Tag Archives: Paris

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.


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.



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.


“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.


“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.


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.


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).


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.


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.


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.


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

For more information visit the official site.

Dior and I documentary

3 Must-See Paris Haute Couture Week Shows

As usual, Paris plays host to the biggest celebration of high fashion on earth even as the big chill rules the streets. Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week officially kicks off today, January 24, and runs till January 28 with around 30 catwalk shows lined up on the official schedule. Certain shows will be of particular interest to the fashion world this year, including one show staged with no creative director and the first steps of a fledgling fashion house in the world of haute couture.

The fashion world will cast its gaze on Paris to spot upcoming trends for spring/summer 2016/2017, even though haute couture is notoriously difficult to read. We recommend simply sitting back to enjoy the shows and the sneak preview of the gowns due to grace red carpets throughout 2016.

However, all eyes will be on three fashion houses in particular at the 2016 Haute Couture Week: Christian Dior, Yiqing Yin and Guo Pei.



Christian Dior post-Raf Simons

The departure of Raf Simons as creative director at Dior in October sent shockwaves through the fashion world. Eyes will be fixed firmly on this haute couture show, which is taking place on January 25 with no creative director. The design team alone has been in charge of this collection, as it was for the autumn/winter 2016-2017 ready-to-wear collection. This isn’t a first for Dior, which saw itself in a similar situation after parting ways with John Galliano in 2011, but this preview will still no doubt be one of the most closely watched. Dior could even take the opportunity to make its much-awaited announcement of Raf Simons’ replacement.



Newcomer Guo Pei

Haute couture’s “Chambre syndicale” announced back in November that Chinese designer Guo Pei would be joining the Paris catwalk for the first time as a special guest this year. Guo Pei’s January 27 preview will be the closing show of this prestigious fashion week (only jewelry will be shown the final day, January 28), and it’s definitely one to watch. A new arrival will understandably pique the interest of the fashion world, but Guo Pei is also known for creating a huge buzz last year when Rihanna wore her enormous yellow coat-dress to the 2015 Met Ball. Pictures of the red-carpet outfit went viral around the world and on social networks within just a few hours. As a result, this spring/summer 2016 collection is even more keenly anticipated.



A new era for Yiqing Yin

The fashion house created by Chinese-born, Paris-raised and Paris-based designer Yiqing Yin was awarded “haute couture” status back in December. Although this isn’t the first time the label has presented its collections during Haute Couture Week, it was, until now, only doing so as a guest member. This marks a new era for the young designer, who recently quit her role as creative director of Léonard to concentrate on her own label. She was also named “Best Fashion Designer” at France’s “Globes de Cristal” awards ceremony in 2015. The front row of this show is sure to be a hot ticket.

Maison & Objet Picks 3 Designers of 2016

We have not even cleared one month of 2016 but we already have a few designer-of-the-year options, courtesy of the legendary Maison & Objet show. The Paris edition of the Maison & Objet interior design trade show begins today – this year the theme is “Wild” – and runs through to January 26 in the French capital. It heads to Singapore from March 8-11, then to Miami (USA) from May 10-13. Each of the three shows has its own Designer of the Year, in fact.

Pictured above is “Broken Bowl” by Maximilian Schmahl for Alessi, featured at Maison & Objet Paris


Eugeni Quitllet, Designer of the Year for Maison & Objet Paris

Based in Barcelona, this Catalan designer has made plastic his artistic playground. Eugeni Quitllet has worked in a wide sphere, designing a range of disposable tableware and cutlery for Air France, a collection of musical outdoor furniture for Vondom, and co-designing the Masters chair for Kartell with Philippe Starck. He will be presenting his latest collaborations at Maison & Objet Paris, in a specially designed exhibition entitled “One of a Kind to Infinity.” Maison & Objet Paris runs January 22-26, 2016.


André Fu, Designer of the Year for Maison & Objet Asia

Hong-Kong-born architect and designer André Fu has designed a number of luxury hotels, including The Upper House in Hong Kong and the Fullerton Bay Hotel in Singapore. He has launched his own brand – “André Fu Living” – through which he creates pieces in collaboration with big names from the world of design, furnishings and publishing, such as Assouline and Tai Ping Carpets. Maison & Objet Asia runs March 8-11 in Singapore.


