traditional outlook’. With the rise of instant communication, and in extension, instant gratification, more and more designers are wondering whether showcasing Autumn/Winter collections in Spring is actually the wrong way to go.

Keen on adopting or already adopting the new model include brand names like Tommy Hilfiger, Michael Kors, Tory Burch, Diane von Furstenberg, and Rebecca Minkoff.

“The younger customer does not want to wait any longer, they want to see it and wear it that day or the next day. So we’re going to change the rules” Hilfiger said. He echoes the sentiments of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) who views that “the system is broken”.

On the other side, designers are voicing their opinions about the time needed to develop desire within the consumer seeking the newest fashion. At Milan Fashion Week, Karl Lagerfield thought that it was “an immense waste” and a “distortion to the dialogue” between the brand and consumers. Carlo Capasa, the president of the National Chamber of Italian Fashion noted that “if you are a label that inspires dreams, then you need time to work on that properly”.

Fashion mogul Francois-Henri Pinault, whose Kering group owns Gucci, Saint Laurent, Alexander McQueen and Balenciaga, told reporters it went against the “dream and desire” that drives the industry.

Lagerfield was also worried about the security problems that would erupt from the switch. “There will no longer be enough time to photograph the collections. And if we do it prior to release, there will be leaks” he said. The designer’s collections were often prized by counterfeiters.

Paris, which guards its status as fashion’s creative capital, said the change was purely commercially driven. The French Couture Federation claimed that young designers would suffer from the changes.

Heavy questions to ponder but probably less so for the thousands in Paris viewing the collections right now. With things shaking up like this, at the very least, no matter whether it goes the full mile or only in small adjustments, change seems to be inevitable for the whole industry.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

Kenzo: “Snowbird” SS16 Fashion Film

Forget advertising campaigns with no plot, theme or script. Kenzo has just changed the game of how to tease an upcoming collection. Much like the Fall/winter collection of 2015, the brand used a short film to showcase the spring/summer 2016 line. Enlisting the help of Sean Barker who directed Tangerine, the designers Humberto Leon and Carol Lim showed off an enigmatic 11-minute video earlier this month in Los Angeles.Kenzo-BTS-Snowbird2

Titled “Snowbird”, the short film sees the audience follow Abbey Lee of Mad Max as she shares a cake with her neighbors in a desert trailer park. Of course, since this is not a movie but a chance for the brand to show off its collection, the lead character is decked out in Kenzo throughout the film. Some of the actors are in fact residents of the community while others are professionals. We wouldn’t want to ruin the movie so we won’t delve further into the plot but it is impressive what the filmmaker has done on just a simple iPhone.Kenzo-BTS-Snowbird

Dubbed a fashion film, “Snowbird” seems to have been on the minds of both the designers and the director from the very beginning. The designers feel that rather disconnecting from the world of fashion and glamour, the film simply makes up one part of the whole collection. Like a jigsaw puzzle, the film helps to explain the inspiration behind the collection. Even the music was something made specifically for the film. Stephonik Youth, the filmmaker’s sister, wrote the original pieces that could easily pass for a dynamic release you could enjoy on Spotify.

The men’s fall 2016 collection was unveiled earlier in January while the women’s collection, will be showcased at Paris Fashion Week in March.

Dior Granville Candy Colored Jewelry

From peridots, green beryls, aquamarines, tanzanites, tourmalines and rubellites come together in this 12-piece collection and draw inspiration from Christian Dior’s childhood home, Granville. Named after the home he spent his time in as a child, which is now a museum, the candy-colored gems that make up the collection are the brainchild of Victoire de Castellane.

The brand’s fine jewelry creative director explained that the pieces were created “as if putting stickers together spontaneously, without any preconceived constraints”. Although inspired by childhood joie de vivre, the pieces have been meticulously crafted with creativity and exceptional skill in Dior’s Parisian high-jewelry workshops.

A pink gold watch in the "D de Dior Granville" collection, with brilliant cut yellow sapphires on the bezel, a diamond studded crown, turquoise dial and pale pink patent leather bracelet.

A pink gold watch in the “D de Dior Granville” collection, with brilliant cut yellow sapphires on the bezel, a diamond studded crown, turquoise dial and pale pink patent leather bracelet.

Christian Dior’s Normandy childhood is channeled in rings, earrings and bracelets that pop with color. The collection is accompanied by a range of nine watches, crafted from white, yellow and rose gold, evoking the festive and colorful ambiance of the Granville carnival.

Flagship pieces in the “D de Dior Granville” collection include a pink gold watch with a bezel set with brilliant-cut yellow sapphires and a diamond-studded crown. This fresh bouquet of springtime color is topped with a turquoise dial and a pale pink patent leather bracelet.

