Archive for March, 2012
Drinking my morning coffee at the neighborhood cafe, running my morning run in Jardin du Luxembourg, visiting foundation Cartier instead of foundation Henri Cartier Bresson. Rue Vavin, Rue de Bac, Rue de Montparnasse, Cimetiere du Montparnasse, Cimetiere du Pere Lachaise just before sun down. 3 underwear and 1 bra at Oysho in Rue du Rennes. Invalides at dusk. Candles and perfumes at Astier de Villatte, crashing a cocktail party at Parfums Jovoy at Rue de Castigliore and getting tipsy from a merlot. Bubbly champagne with a local friend next to Pantheon, Cheese and baguette for dinner, soupe à l’oignon for dinner, chocolate noir pour le dessert. Quick coffee with Paris Trikkes, Quick walk to St. Sulpice while eating pistachio and chocolate Macarons. Great Pastries at Laduree, Rue de Buci’s food market, Boulevard Raspail’s stands. Walk along the crowded streets of Le Marais. M. Chat, Fred le Chevalier, Space invaders and Jef Aerosol at Place Starvinsky, just behind the Niki de Saint Phalle fountain. Food market at Les Enfants Rouges, Rose wine in the afternoon. Hotel de Ville at night. Guided tour at Mama Shelter hotel. Floral suitcases at the Merci store at Boulevard Beamarchais, color beads at BonTon next door. Pont de Bir Hakeim in a very sunny day. Marc Jacobs and Louis Vitton at Les Arts Decoratifs. Rue st. Honore on an empty Sunday. Barefoot lunch along the Seine river on a very sunny day. Oberkampf on Monday, crepe suzette for lunch, graffiti walk along Canal st. Martin. Seafood lunch outdoors. Gallerie Wallworks at rue Martel, semi private tour with a local French. St. Sebastien Froissart, Sweet Honey bread for breakfast, Colette store at rush hour. The Conran shop, Petit Pan and so many I can’t even pronounce. Glittery tour Eiffel after midnight, foggy Boulevard Montparnasse at sunrise. Laughing a lot with a good friend and making jokes of almost everything we cross by. Catching up with old friends, and finally meeting with new ones. Getting the answer of how many space invaders are in Paris and around the World, without really making an effort….Priceless.
There are those who associate the words ‘Japanese Fashion’ with a Kimono. There are those who would associate the words with Issey Miyake or Yohji Yamamoto, the two well known Japanese fashion designers, and there are those who would come up with the Harajuku Girls phenomena. All associations are true and valid
The Japanese women might be the only ones for whom the world’s most prestigious fashion designers have opened stores in Japan and designed special collections to fit their slim figures and their exquisite taste in Fashion. In the last decade, the number of working women in the age group of 35-45 is only growing stronger, due to the increase in employment opportunities for women and the changes in gender perception. These women are working longer hours, earn more and they want to promote and develop not only their career, but also themselves. They worship everything that has to do with luxury brands and their quality, and they invest a lot of effort, time and money in their appearance. A so-called consumer society.
One of the most influential Fashion companies in Japan, which has a great impact on how the Japanese woman will look, is H.P France. Don’t let the French name fool you; The company was originated in Japan and is now one of the major corporations that imports clothing, shoes, jewelry and fashion accessories of designers from Europe, North and Latin America as well as representing some local Japanese designers.
A brief History: The company was founded in Tokyo in 1984 and opened its first boutique, Lamp in Harajuku. Lamp was a combination of a clothing store and a gallery, showing Art works of young Japanese artists. (This combination was actually the beginning of a concept that combines Art and Fashion together and supports Art projects in various galleries. including the Art gallery in New York and Tokyo under the name HPgrp Gallery). In 1989 the company started working with buyers and fashion designers in France and right after opened an office in Paris, dealing mainly with importing clothes by young designers from France to Japan. A few years later, the company expanded its areas of operations to sell fashion accessories and jewelry and was able to create a buzz among Japanese women.
In 2001 a representative office was opened in New York and the company opened a special department of imported jeans. Among other things, the company began to import brands and young designers clothing from Argentina and Brazil and opened a public relations department to manage its own marketing, which focuses on marketing planning, graphic design, store and window design and maintenance of the company’s Web sites.
H.P France is currently employing approximately 600 employees and represents approximately 40 brands from around the world. It has 54 clothing stores only in Tokyo and additional 34 stores in other areas of Japan, Paris and New York
In addition, H.P. France is responsible for the establishment of a professional guide for manufacturers of fashion and exhibition. It is a great supporter of the Arts and has two galleries (New York and Tokyo) and for the last two years has launched and stood behind Shibuya Fashion Festival, which is the equivalent of Fashion Week in New York, Paris and Milan.
There is a big chance that in one of your subsequent visits to Tokyo, you will come across at least once, one of the 54 stores of H.P France, which are spectacular and inviting. Each boutique has its own unique identity and design. Only the words H.P France below the logo of the store, divulge the origin of the store. Beside the clothing, H.P France has a very popular line of accessories and accessories stores spread across the city. There is also a designated store for the Home, called H.P. Deco, which includes furniture, table ware, pillows, lamps, rugs, you name it.