Rafael de Cárdenas, Designer of the Year for Maison & Objet Americas

Based in New York’s SoHo neighborhood, Rafael de Cárdenas works in a wide range of fields, designing residential interiors and concept stores, as well as objects and furniture. Before opening his own multi-disciplinary agency “Architecture at Large” in 2006, Rafael de Cárdenas worked as a menswear designer for Calvin Klein and as the director of a special effects production company. His diverse experience has led him to work with the likes of Barneys New York, Baccarat, Cartier and Nike. Maison & Objet Americas runs May 10-13 in Miami.

Obituary: Alexandre Reza, Jeweler to the Stars

Some gem collectors amass a hoard of both specific and random treasures. Russian-born jeweler Alexandre Reza who died January 15 was the opposite. Reza, whose elite clientele included the ill-fated Dodi al-Fayed and Princess Diana, is perhaps the only collector of gemstones who pursued very specific gems and passed the better part of his collection on. The beneficiaries were his clients from Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, Boucheron, Harry Winston, Bulgari and Chaumet. He spent three decades doing this and yet in 2013, auction house Sotheby’s declared that the library of his own eponymous maison was “hardly unrivaled in size, breadth and quality.” The man known as the master jeweler to the stars was an undisputed giant.

His Paris-based company, headed by son Olivier since 2008, announced his passing in Geneva aged 93, on January 19. Reza died Friday last after a long illness.

Olivier Reza’s description of his father in a 2014 New York Times article sums up the late Reza’s reputation perfectly: “The real métier of haute joaillerie, as it was established by Louis Cartier, Frédéric Boucheron, Laurence Graff, Jacques Arpels and my father, draws primarily on passion.”

Alexandre Reza was himself the son of an ethnic Iranian jeweler and was born in Soviet Moscow in 1922. The family fled the turmoil of the Russian Revolution for the relative tranquil of Paris in 1925, where Alexandre would eventually follow in his father’s footsteps. Initially, he was a gemologist who was much sought-after for his expert eye. Eventually Reza found that he also had an eye for design and craftsmanship by simply following the old code of jewelry design: always be led by the stone.

Reza’s passion, acumen and connections allowed him to trade in a massive number of stones, building for his own maison one of the world’s largest collections of natural and untreated stones.

This report was compiled by in-house writers, in combination with a wire report from the AFP and an image from our archive, an item in the Sotheby’s 2013 tribute exhibition to Alexandre Reza. No image has been released of Alexandre Reza by his estate.

Fire at Famed Ritz Hotel Paris, No Casualties

A major fire broke out at the landmark Paris Ritz hotel, which is closed for renovations, the fire service said January 19. This hotel was one those shortlisted on our list of hotels we can’t wait to reopen this year. No word has emerged yet if the reopening will be delayed but we do know that there are no casualties reported at this time.

The blaze is on the “top floor of the building and the roof”, a fire service spokesman said. He said no one was staying in the five-star hotel and there were no casualties but a “large” part of the building was affected.

A column of smoke could be seen rising above Paris from the hotel’s location in the Place Vendome, in the heart of the city’s luxury district near the Opera Garnier.

Some 60 firefighters and around 15 fire engines were dispatched to the blaze after the alert was raised at 6:00am (0500 GMT). “Our concern is to stop the fire spreading to the rest of the floor and roof,” the spokesman said.

Police reported a “major fire” on their Twitter account and advised motorists to avoid the area.

The four-story classically styled hotel, owned by Egyptian billionaire Mohamed Al Fayed, was due to reopen late this year after a three-year closure for top-to-bottom renovations.

The hotel of choice of Charlie Chaplin, Coco Chanel and Ernest Hemingway, where a small bar is named after him, the Ritz is also infamous as the place where Princess Diana and Dodi Fayed dined before their fatal car crash in 1997.

Tenacious D Auction Props for Paris Victims

Tenacious D, actor Jack Black’s comic rock duo, put some of their stage props on auction December 22 to raise money for victims of the Paris terror attacks.

The items, which will be bid on for two weeks, range from gaudy coats worn by Black and band mate Kyle Gass to a ceiling-high phallic prop with an eagle’s face – estimated in value at $2,000 – that the band took on its 2012 tour.