6 Models to Follow During Paris Fashion Week

Paris Fashion Week is the season when the hottest models tread the Paris runways for the biggest ready-to-wear labels. With the shows running through the first nine days of March, savvy fans can sneak a peek behind the scenes by following the current trending models on Instagram. We take a look at who to follow, to catch a glimpse backstage at the upcoming shows:

The Hadid Sisters, Gigi and Bella, both post actively on Instagram and are sure to share the backstage happenings (except at shows that ban social media, possibly). Last season Gigi Hadid took to the catwalk for Giambattista Valli, Elie Saab, Balmain, Versace and Anna Sui, while Bella modeled for Balmain. Both are bound to treat their followers with their upcoming stints in Paris.bella_hadid-Insta

Mica Arganaraz’s account is unverified by Instagram — for now. The Argentinian model was picked by Karl Lagerfield to open and close for the last Chanel haute-couture show. With the discerning designer’s approval, and her appearance as the face of Chanel’s Spring/Summer 2016 Campaign, Arganaraz promises a strong gain in followers during the Fashion Week itself. Last season she appeared for Miu Miu, Louis Vuitton, Valentino, Sacai, Mugler, Loewe, Balenciaga, Isabel Marant, Dior and Haider Ackermann.mica-arganaraz-insta

Lily Donaldson has quite the presence online, despite being less active on social networks. Nevertheless, she’s certain to be booked. This British model may take the runway for Balmain, Elie Saab or Mugler.lily_donaldson-Insta

Jourdan Dunn is another British model to follow, especially for aspiring Fashionistas. Though she didn’t appear much last year in Paris, sticking mostly with Balmain, she could come back to surprise us this time. With over 1.6 million followers, fans can expect a few backstage snaps during the shows.jourdan-Dunn-Insta

We can’t end a list like this without the Instagirl herself, Kendall Jenner. She needs no introduction, but the famous brunette can definitely be expected to document her catwalk shows photo-wise on the social media site. She’s tipped to star in Balmain and Chanel catwalk shows, but could also appear for labels like Elie Saab or Givenchy.kendall-jenner-Insta

Boucheron Showcases Animal Instincts

French jeweler Boucheron’s love for animals is plainly evident, with what is called a bestiary included its collection since 1858. With its new collection at Paris Haute Couture Week, the French jewelry house has presented us with a few new creatures to accessorize an outfit. Joining the Boucheron animal kingdom is the “Collection of Animals”, with expertly crafted bejeweled charms providing the wearer with new designs that can now hold a unique meaning and symbolism for their wearers. Some, like the Hera and the snakes will be familiar to those with a keen eye for key jewelry designs. Nevertheless, even the old favorites are presented with new twists.

Cypris ring paved with black sapphires

Cypris ring paved with black sapphires

Artistic creativity has been matched with the exceptional skill of the Kering-owned jeweler’s craftspeople to bring a new “Collection of Animals” to life in 2016. Drawing on expert techniques such as carving, polishing and of course stone setting, Boucheron’s master jewelers have sculpted gold, crafted shapes and worked with various high-end materials to develop designs for this new high-end jewelry range.

Hera ring in white gold paved with blue sapphires

Hera ring in white gold paved with blue sapphires

The animals themselves have been carefully selected too. With symbolic meanings including protection, love, peace, femininity, devotion, immortality, innocence or hope, each animal-themed creation tells its own powerful story.

Hans the hedgehog ring in pink gold

Hans the hedgehog ring in pink gold

The collection includes some of Boucheron’s iconic snakes, with symbolic talismans “Kaa”, Python” and “Amvara” crafted from rose, yellow and white gold, and set with diamonds, sapphires, rubies and emeralds.

Pegasus in white gold

Pegasus in white gold

There are more than 20 species in the “Collection of Animals” range, including “Hans, the hedgehog”, “Cypris, the swan”, “Hera, the peacock”, “Hopi, the hummingbird”, “Arctic the polar bear and penguin”, “Honu, the turtle”, “Hirunda, the swallows” and “Biladom, the panda”.

Paris Fashion Week Runway Shows to Watch

The first week of March is going to be a busy one for Paris, and not just for fashion week. Following the numerous changes in major fashion houses, those in the know are waiting with bated breath on the announcement of new creative directors and for what newcomers will bring to the global stage.

Of the new designers announced in the line-up, one name that stands out is that of Dutch designer Esther Louise Dorhout Mees. She started her eponymous label Dorhout Mees, barely six years ago and has since caught the attention of the industry through her sophisticated designs and feminine collections. Her designs feature geometric shapes, prints, luxury fabrics such as silk and structural effects created by carefully placed folds and superimposed layers. France’s ready-to-wear ruling body Fédération française du prêt-à-porter, has scheduled this highly anticipated show for March 6 on its provisional schedule.

Though not a newcomer to the Parisian runway, Koché is still considered another relatively new name to the line-up. This second showing after a sensational debut Paris show will feature founder Christelle Kocher’s use of street culture, artisanal skills and techniques. Her keen use of new technologies gives rise to stylishly eclectic and high-quality collections. Paris Fashion Week will see the label present its autumn/winter 2016-2017 collection.