Fashion Trends: While I was having a guided tour at the company’s headquarters and showroom in Harajuku, where I was walking among countless clothing racks, hangers, and shoes, it felt as discovering a magical treasure of the upcoming Spring-Summer collection, and I was lucky enough to get a glimpse of the upcoming Fashion trends: There is no doubt. It is going to be a quite colorful season or as described by one of the staff, ‘there will be many surprises in terms of combinations of colors, and it will not be boring, for sure’
Bold Pastels: There will be a great use of pink, yellow and turquoise blue colors, as well as lilac purple, mandarine orange, light peach and mint green.
Romantic- Modern style: A combination of classic elements such as floral lace, floral prints, fabrics with rounded trims with waves and geometric patterns together. The trend is to wear only one item or one print of bright color or floral print to create maximum performance.
Retro prints: Such as large flowers, geometric shapes, bright colors and airy patterns. Relaxed and fit
Pleats and pleated fabrics: Mostly skirts and dresses and the use of airy fabrics like chiffon or silk
High Waist: Pants or skirts will be waist high or above the waist, causing the small Japanese women to look taller
Gloss and shiny: A combination of one shiny color item to upgrade and complete the look
Not that Paris is in shortage of any perfumes stores. On the contrary. There are so many. It seems that every other store, including clothing stores, home decor stores and even patisseries, are having their own line of perfumes.
In Rome act like Romans do and in Paris get perfumed as Parisians. Right?
As much as Paris is packed with perfumes stores, there is always a room for one more; Jovoy Paris, which was opened in Paris at the end of March and focuses on rare, exclusive and limited edition perfumes.
The man who stands behind Jovoy Paris, is the charming perfumer, François Henin, who started his way in Vietnam. His mission was to explore the natural olfactive riches of Vietnam and to set up a pilot distillation factory on the Chinese border. He traveled through Asia for four years, selling flavors, fragrances and raw materials to local businesses. On 2010 he returned to Paris with a project in mind: to acquire a forgotten perfume house in order to present beautiful, rare and limited edition fragrances. That was the first Jovoy perfumery he opened in Paris. The success was immediate and the Parisian women ran to the store. After all, who doesn’t want to smell a bit different than others?
It happened that I visited the new Jovoy’s location in rue de Castiglione the day of its grand opening and lucky me, the charming François Henin himself was walking around, explaining about Jovoy’s concept and told me some stories and anecdotes behind some of the perfumes. ‘Rare perfumes are usually small houses run by a perfumer, who is committed to using raw materials that are noble, natural and sometimes exclusive. They don’t have high sales targets but they resonate with consumers who really know and love perfumes, as well as those who are quite disappointed with the ‘muse’- oriented fragrances, that are the product of a too-wide distribution’
Aside from the wide selection, which is both original and quality-minded, I love the way Jovoy features its perfumes. Whereas in traditional shops the saleswoman is spraying the perfume on a smelling paper (and what you smell is actually the alcohol that ‘burns’ the nose), Jovoy uses glass domes to cover the little brown tester bottles, in order to capture the perfume’s true scent. It is actually allowing the customers to get a better idea of the fragrance’s real scent without the inconveniences of the alcohol.
But beside the little domes, the colorful perfumes bottles and obviously, the heavenly scents, I also love the way the new space is designed; The red walls, the warm colored shelves in the middle of the store, where costumers could pass both sides and the vintage touch of some of the displayed tables, gave Jovoy a very Parisian chic, yet conceptual high-class store.
Next time you are in Paris, include Jovoy store in your schedule. definitely a great way to experience Paris.
4, Rue de Castiglione, 75001 Paris
There are so many temptations in Paris…food-wise.
The French are well known for their delicate baguettes, the rich-with-butter croissants and for the sweet and colorful macaroons. The macaroons or in french ‘le macaron’, are small round meringue like cookies, made of sugar and eggs, stuffed with light cream or crushed almond cream. There are endless bakeries in Paris and so many patisseries that sell and serve macaroons but my favorite one was Ladurée, which became a prestigious brand name for macaroons. The history of the Ladurée brand goes back to 1862, when Louis Ernest Laduree, a miller from the southwest of France opened a bakery at 16 Rue Royale in Paris. At the same time, the area around the Madeleine was gradually becoming a central, cultural and prestigious thanks to the Garnier Opera’s developments. Ernest Ladurée’s wife, Jeanne Souchard, who was the daughter of a well-known hotelier, came up with the idea of combining a Literary salon for women with a Parisian café and pastry shop. The result was the first tea salons in town and “salon de thé” which had a definite advantage over other cafés, as these kinds of salons permitted ladies to gather in freedom. Jeanne Souchard succeeded in combining the turn-of-the-century trend to modernism. The tea room was enlarged in 1930 by a family member of Louis Ernest Ladurée, who gradually made it into a ‘Maison’ and a well known Parisian institution. In 1993 the Ladurée brand was bought by the Holder Group, which extended the business and opened a new prestigious Ladurée (both a restaurant and tea room) on the Champs-Elysées. The mission of the Holder Group was to bring back the great classics, which have contributed to the reputation of this ‘salon de thé’, as well as create an environment for gastronomic creativity in Paris. With time, Ladurée became a tea salon, pastry shop and extended its products to other colorful desserts, home fragrances, candles, stationary products, all are painted in pastel colors as of the macaroons. My most visited Ladurée was the one on 21 Rue Boneparte, a cute cornered patisserie with a colorful magical and tempting gift shop next door.
Just in time for Spring Season, the Fashion Magazine Marie Claire ITALIA is featuring my ongoing photography project ‘Intimacy under the Wires’. See the latest April Spring Issue.
For me, it is just another reason to go back to Italy and revisit….