Proceeds will go to the Sweet Stuff Foundation, a charity led by Josh Homme of Eagles of Death Metal, the fellow California rockers whose concert in Paris was attacked by extremists linked to the Islamic State group.

Black has performed with Eagles of Death Metal and said Homme reached out to the band.

“We were eager to join the cause. This is our small but heartfelt contribution,” Black and Gass said in a statement.

The auction items can be found here.

Tenacious D rose to prominence in the 1990s through an HBO television series in which the duo took on ironic rock personas. Their songs often dwell on sex moves or over-the-top science fiction themes.

Eagles of Death Metal have separately launched a campaign for artists to cover their song “I Love You All the Time,” with proceeds also going to charity.

Some 130 people died in the coordinated assaults around Paris on November 13, 90 of them at the Bataclan club where Eagles of Death Metal were playing with Austrian support act White Miles.

13 Hotels We are Waiting for in 2016

From the highly anticipated opening of a Toy Story-themed hotel at Shanghai Disney, to the grand reopening of two iconic Parisian landmarks, 2016 will be a big year for the luxury hotel market. While tens of thousands of new properties will open their doors for the first time in 2016, here is a selection of properties that are noteworthy for raising the bar in luxury, marking a milestone, or helping to transform the local tourism landscape.


In the last few years, Paris saw the temporary shuttering of two of its most iconic and luxurious hotels, the Ritz Paris and Hotel Crillon. This year, they will compete for attention as both are slated to re-open their doors after extensive and lengthy renovations.

Ritz Paris (March, 2016)

The hotel has been undergoing renovations since July 2012 – the biggest makeover in the hotel’s 117 year-old history. The refurbishment includes a new spa by luxury fashion brand Chanel, called “Chanel au Ritz Paris.” The hotel began accepting reservations for stays starting March 14, 2016.

Hotel de Crillon, Paris (2016)

With a history dating back to 1758, the Hotel Crillon (pictured above) is a veritable institution in Paris, located at Place de la Concorde where the Champs-Elysees begins. In 2013, it was announced that Rosewood Hotels & Resorts would take over the management of the property. The restoration will entail a contemporary overhaul led by Lebanese artistic director Aline d’Amman and architect Richard Martinet. It was also announced that Karl Lagerfeld has been commissioned to design two suites. An exact opening date has yet to be disclosed.

Nobu Hotel, Shoreditch, London (First quarter of 2016)

Nobu Hospitality (pictured below), co-owned by Japanese chef Nobu Matsuhisa and actor Robert De Niro, has announced plans to open its first European hotel in London’s trendy Shoreditch area in 2016. Expected to open in the first quarter of the year, the hotel’s five storeys are fractured into angular balconies and cantilevered steel beams using printed layered, glass and reflective facades to play with reflection and light. The hotel will be comprised of 156 rooms while the dining options will be helmed by chef Matsuhisa.

Il Sereno Lake Como, Italy (Spring 2016)

This five-star boutique hotel will be the sister establishment of the luxurious Le Sereno Saint Barths. Located 6 km from the center of Como and 50 minutes from Milan, the design of the new 30-room hotel has been overseen by Patricia Urquiola, who has focused on natural materials to create an aesthetic that is both timeless and full of character, intimate and casual. Urquiola’s studio will also design the interior of the ferry that will shuttle guests around the lake. Room rates will range from 600 to 4500 euros.

nobu shoreditch

Nobu Hotel


The Oberoi Marrakech (Third quarter of 2016)

Located 20 minutes from the city center, the luxurious property is built within 25 acres of citrus orchards and ancient olive groves. Each villa and suite comes with a private pool and views of the Atlas mountains, while rooms are spacious, modern and feature handcrafted Moroccan design features. The brand’s signature spa is built on a private island on a lake within the orchard, and offers Ayurvedic and Moroccan-inspired treatments. Facilities also include Moroccan hammams, yoga studio and outdoor pavilion.


Four Seasons Hotel New York Downtown (mid-2016)

Billed as the little sister to its flagship New York property in Midtown, the second Four Seasons hotel will open in the Tribeca district, a short stroll from the new World Trade Center, Wall Street and the Soho neighborhood and serve as a dual residential and hotel property. The 185 rooms are designed by Yabu Pushelberg. Dining will be provided by Wolfgang Puck and his CUT steakhouse restaurant and bar.