Lanvin, the oldest Parisian fashion house still operating today, saw creative director Alber Elbaz step down in October. In the interim, Chemena Kamali, formerly of Chloé, has been drafted in to oversee the women’s ready-to-wear collection. However, this temporary arrangement can’t last forever (the very definition of temporary) and rumors of a permanent replacement are intensifying. Stefano Pilati, who recently left Ermenegildo Zegna, is one of the designers thought to be in the running to replace Alber Elbaz. This remains unconfirmed by Lanvin but fashion week could be the ideal time to reveal the Israeli-American designer’s successor.

With the autumn/winter 2016-2017 shows just weeks away, the situation is almost identical over at Dior. If no announcement is made in the coming weeks, then fashion week could be a key time for Dior to reveal Raf Simons’ replacement. In the meantime, Dior’s in-house design team has been handed control of the upcoming collection, as was already the case for Dior’s Haute Couture show back in January. Christian Dior’s collection is booked for the Paris catwalk Friday, March 4.

Ferrari 335 Scaglietti Sells for $35 million

Ferrari stock may be experiencing volatility but the Prancing Horse continues to rise above expectations at auction, with the latest being a 1957 335 S Spider Scaglietti which sold for $35 million. The price is a world record for a racing car sold at auction.

Press reports state that applause literally broke out after the hammer came down on the bidding for the 1957 Scag at the Artcurial auction house just off the Champs-Elysees, Paris, last Friday, February 5.

The world was watching the sale with great interest, especially since Bonhams was also offering significant Ferrari models (amongst others) last week. That sale was nothing to write home about, as far as Ferrari models are concerned, with the 1966 275 GTB Berlinetta selling for roughly $2.29 million. Nevertheless, expectations for a cooling-off in Ferrari auction prices has not yet been met. The race car sold by Artcurial fetched 28 million euros, plus premiums and taxes taking the overall price to just above 32 million euros ($35 million).

For those keeping track, note that this result also beats last year’s top selling Ferrari at auction, the 1956 Ferrari 290 MM Spider, which sold for about $28 million.

The Spider Scag actually beat the record set in 2014 when a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO sold for what was the equivalent of 28.9 million euros. The new most-expensive-ever Scag has a peerless pedigree, having finished sixth in the Sebring 12 Hours race in 1957, driven by British racer Peter Collins and his French partner Maurice Trintignant, and second in the Mille Miglia 1,000-mile (1,600-kilometre) road race in Italy, with Wolfgang von Trips driving. Yes this is the actual Scag that accomplished all that, not merely a similar model. Well, the same car but with some tweaks…

After the Mille Miglia, the car was returned to the factory to have its engine size boosted from 3.6 to 4.1-liters, boosting available horses from 360 to 400, allowing a top speed of 300 kilometres an hour (186 mph). This was in 1957 mind you.

The Scag enabled Enzo Ferrari’s outfit to win the Constructors’ World Championship title in 1957.

The identity of the purchaser of the Spider was not revealed following Friday’s deal but is US-based, according to Matthieu Lamoure, director general of Artcurial motorcars.

“Clearly, we won’t soon forget,” Lamoure told journalists after the hammer came down on the record sale, bidding having started at 20 million euros.

The sleek machine had belonged to the family collection of late French racing driver Pierre Bardinon, who died in 2012.

Legendary British driver Mike Hawthorn drove the Spider in the Le Mans 24-hour race in 1957 and Sir Stirling Moss won the 1958 Cuba Grand Prix with it.

Chopard Fleur d’Opales in Full Bloom

The first bloom of spring is especially worth the wait when it is the flowering of high jewelry. At the Paris Haute Couture Week January 2016, Chopard introduced three new creations to its mysterious haute joaillerie garden, handily beating the first flowers of the coming season. Joining the existing three pieces of the Fleur d’Opales capsule collection, these creations showcase the beauty of the magnificent and spellbinding opal.

Chopard-black-opal2

The 9-carat black opal ring from Chopard’s Fleur d’Opales collection

The unique pieces, take us into the world of flora and fauna where the precious opal is teamed with sapphires, amethysts, tsavorites, rubies, spinels and black diamonds. This gem that has fascinated the world from the middle ages, is in fact mined from a traceable and sustainable supply by Aurora Gems, in the Australian outback.

The 14-carat white opal ring from Chopard's Fluer d'Opales collection

The 14-carat white opal ring from Chopard’s Fleur d’Opales collection

The three new rings, carry a mixture of black and white opals and celebrate spring. In a first for the collection, one of the three rings features an impressive 14-carat white opal nestled amongst diamond-set titanium petals. The second (main picture) is a 10.7-carat black opal surrounded by tsavorites, pink sapphires and demantoid garnets. Rounding off the collection is a 9-carat black-opal. It sits in the middle of pistils made of engraved and brushed blue titanium and petals set with diamonds, pink sapphires and spinels. The flower is mounted on a ring that is set with demantoid garnets.

