Paris on Sale
I looked at the retail scene here two days ago. Unfortunate timing for the divining of trends. These being the last days of the big January "Soldes," stores look ransacked and in tatters. This is especially true for the large department stores where sales merchandise is still piled high. Even smaller stores, usually the delight of those looking for new ideas are coping with leftover inventories and frayed sales staffs.
Since, unlike in the US, the French government tightly controls the exact dates when discount sales can be held in both January and August, participation by the natives tends to be more intense than in the States, where sales are an almost everyday opportunity.
Only Bon Marche, with a nod to Paris Meuble and Maison & Objet featured an exhibit of 64 versions of the Arne Jacobsen "Egg"chair, each covered in different recycled materials together featured under the umbrella "patchwork."
On the bright side, there is orange - the "it" color of the moment in all its brilliance seen in home furnishings, tabletop as well as apparel, handbags, even shoes. It’s a color that usually does best in the mid markets. It is less digestible for the high end.
It’s no surprise then that luxury items reflect a more refined take on the color as Calvin Klein did with a bedding ensemble seen at Lafayette Maison. Although surrounded by neighboring bright orange displays, Calvin takes the color to its deepest hue, a glowing russet, toned down even further with a shadowy print in black. Likewise, Calvin avoided the passionate purples by taking his not to the blues but to the furthest reaches of red to an inky, almost black aubergine. These two variants show just how richly elegant both of those colors can be - in the right hands. An additional take-off from orange, and a very promising one at that, is Saffron an orange cast yellow, a close cousin of Marygold but taking its name from the exotic spice it’s prominence also forecast by Doty Horn of Benjamin Moore. Together with the russets and Chinese lacquer reds which duplicates the color of Paprika, the spice tones are back in full strength and can do much to wake up the neutrals.
With the usual suspects pretty much in disarray, I turned to some of the concept stores which seem to have multiplied like mushrooms since the last time I looked.
If you have time to explore and troll for new directions, here are some that are worth a detour - if not this time, the next time you come to Paris.
There is Ateliers d’ Art de France, a showcase for artists and craftsmen selling unique objects and limited editions from over 200 creators.You will find decorative objects, lighting,furniture, tablewares even some jewelry and fragrances. 22 and 26 Ave. Niel. (17th).
Exposure displays similar diversity with objects and furnishings designed by young and upcoming talents, some also highlighted at the soon to open Maison &Objet.16 rue du Vertbois (3rd).
Talents one of the best, brought to you by the same organization, Ateliers d’Art de France as mentioned above, the Federation of Craft Professionals and Artists. This boutique brings together contemporary objects, furniture, light fixtures and other unique pieces by more than 70 craftsmen and designers. 1 bis rue Scribe (9th).
One store always worth visiting for its great selection of housewares and appliances, BVD, at 14, Rue du Temple (4th) has opened a new department worth noting for its wider implications: a shop dedicated to motorcycles and accessories. With Europe leading the way toward 2-wheel transportation and away from 4-wheelers, and Paris being a model case for easy and inexpensive bicycle rentals available all over the city, can the time for similar shops be far behind in the U.S. as it tries to evolve from a gas-guzzling country to one attempting to practice the virtues of conservation and learn to be more protective of the environment