The James Hotel, Los Angeles (2016)

Once construction is complete in 2016, The James Hotel will open the doors to the first new ground-up hotel in West Hollywood in 30 years. The boutique property will open in the heart of Sunset Strip at the corner of Sunset and La Cienega Boulevards, and house 286 rooms, two restaurants and a rooftop and lobby bar. The LA location will be the third for the brand after locations in Chicago and New York. The brand’s philosophy embraces wellness, sustainability, local art and culture.

Il Sereno Lake Como

Il Sereno Lake Como

Middle East

Four Seasons Abu Dhabi, UAE (2016)

Located in the heart of the new Central Business District, the opening of the Four Seasons Hotel Abu Dhabi at Al Maryah Island will mark the first hotel for the chain in the Emirati capital. The property will open along a stretch of prime waterfront, and house a retro-modern Chicago steakhouse, cocktail bar, and poolside restaurant. Along with 200 rooms, the property will also feature 124 private and serviced residences.

St. Regis Cairo, Egypt (October 2016)

Organized as two towers, the St. Regis will house 292 lavish rooms that includes 63 suites. The mixed use property will also offer 99 guest apartments and 117 residences. Located on the north end of Corniche Road, rooms will offer views of the Nile River and in proximity to the pyramids and retail area.


Wynn Palace Cotai, Macau (June 25, 2016)

Originally scheduled to open in March 2016, the ambitious Wynn Palace Cotai will be delayed by another three months for a set date of June 25. The $4.1 billion, floral-themed property features 1,700 rooms spanning 28 storeys, and an artificial lake. To enter the grounds, guests will board air-conditioned SkyCabs that cross the 8-acre Performance Lake into the heart of the resort. Like its predecessors, the Wynn Palace will house an opulent spa, salon, luxury retailers and gourmet dining restaurants.

Mandarin Oriental, Bali (End of 2016)

Located on the southern Bukit peninsula, the luxury hotel group’s newest property will be built on elevated terraces to offer commanding views of the Indian Ocean. The resort will be comprised of 97 villas, each with a private pool and 24 guestrooms. The signature restaurant will be a cliff-top, cantilevered dining space with sweeping ocean views. Guests will also be able to indulge in luxurious spa services that include Balinese treatments.

Shanghai Disney (Spring 2016)

After experiencing construction delays, the opening of Disney’s third theme park in Asia after Hong Kong and Tokyo is expected to open its pearly gates in spring. When it does, the park will also open the doors to two highly anticipated themed hotels, The Shanghai Disneyland Hotel and a Toy Story Hotel. Not particularly encouraging is the image supplied for this story but we digress! At the Art Nouveau-inspired Shanghai Disneyland Hotel, guests will be greeted by bronze statues of Mickey and Minnie Mouse, while Toy Story fans will find Woody and Buzz Lightyear at the hotel courtyard.

Rosewood Phuket (2016)

To open on Emerald Bay in Western Phuket, the luxury property will be comprised of 80 villas and 32 residences that are designed to blend in with its natural hillside forest surroundings. Retractable glass walls will provide guests with unobstructed views of their environment, while garden rooftops and cantilevered structures will help the villas meld with the landscape. Dining options include a rustic Thai seafood eatery on the beach, poolside eatery, bistro and terrace bar, while a Sense spa will feature six spa villas and a swimming pool.

Shanghai Disney

Shanghai Disney

Provisional Dates for Paris Menswear Shows

The Fall-Winter 2016-17 menswear collections will hit Paris from January 20 to 24. New additions to the schedule include two Japanese labels: White Mountaineering and Christian Dada. All times shown are local Paris time. Be advised that most shows are by invitation so make your plans accordingly. If you are attending, we’ll see you on Instagram, along with our friends from Men’s Folio and L’Officiel.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