5 Must-See Design Exhibitions 2016

The Maison & Objet interior design fair has packed its bags in Paris to prepare for its next two showings, in Singapore and Miami. We’ll certainly be there for the Singapore show and fret not because there are plenty of other top design exhibitions around the world to choose from.

We first set our sights on the “Faire le mur. Quatre siècles de papiers peints” at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris. Currently running till June 2016, it features nearly 300 pieces on display covering more than four centuries of wall paper design. A contemporary piece that joins several traditional designs is the “Lendemain de fête” or “morning after”. Made by the Santix wallpaper company, the design is printed on empty oyster shells and fruit peelings. A part of the exhibition, named “Tissus inspires, Pierre Frey”, focuses on one of France’s biggest wallpaper manufacturers. The exhibition will look back on more than 80 years of designs by Pierre Frey.

Hopping over to Italy, is the “Kitchens & Invaders” at the Triennale di Milano. Inspired by the Jack Finney novel, The Body Snatchers, it compares kitchen appliances to invading aliens. Running till April 21, it is said to be like visiting aliens slipping surreptitiously into the human world and revolutionizing societies; kitchen utensils working their way into our lives and changing things for good. The exhibition also explores the transformation of utensils into machines and robots. It is a great look back over the stars of the modern kitchen, from the earliest contraptions to today’s must-have gizmos.

Over in Denmark, is the “Learning from Japan” till September 24th at the Designmuseum Danmark. The Copenhagen Designmuseum celebrated its 125th anniversary in 2015. As part of ongoing celebrations, the museum is focusing on how Japanese design inspired Danish art and industrial design. The exhibition features a selection of pieces from the museum’s collection of Japanese and Danish works.Must-see-design-exhibitions-learning-from-Japan

Also within Europe is the “The Bauhaus #itsalldesign” at Vitra Design Museum in Weil am Rhein in Germany till February 28. This is the Vitra Design Museum’s first exhibition on the Bauhaus, a cultural movement that revolutionized the worlds of design and architecture through the school of the same name. The exhibition features rare pieces associated with the movement from the worlds of design, architecture, art, cinema and photography.

The only exhibition outside of Europe is the “Jaime Hayon| Funtastico” at the Design Museum Holon in Israel. Running till the end of April, it features the work of Spanish designer Jaime Hayon. Considered one of the 100 most relevant designers of our time, his work is characterized by its fantastical, amusing and wondrous nature. As one of the most acclaimed designers of his generation, this exhibition at Design Museum Holon showcases his work from the last 10 years, including intriguing ceramic cacti and a rocking chicken.Must-see-design-exhibitions-Isreal

Alessandro Sartori Exits Berluti, Heads for Zegna

Following in the wake of fellow designers Alber Elbaz, Raf Simmons and most recently Stefano Pilati, Alessandro Sartori is the next big name to relinquish his role as Artistic Director at Berluti. The designer had joined the brand after leaving Ermenegildo Zegna’s Z Zegna label.

[UPDATE: Business of Fashion reports that Sartori is taking up the newly created Artistic Director role at Zegna. He starts work June this year, making the Autumn/Winter 2017 collection his first full collection for Zegna.]

The LVMH-owned Berlutti had been in the hands of Sartori since 2011. In his time at the label, he brought the legendary shoemaker to the world of luxury menswear, gaining notice from fashion editors. Like his counterpart Stefano Pilati, the designer showcased his last collection during Paris Fashion Week last month.

Of his departure, Antoine Arnault whose father Bernard Arnault is the CEO and Chairman of LVMH said: “It’s the end of a chapter for us, and it was a beautiful one”.

Rumored to be taking over the role, is Alexandre Mattiussi. The former menswear designer at Givenchy currently heads his own label AMI. For more on Alessandro Sartori’s departure, find out what our friends at Men’s Folio had to say.

6 Biggest Spring 2016 Haute Couture Looks

Playing host to the Spring 2016 Haute Couture shows last week, the French capital saw bold structures, exaggerated silhouettes and asymmetric hemlines gracing the runways. Bridging architecture with fashion, designs featured floor-skimming trains, sleeves and even tiers. One of the many eye-catching looks on the Parisian catwalk belonged to couturier Stephane Rolland. The striking red-layered dress stood out with a choppy and sculpted train that fanned outwards. This is but one of a number that we think will be showing up at red carpet events in 2016.

Stephane Rolland

Stephane Rolland

Ralph and Russo played with proportions by adorning its bridal ball gown with flared sleeves that fluted out from the elbow, dropping into diaphanous, jewel-encrusted mini trains of their own, and Guo Pei stunned with a square-cut train that stemmed from a corseted dress with sculpted hips that provided the perfect example of razor sharp form.

Ralph & Russo

Ralph & Russo

Guo Pei

Guo Pei

Elsewhere on the catwalks, Giambattista Valli sent out tiered gowns featuring triangular layer upon layer of stiff, frothy organza, and Alexis Mabille played with loose, voluminous structures that riffed on breezy nightwear but were in fact fitted to protrude outwards from the body.

Gambattista Valli

Gambattista Valli

Alexis Mabille

Alexis Mabille

Full credit, however, must go to the immutable Viktor & Rolf, whose colossal towering Cubist structures composed of distorted 3D facial features and gigantic ruffles went the furthest in pushing the increasingly porous boundaries between art and couture. We previously covered their collection here, alongside Valentino.

Viktor & Rolf

Viktor & Rolf

 

Ferrari Berlinetta Drives to Top Lot at Bonhams

British auction house Bonhams is gearing up for the sale of classic cars and motorbikes at the Grand Palais museum this Thursday, February 4. In its sixth year, the auction is expected to fetch millions of dollars where German and Italian models may garner the highest bids. Listed with the highest valuation as the top lot is the 1966 Ferrari 275 GTB Berlinetta. Those looking to own a model that was developed closely by Enzo Ferrari himself can expect to begin their bid at $2.7 million.

Bonhams-ferrari-1990-F40

1990 Ferrari F40 Berlinetta

Joining the Ferrari, is the Mercedes- Benz CLK GTR Coupé from 2000 ($2 million), a 1990 Ferrari F40 Berlinetta ($1 million), a 1955 Lancia Aurelia B24 Spider with a hardtop ($980,000), a 2005 Porsche Carrera GT ($870,000), and a 1937 Alfa Romeo 6C 2300B Berlinette ($810,000).

Bonhams-Alfa-Romeo-1962

1962 Alfa Romeo Giulietta SZ2 Coda Tronca Coupé

Next in line comes a 1962 Alfa Romeo Giulietta SZ2 Coda Tronca Coupé ($650,000 to €870,000), then a 1961 Aston Martin DB4 Series IV Coupé ($487,000 to $700,000), a 1961 Alfa Romeo Giulietta SZ Berlinette Coda Ronda ($490,000 to $700,000) and a 2002 Ferrari 550 Barchetta Pininfarina ($490,000 to $600,000).

Among other curiosities, auction-goers will have the chance to bid for a 1967 Citroën DS21 Cabriolet Le Caddy ($270,000 to $380,000) and a 1971 Mercedes 280 SE 3.5l Coupé once owned by Lino Ventura ($98,000 to $130,000).

A total of 250 lots will be up for auction, with 133 cars and 54 motorbikes, including 18 rare Italian motorbikes from the Stockholm Motorbike Museum in Sweden. All of the vehicles for sale will be on show at the Grand Palais exhibition center in Paris on Wednesday, February 3, from 9 am to 5:30 pm and on Thursday, February 4, from 9 am.

The Bonhams auction is being held at the Grand Palais, Paris, on Thursday, February 4, 2016. Visit the Bonhams official website for more information.

Haute Couture Week: 6 Quirkiest Accessories

With the all eyes on the Spring 2016 Haute Couture runway shows, designers such as Chanel and Valentino also showcased their talent and attention to detail with a range of accessories. From the whimsical to the zany, the several designers put their best feet forward with Chanel kicking it off with an update to the round-toe pumps (see below). Pearly beads covered the cap while a curved cork wedge heel added some height to the footwear.Paris-Haute-Couture-Accessories-Chanel

Chinese designer Guo Pei continued the elevated trend with mustard yellow sculptural wedges (top) and elaborate ribbons for ankle straps while models for Maison Margiela strutted knee-high boots with multi-colored motifs of various elements (below).Paris-Haute-Couture-Accessories-Maison-Margiela

Elsewhere, headdresses were a big trend. They ranged from Egyptian in style, seen at Jean Paul Gaultier, to Roman, as seen at Valentino (below), although several houses opted for fairytale-like crowns to create a romantic vibe. This was the case at Zuhair Murad, where metallic leaves decorated the models’ hairstyles, as well as at Elie Saab, where floral tiaras contributed to the enchanted feel of the collection.Paris-Haute-Couture-Accessories-Valentino

There were flashes of bling, such as the jewel-encrusted baseball caps seen at Elie Saab (below), and the humungous earrings on show at Guo Pei. There was also a nod to the quirky, with ornamental purses like the vintage cat bag seen at Ulyana Sergeenko stealing the show (scroll to the bottom for this wonder, which really deserves its own story).Paris-Haute-Couture-Accessories-Ellie-Saab

Paris-Haute-Couture-Accessories-Ulyana-Sergeenko

Haute Art: Valentino, Viktor & Rolf Provoke

If big risks and classical gowns are what you seek in haute couture, Valentino and Viktor & Rolf did not disappoint last week on the Paris runways. We were reminded of the vision of the Dutch duo January 31 as police confirmed that they had recovered a stolen Picasso in Istanbul; the Viktor & Rolf show looked like a tribute to Cubism, or perhaps their impression of what Theo van Doesburg would have sent down the runway if he had been a fashion designer. First of all though, we must credit Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli for providing the haute couture fashion week this spring with a proper standard bearer and point of reference. The house of Valentino provided a fashionable history of art lesson in Paris on Wednesday night last week, as it showcased its Spring 2016 haute couture collection.