10:00 – Lucien Pellat Finet

11:30 – AVOC

12:30 – OAMC

13:30 – Strateas Carlucci

14:30 – Lemaire

15:30 – Y/Project

16:30 – Walter Van Beirendonck

17:30 – Valentino

19:00 – Haider Ackermann

20:30 – Raf Simons

Thursday, January 21, 2016

10:30 – Issey Miyake Men

12:30 – Rick Owens

13:30 – Kolor

14:30 – Andrea Crews

15:30 – Julien David

17:00 – Louis Vuitton

18:00 – Yohji Yamamoto

19:30 – Dries Van Noten

20:30 – Boris Bidjan Saberi

Friday, January 22, 2016

10:00 – Junya Watanabe Man

11:00 – Maison Margiela

12:00 – Ann Demeulemeester

13:00 – Miharayasuhiro

14:00 – 22/4 _Hommes

15:00 – Christian Dada

16:00 – Cerruti

17:00 – Comme des Garçons Homme Plus

18:00 – Givenchy

19:00 – En attente de confirmation

20:00 – Berluti

Saturday, January 23, 2016

10:00 – Kenzo

11:00 – Sacai

12:00 – Songzio

13:00 – Etudes

15:00 – Dior Homme

16:00 – Wooyoungmi

17:00 – Balmain

18:00 – Henrik Vibskov

19:00 – White Mountaineering

20:00 – Hermès

21:00 – AMI Alexandre Mattiussi

Sunday, January 24, 2016

10:00 – Officine Générale

11:00 – Lanvin

12:00 – Agnès b.

14:00 – Rynshu

15:00 – Hood By Air

16:00 – Paul Smith

17:00 – Umit Benan

18:00 – Thom Browne

20:00 – Saint Laurent

Kinetic Sculpture: Menagerie des Miroirs

Ahead of the much-awaited sixth anniversary of Le Cabinet de Curiosites exhibition, designer Christopher Jenner has revealed what he plans to present. Ahead of that, the Cabinet of Curiosities is an old world concept that the noble classes pioneered in Europe. It involved collecting oddities and curiosities, hence the name.

Back to the story at hand, Jenner has created a highly engineered Menagerie des Miroirs, referencing the age of discovery and scientific observation. His composition, crafted with the precision and finesse of traditional watchmaking, is a technical layering of vertical stainless steel cogs and arms set in horizontal composition on a black marble plinth. The piece can be manipulated with a small oak turning dial to activate a kinetic choreography of cogs and wheels that reveals a complex ballet of magnified glass and reflective mirror.

The Thomas Erber-masterminded travelling exhibition will be open for public viewing in Paris from now to 31 December. Visit the official website for more details.

This story was originally published in Form magazine in Singapore.

Contempo Chinese Art at Fondation Louis Vuitton

Anyone who has paid even passing attention to art auctions in the last 10 years cannot have escaped the power of contemporary Chinese art. It is surprising to us then to hear that the upcoming exhibition at the Fondation Louis Vuitton in January is the first time an entire exhibition has been devoted to contemporary Chinese artists in France in 10 years. The exhibition, running though the spring, brings together 12 Chinese artists and their work.

Entitled “Bentu,” it references the concept of motherland or native land, which is what the term refers to specifically. Make no mistake though, this is not about national boundaries. Instead, it represents a dialogue between local and global and a process of self-discovery.

Works on display will examine a changing Chinese society with artists from different generations employing a wide range of techniques and materials. Alongside the installations, there will be classical and contemporary musical performances, as well as films and poetry.


Liu Shiyuan; “From Happiness to Wherever”; 2015

Among the veteran artists on display is Liu Xiaodong, who has experimented with both acting and painting. Also exhibiting is artist Cao Fei, who has directed and produced experimental documentaries. Liu Shiyuan, of a younger generation, will be also showing her work.

The exhibition examines local cultures, tradition, new technologies as well as the interaction between urban and rural. The focal point being identity.

The “Bentu” exhibition is not meant to give an overview of contemporary Chinese art.  Rather, organizers want to present the multifaceted aspect of it and how its forms are constantly evolving.

The exposition will begin on January 27, 2016 and run until April. Music, poetry and films will continue until September 5. The Foundation Louis Vuitton will also highlight a selection of its permanent collection of Chinese art from January 27 until September 5.


Cao Fei; “Strangers”; 205-2016

Yiqing Yin is First China-born Haute Couture Star

High fashion gets more inclusive, while staying completely exclusive. The first Chinese-born designer was admitted December 17 into Paris’s elite coterie of haute couture creators. Yiqing Yin, who recently quit as artistic director of Leonard to concentrate on her own label, is also one of the youngest, at 30.

Haute couture exists only in Paris and is sustained by a small number of the world’s richest women.

The designation — regarded as the pinnacle of the fashion world — is protected by French law and attributed exclusively by the ministry of industry to 14 houses whose clothes are entirely made by hand and tailored to each client.

Yin, who grew up in France after moving from China at age four, will feature in the next haute couture shows, which take place in the French capital between January 24 and 28.

Chinese designer Guo Pei — who created the spectacular, and much-parodied long yellow dress worn by the singer Rihanna at the Met gala in New York in May — has also been invited to take part in the January shows as a “guest” designer.

Yin studied at France’s famous national school of decorative arts before winning the Andam prize for her first collection in 2011, the same year she was invited to show her work in the haute couture shows.

Her big break was when actress Audrey Tautou chose to wear one of her intricately pleated dresses when she compered the awards ceremony at the Cannes film festival two years later.

Only 14 fashion houses have the right to call themselves haute couture – Chanel, Christian Dior, Givenchy, Jean Paul Gaultier, Maison Margiela, Giambattista Valli, Franck Sorbier, Adeline Andre, Alexandre Vauthier, Alexis Mabille, Bouchra Jarrar, Maurizio Galante and Stephane Rolland.

Another 20 are regarded as “guest members” of the elite club. In addition to Guo Pei, Dutch designer Iris Van Herpen and French designer Yacine Aouad have been invited to show as guests during January’s catwalk shows.

Fly, Sail, Travel – Louis Vuitton Toasts Freedom

Luxury icon Louis Vuitton is making its mark as a leading light of heritage, craftsmanship and innovation via the “Volez, Voguez, Voyagez – Louis Vuitton” exhibition at the Grand Palais in Paris. While we have previously covered this exhibition and another one in Singapore, it is appropriate to take stock and revisit just what makes Louis Vuitton such a powerful force and indeed, a force for good. Celebrities, influencers and such aside, Louis Vuitton is something to aspire to, a name that makes people feel good about themselves and their success, however those people define success. Coming on the heels of terror attacks in both France and the USA, this exhibition is nothing less than an expression of the triumph of freedom, of joie de vivre as it were. To go even further – because it is important at this moment in time – the exhibition is a reminder that life is not only to be savored but that celebrating life is the right message to send to the world, especially from Paris.

LV GRAND PALAIS7488 ©Grégoire Vieille-r50

Detailed view from the exhibition, Chapter 4 The Invention of Travel. All exhibition photos ©Grégoire Vieille

Opening night of “Volez, Voguez, Voyagez – Louis Vuitton” saw plenty of star power, assembled we think not only to push the brand but also to push this positive message. Of course the top brass of LVMH were present – CEO of LVMH Bernard Arnault and CEO of Louis Vuitton Michael Burke – and so was the French Minister for Economy, Industry and Digital Affairs Emmanuel Macron. They were joined by Daniel Buren, Bertrand Lavier, Christian de Portzamparc, Xavier Veilhan, Olafur Eliasson, Jean-Michel Othoniel, Gaultier Capucon, Laurent Grasso, Fabrice Hyber, Laurent Korcia and Kader Attia. In the official press release, Louis Vuitton calls this “a statement to support freedom of creation and the French art-de-vivre.” It is also worth noting that travel expands one’s horizons and reminds us of what a diverse world we live in. This diversity is also worth celebrating in Louis Vuitton’s past, present and future in the spirit of world travel – and potentially travel to other worlds in this or the next century.

Alber Elbaz-r50

Alber Elbaz

Curated by Olivier Saillard, “Volez, Voguez, Voyagez – Louis Vuitton” (literally Fly, Sail, Travel) traces the history of Louis Vuitton from its foundation in 1854 right up to present times, and then projects into the future. There are nine chapters to this tale, conceived and brought to life by Robert Carsen. Of particular note here are elements from private institutions and collections, the most notable of which is Gustave Courbet’s Chene  de Flagey, on public display for the first time since 2013. The exhibition is open to the public of course and is ongoing till February 21, 2016.