© AFP PHOTO / MIGUEL MEDINA

© AFP PHOTO / MIGUEL MEDINA

Under the creative direction of designers Chiuri and Piccioli, the Italian label whipped up a classical collection of show-stopping gowns that felt both timeless and modern. Perhaps they imagined themselves collaborating with Gustav Klimt when creating this collection.

© AFP PHOTO / MIGUEL MEDINA

© AFP PHOTO / MIGUEL MEDINA

Featuring floor-skimming, off-the-shoulder Grecian robes creased into sharp pleats and swishy velvet columns decorated with ornate bronze harnesses, the result was a demure yet worldly aesthetic rooted in technicality and expertise. Structures were fluid without being overly loose and the color palette offered up an opulent combination of rich creams, deep olive greens and resplendent burgundies.

© AFP PHOTO / MIGUEL MEDINA

© AFP PHOTO / MIGUEL MEDINA

Semi-sheer chiffons, plunging necklines and beaded kaftans worn with nothing underneath meant that there was plenty of skin on show, and yet the overall effect was one of highly serene virtuousness.

© AFP PHOTO / PATRICK KOVARIK

© AFP PHOTO / PATRICK KOVARIK

Art, as ever, was also the starting point for the Dutch pioneers Viktor & Rolf, whose all white collection was an exercise in Cubism. The design duo’s work has always been guaranteed to spark debate, and their towering sculptural dresses composed of distorted 3D facial features and gigantic ruffles bore more than a passing resemblance to the works of Albert Gleizes and Picasso.

© AFP PHOTO / PATRICK KOVARIK

© AFP PHOTO / PATRICK KOVARIK

In many cases the models were mere vehicles used to exhibit the pieces, their faces completely hidden behind the colossal façades of the designs. Simple black ankle boots allowed the construction to do the talking.

© AFP PHOTO / PATRICK KOVARIK

© AFP PHOTO / PATRICK KOVARIK

Big FUN at Maison & Objet Paris

Italian design house Seletti showed a selection of new homeware and furniture at the recently concluded Paris edition of the Maison & Objet interior design trade fair. The quirky designs made waves with observers, including the press, as the brand literally spelled out F-U-N in the form of its lighting range! Upbeat message like this one are clearly resonating with audiences.

Renaissance

Italian design agency BBMDS is back working with Seletti in this homage to the architecture of Italian cities, more precisely, their porticoes. Yes, just this element. This key feature of Italian cityscapes has been worked into modular bookshelves (see below), bringing Renaissance architecture to life in a functional storage solution. The bookcase is composed of modules, each bordered by portico-style columns. Square and rectangular modules are available in either white or anthracite.

seletti_renaiss.f19d0130720.h0

Flower Attitude

Flower power got a fresh spin from Seletti this year. Italian designer Marcantonio Raimondi Malerba has created an original line of home accessories using historical Capodimonte porcelain. This Italian porcelain manufacturer is best known for its figurines and flowers. Here, Marcantonio Raimondi Malerba has honored Capodimonte’s creations by adding them to some troubling objects (see below), more usually found in a horror movie than a plush interior. Flower Attitude sees a serial killer’s weapons of choice – a hand saw, a chainsaw, an axe, a gun and a club – decorated with delicate, colorful porcelain flowers and transformed into candlesticks.

seletti_flower_.b844b131824.h0

Alphafont and Alphacrete

Alphabet soup never looked so good. Following the success of its “Neon Art” range of letter-shaped lights, Seletti has added an upper-case alphabet to its lighting range with “Alphafont.” These illuminated letters (top) are 30 cm tall and can be attached to walls in various combinations to make words and phrases. An additional “Alphacrete” range (below) sees light-up letters encased concrete shells, making them suitable for outdoor use.

seletti_alphacr.87766131011.h0

Cosmic Diner

This flagship Seletti range of space-themed tableware (below), designed in partnership with the Diesel fashion house, sees a coffee cup, bowls and candlesticks added to the collection. The coffee cup is finished in a cosmic black and is dimpled with craters like the surface of a planet, with its golden saucer forming the planet’s rings. The bowls are similar in design, with crater-finish and gold-metal options to choose from. The candlesticks are shaped like rockets.

diesel_living_w.e488f130406.h0

Designer Tom Dixon Gets Oily at Maison & Objet

Tom Dixon, a leading light of British design, presented two new ranges of home accessories at the Paris Maison & Objet interior design trade fair, which wrapped up January 26, playing with light and color in original designs.

Iridescence

Iridescent materials appear to change color as the light and angle of view change. A diverse set of materials and beings are gifted with this quality, from butterflies to soap bubbles to pools of oil. Whether inspired by nature or by service station forecourts, this property has been purged from modern interiors despite enjoying popularity in the 1990s and during the Belle Epoque era, where it was frequently seen on glassware, ceramics and chandeliers. Now, Tom Dixon is bringing iridescence back to the forefront of design with a new collection of home accessories going by the name “Oil.” Tinged with oily multicolored notes, the collection includes large and medium-sized scented candles, a reed diffuser and a wax diffuser. All the pieces have a bumpy, almost “melted” look.

warp_vases_bowls.1c7bc155651.h0

The collection also includes the “Warp” vase (above), a mouth-blown cylinder or demi-sphere of glass that’s squashed and deformed into a distorted shape. The almost rainbow-like iridescent finish is then applied by hand and the vase is fired at high temperature.

Quartz

The “Materialism Quartz” collection (below) also includes large and medium scented candles, a reed diffuser and a wax diffuser, with aromas of musk, ambrette and pink pepper. Here, the vessels are formed from masses of milky-looking translucent glass. Each piece is made from a drop of glass that’s pulled, pressed and stretched into a unique shape. (Prices on request)

Other new items from the British designer include copper and brass versions of the “Bell” table lamp (pictured top), as well as additions to the “Plum” range (bottom) of cocktail accessories, like Martini glasses, Moscow Mule mugs, a serving bowl, shot glasses, a wine cooler and a tray.

quartz_scent_fa.25593160118.h0

The marble-based “Stone” collection gets a copper candleholder, three brass candlesticks, a tray, a table lamp, a wall light and a ceiling light.

Tom Dixon is a self-taught designer who became known in the 1980s through his work with Cappellini, a major Italian design house.

He was appointed head of design at Habitat in 1998 before creating Tom Dixon Studio in 2002. His brand is now sold in 63 countries.

plum_cocktail_w.2b97e160450.h0

Homage to Curves: Versace Spring 2016 Haute Couture

One can always count on Versace to bring aggressive sexuality to the fore and it did just that January 25 at its Spring 2016 Haute Couture show. The Versace woman has always been a bold one but the fashion house took its daring twist – with ropes and silicone grills – on glamour to new heights.

The show opened with a series of taut, minimalist looks featuring crisp white ski pants and bomber jackets with sporty buckle details in a nod to the current athleisure trend. White blazers with contrast panels, geometric dresses with mesh inserts and laser-cutout miniskirts all channeled a young, powerful and independent vibe.

000_7d2o6.7de35080951.h0

The collection then evolved into something much more sensual as swishy, cutaway dresses took over. Slashed to the hip and the navel and cinched in at the waist, the designs were an homage to womanly curves, exaggerated by strategically placed flashes of skin across the hip bones and barely there straps. Harness-like necklines, straps made from rope and silicone grills made for an overtly sexy yet very feminine look.

As Donatella Versace used bejeweled Swarovski ropes to hang dresses from the neck or string sequined panels together, flared skirts gave the collection a dramatic floaty, Riviera-style appeal while retaining every inch of the high-voltage glamour that the house is so well loved for.

000_7d2nl.e28ac081121.h0

000_7d2on.73941080224.h0

Cavalier Swagger Returns to Paris Catwalks

French fashion is back to its swashbuckling best and the designer leading the charge is a young mixed-race man determined to give post-attacks Paris a new swagger.

“I want to make all men feel like princes again,” Olivier Rousteing declared January 23 after his dashing, unashamedly masculine show for Balmain. Not since the days of the Charge of the Light Brigade has there been such an onrush of braid, breeches and boots.

Rousteing’s models were not the pallid sexless automatons of so many shows. Instead, they were dashing hussars and Cossack officers you half expected would pull cavalry swords from their gorgeous scarlet and leather cummerbunds as they thundered through a Parisian mansion.

Half of them looked like they had come straight from the ball the night before Waterloo in their silk and velvet breeches, with big brass-buttoned greatcoats thrown on their shoulders, and fur and tassels flying. Actually, Rousteing has delivered on this vision before, as seen below. Despite wanting the romanticism of associating the collection with some sort of defiance against terror, the cavalry has clearly been waiting in the wings for Balmain for some time.

HMBalmaination

“Paris is the City of Light and those lights should continue to shine,” the 30-year-old designer, a favorite of pop divas Beyonce and Rihanna, told AFP.

“I want to bring back the dream and beauty that is Paris… and make all men feel like princes again. I want to show the diversity and colors of France and to show that Paris has a past, a present and it will have a future,” he added.

Rousteing (pictured above and below), who was adopted by his white parents when he was a one-year-old, said his show was an ode to the racial and cultural diversity of the French capital.

A symphony orchestra, playing live to a hip-hop soundtrack, provided the musical tone.

“Mixing Kanye West and Rihanna with a symphony orchestra is my universe. I am French in a French fashion house with a couture tradition which also has a very international influence. That for me is Paris – it is that internationalism and the richness of the mixing of cultures.