Rome by Way of Paris: Chanel 2015/16 Métiers d’art

French luxury giant Chanel brought the drama to Rome December 1, with legendary Italian film studio Cinecittà serving as the backdrop for the unveiling of the Paris-Rome 2015/16 “Métiers d’art” pre-fall collection.

It was a star-studded affair all round, with designer Karl Lagerfeld using the opportunity to debut a movie of his own – the short film Once and Forever, starring Kristen Stewart and Geraldine Chaplin (covered previously in L’Officiel Singapore). The runway itself was a movie-theater-worthy black and white cinema reconstruction of the City of Light.

The clothes invoked both the nostalgic Paris of the silver screen and that of the modern-day fashion capital, walking the delicate line between romantic and suggestive.

A model presents a creation during the 12th Chanel Metiers díArt show “Paris-Rome”. AFP PHOTO / GABRIEL BOUYS

Knitwear was given a dreamy makeover for the collection, with chunky sweaters in pastel hues livened up by intricate detailing that was overtly pretty. Lagerfeld captured the poetic charm of the French capital with whimsical pieces such as a puffball-sleeved cream dress adorned with a pink ribbon belt.

However, there was more than a hint of the vamp in the collection’s glamorous black leather mini dresses and peacoats, while the lace stockings, pencil skirts and cropped tops lent the affair a distinctly racy undertone.


There were plenty of the French house’s classic tweeds on show, with cape silhouettes and trouser suits adding a 1960s vibe that was exacerbated by the model’s coiffed beehives and kholed-out eyes. The signature fabric was used to created bulky overcoats and trenches that were layered over the gossamer-light lingerie-style dresses for a very French insouciance that perfectly encapsulated the Parisian nonchalance when it comes to style.

US actress Kristen Stewart (C), US actress Geraldine Chaplin (3rdL) and Italian director Matteo Garonne attend the 12th Chanel Metiers díArt show "Paris-Rome", an annual event to honor craftsmanship that artisan partners bring to the houseís collections, on December 1, 2015 at the Cinecitta studios in Rome. AFP PHOTO / GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP / GABRIEL BOUYS
Kristen Stewart (C), Geraldine Chaplin and Italian director Matteo Garonne attend the Chanel show. AFP PHOTO / GABRIEL BOUYS

From Paris to Singapore: Louis Vuitton Exhibitions

Tis the season of Louis Vuitton, with dual exhibitions in Paris and Singapore. The history of Louis Vuitton, France’s most famous luxury leather bag maker and one of the leading lights of contemporary fashion, will be showcased at the Grand Palais in Paris from December 4, 2015 to February 21, 2016. The three-month event is designed to allow the general public to discover treasures from this giant’s past.

Concurrently, the Louis Vuitton Series 3 exhibition is already underway at The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, Singapore. A deep dive into the world of Louis Vuitton, this show runs till December 23.

Back to “Volez, Voguez, Voyagez – Louis Vuitton” in Paris. Curated by Olivier Saillard, the head of Paris’s Galliera fashion museum, the exhibition not only tells us about the history of this luxury goods house, but also the main people who have had an impact on it, from the founders to Nicolas Ghesquière, the current creative director of the brand’s womenswear collections.


“Louis Vuitton has always been at the avant-garde of creation….For this exhibition, Olivier Saillard has immersed himself in the archives of our Maison to decode its secrets. He delivers a fresh vision of our past, present and future,” says Michael Burke, Louis Vuitton’s CEO.

The exhibition will be spread across several rooms at the Grand Palais, with set design by Robert Carsen. It will open with an iconic symbol of Louis Vuitton, a trunk dating back to 1906, and will be split into nine themes covering the design house’s links with the art world, plus other fields such as cars, yachts, aviation, writing, and beauty.


Similarly, Series 3 looks at the past, present and future of Louis Vuitton across a series of rooms – hence the name. The focus here is the vision of Ghesquière in the Fall/Winter 2015 collection. There is a secret final room here, which can be discovered in the Louis Vuitton Marina Bay Sands flagship store.

Many of the special orders made by Louis Vuitton will also be put on show. The exhibition will end with a room dedicated to the company’s craftsmanship.

“Volez, Voguez, Voyagez – Louis Vuitton” — from December 4, 2015 to February 21, 2016 — at the Salon d’Honneur in the Grand Palais, Paris.

paris catacomb Airbnb

Airbnb offers night in Paris Catacombs for Halloween

paris catacomb Airbnb

No one has ever woken up alive in Airbnb’s latest rental offer, but then again, no one has ever spent the night alongside six million dead Parisians in the city’s Catacombs.

For Halloween, the home rental website is offering brave travellers a night in the sprawling tunnels filled with skulls and bones that is one of Paris’s most popular — and ghoulish — attractions.

The competition offers two people a night in the Catacombs on October 31, with a “real bed”, dinner with private concert and breakfast.

“Before bedtime, a storyteller will have you spellbound with fascinating tales from the catacombs, guaranteed to produce nightmares. Finally, enjoy dawn with the dead, as you become the only living person ever to wake up in the Paris catacombs,” reads the listing.

Halloween Night Paris Catacombs

Town hall sources said Monday the California-based Airbnb paid up to 350,000 euros to privatise the tunnels.

The transfer of human remains from Parisian cemeteries to the tunnels began towards the end of the 18th century when authorities realised that the decomposition of bodies in the city’s cemeteries was not particularly good for public health.

“It was said that the wine was turning bad and the milk was curdling,” Sylvie Robin, the site’s curator, told AFP in an interview last year.

paris catacomb

Among the bones lining the walls of the two-kilometre (1.2-mile) long tunnels — only a small part of a network of abandoned underground quarries — are pictures and quotes about mortality.

“Think in the morning that you might not survive until the evening, and in the evening that you might survive until the morning,” reads one.

The House Rules section on Airbnb, which allows property dwellers and owners to rent a room or entire home, warns guests to “respect the Catacombs as you would your own grave”.

Halloween Paris Catacombs bed

The Catacombs, some 20 metres under the sewers and metro system, lures some 500,000 visitors a year. It has already been rented out to film crews and for fashion shows.

Writers like Victor Hugo, Gaston Leroux and Anne Rice have all drawn inspiration from the spooky network of tunnels.

Coach opens first flagship store in Paris

Coach Paris flagship store

American luxury brand  has opened its first flagship store in Paris as part of its ongoing strategy to expand into Europe.

Coach Paris flagship

After opening standalone stores in London and Madrid, the retailer known for its high end accessories has opened a two-level store on the glitzy Rue Saint-Honore, occupying a former Hugo Boss boutique.

Coach Paris flagship handbags

The Parisian outlet will sell men’s and women’s fashion and accessories across 6,500 square feet (604 square meters).

Coach Paris flagship store interior

The store will also feature a “craftsmanship bar” that will provide different leather services such as leather care, repair, monogramming and personalization, reports WWD.

Coach Paris flagship interior

The company is also eyeing expansion into Milan and Munich.

Volez Voguez Voyagez Louis Vuitton

Grand Palais in Paris to host Louis Vuitton exhibit

Volez Voguez Voyagez Louis Vuitton

An exhibition coming to Paris’s Grand Palais in December is to trace the Louis Vuitton brand’s history from trunk maker to luxury giant.

WWD reports that “Volez, Voguez, Voyagez – Louis Vuitton” will run from December 4 through February 21.

Olivier Saillard curates an exhibit that will fill 9 rooms in the palace’s Salon d’Honneur, covering the trunks, the evolution of travel, craftsmanship and Vuitton’s modern role in ready-to-wear and luggage for celebrities.

In 2012, the luxury brand was the subject of a an exhibition in Paris at Les Arts Décoratifs called “Louis Vuitton-Marc Jacobs.”


Airbnb agrees to collect taxes on rentals in Paris


Paris-bound travelers booking accommodations with Airbnb will soon notice an extra line on their billing receipt charging guests about a euro a night to help pay for the local tourist tax.

For reservations made as of October 1, travelers will see an extra 0.83 euros a night tacked on to their bill that will go towards the local tourist tax, a fee the city has been collecting since 1994 from all forms of accommodation, including hotels, apartments and campsites.


Airbnb has announced plans to launch the tourist tax collection service with Paris first, before rolling out to other cities across France.