000_dv1920613.ffce2141626.h0

“This singular eagerness to embrace a diversity of cultures and ideas… enrages intolerant minds both here and abroad,” he said.

An Internet darling, with 2.1 million Instagram followers, Rousteing has become a reference for stars as diverse as Jane Fonda and Nicki Minaj, who even rapped on the venerable couture brand’s name as sales have soared.

Rousteing’s high-cheekboned good looks, social media savvy and friendships with stars such as West and his wife Kim Kardashian has led to him being called a “selfie-made man” – a joke he appears to delight in.

Earlier in the day there was a similar defiance against giving in to fear after the November massacres from Dior’s Kris Van Assche. Leading the charge for the Dior man was the millionaire skateboarder, as seen below. Old World cavalry officers were a no-show at Dior Homme.

Although much of his collection was in black, it was not the black of mourning, Assche insisted.

“The events mean that we have to be stronger to make people dream. The darkness is so omnipresent that as a designer who have to go further. You need more power and strength,” he told AFP.

“In fact I like the idea of darkness pushing creativity,” he said, echoing the sombre luxuriance of Dries Van Noten stand-out line, and fellow Belgian creator Walter Van Beirendonck, whose show was simply called “Woest”, which means furious in Flemish.

000_7c3wt.3c327181356.h0

Paris-based label Etudes – whose studio is near the Bataclan concert hall were 90 people died in November’s attacks – seemed almost to be on a war footing in their Saturday show, with a collection largely comprised of military-inspired and camouflage outfits, fighter pilot fatigues and parachute suits.

There was a similar ready-for-anything air in newcomers OAMC, whose nifty high-end functional streetwear is also created only a few blocks away and is replete with the spirit of Parisian resistance.

But if you were looking for a sign that “Paris will always be Paris”, look no further than the Hermes show on Saturday night. All the elements of ineffable casual French style were there, the discreet charm of the bourgeoisie personified.

Only that dried-blood red, a color that crops up across the collections like a wound, would lead you to believe that anything untoward had happened.

Maison & Objet 2016 Paris Gets Wild

After picking the theme “Precious” for the September 2015 edition of the Maison & Objet trade fair, the show’s Observatory, which sets the theme for each edition, has chosen a return to nature for the ongoing event with a “Wild” theme. Trendspotter at the Croisements agency, François Bernard was selected as scenographer to bring the theme to life in the show’s Inspirations Space. Key ideas channeled include the deep forest, urban wildness and the mystical aspect of nature.

This space will be extended through the “Wild Café-Bookstore,” designed by trendspotter Elizabeth Leriche and based around the event’s Inspirations Book plus other selected works and inspiring publications.

14sept_hd_troel.337e6090151.h0

Young Scandinavian talent

Each year, Maison & Objet showcases the work of up-and-coming young designers through its “Talents à la carte” program. This year, the show has six budding Scandinavian designers presenting their work. Visitors will discover the swirly, colorful ceramics of Danish designer Troels Flensted (designer pictured above, work below), as well as stylish lights crafted by Icelandic designer Kjartan Oskarsson (who was invited to join the line-up at the last minute).

14sept_hd_lot_b.36ad7090008.h0

Designer of the Year: Eugeni Quitllet

Catalan designer Eugeni Quitllet (pictured below) has been named “Designer of the Year” for the January 2016 edition of Maison & Objet. Having previously worked with international design star Philippe Starck, Eugeni Quitllet now creates pieces for some of the biggest furniture-makers of the moment, including Kartell, Vondom and Alias. He will be presenting his work in a bespoke exhibition at the show. Check out the other Designers of the Year here.

eugeni_quitllet.6e93a084958.h0

Luxury showcase

The biggest names in the world of high-end interior design from around the world will be featured at this year’s event in a dedicated space in Halls 7 and 8, created by designer Noé Duchaufour-Lawrance. Approximately 50 exhibitors will be present in the “Luxury” area, including Ralph Lauren, Christofle and Fendi.

14sept_hd_tutti.7054a132951.h0

And finally…

An exciting line-up of new objects will be presented at the show, including Alessi’s sleek fruit bowls, the “Tutti Frutti,” designed by Giulio Lacchetti (a fruit bowl with a central baton rising vertically from its center, pictured above), and the “Broken Bowl” designed by Maximilian Schmahl.

Work by the famous Italian designer Paola Navone won’t be featured at this year’s main event, but her new line of tableware – produced in partnership with Serax (pictured below from a catalog) – will be on show at the Merci design store in central Paris. This herring-shaped tableware, entitled “Herring Bar,” is inspired by the crockery made during the Great Depression in the USA, in particular the characteristic white and green color scheme.

14sept_hd_colle.246b4132256.h0

Maison & Objet runs January 22-26 at the Paris Nord Villepinte exhibition center in Paris, France.

For more information visit the official site.