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All Good Things Must Come to an End: The Closing of Colette, a Paris Fashion Institution

HiP Paris Blog says goodbye to Paris fashion institution Colette

Colette, which has been described by Forbes as The Trendiest Store In The World’, is a Paris institution. Chanel designer Karl Lagerfield famously declared that its the only shop he visits because they have things no one else has. But Colette is not only for the rich and famous; tourists, locals, young and old, trendy and not-so-trendy, everyone can find something that amuses or inspires at Colette.

Continue Reading »

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Sept Cinq: SOPI’s Concept Store & Cafe For the Fashion-Minded Locavore

Sept Cinq, HiP Paris Blog, Photo by Sept Cinq 3

Sept Cinq

Located in the shop-lined streets south of Pigalle, Sept Cinq offers concept shopping along with a cozy café setting. Taking its name, “Seven Five”, from the same postal code where they source their stock, this innovative boutique features locally made jewelry, handbags, and other accessories all created within the city of Paris.

Sept Cinq, HiP Paris Blog, Photo by Emily Poulain

Emily Poulain

Finding and supporting local producers is a big part of my life abroad. I scour the city’s markets to find local farmers, I serve locally brewed beer at my house parties, and I spend my time in cafés enjoying in-house roasted coffee.

Sept Cinq, HiP Paris Blog, Photo by Sept Cinq

Sept Cinq

So why would my shopping habits change when it comes to what I gift, wear, and decorate my house with? Thankfully, Sept Cinq provides an outlet for the fashion-minded locavore. Continue Reading »

Posted in Parisian Living, Shopping | 2 Comments »

5 Octobre: Handmade Jewelry in Paris’ Marais

On a rare afternoon off, I took a stroll in Paris and came upon 5 Octobre and Sophie, its adorable owner. She has wonderful gem of a boutique selling her handmade jewelry in the Marais. After hearing a little bit more about her unusual story, I’m so glad to share it with you here – Erica

How did decide to move from being a lawyer to making jewelry? Was the stop gradual or brutal?
It was a long process because I have been passionate about accessories since my childhood. I was already very creative, and the dream was ingrained very deeply – I didn’t just wake up one morning and decide I wanted to make jewelry. When I was 10 years old, I was already collecting beads and stones and turning them into jewelry for my friends.

I was also always a bit of an intellectual, so law satisfied that aspect of my personality, but it wasn’t creative enough. I traveled a lot as a lawyer; the time spent in transit allowed me to spend time dreaming about a new career that would fulfill a larger part of myself. My family is involved in fashion; my mother is a creative buyer for several stores she owns, so that helped me to envision a project that was both creative and professional.

Were your friends and family supportive of the change?
Everyone supports me (my husband first, my parents as well), but I knew the change of social status might not be as easy. Being a lawyer is quite well considered and I didn’t know if I would succeed in this new venture. Continue Reading »

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Paris Fashion Week: How to Dress the Part

Posing in the Tuileries in between shows, Paris Fashion Week 2012 (Boswell)

When early March hits, something in the air changes. Models come out of the woodwork and women in New York, London, Paris and elsewhere put a bit more effort into their attire. If you’re not in the fashion industry, it’s easy to be bewildered by the overnight switch from simple booties to stilettos. Fashion week is both daunting and exciting; add a locale like Paris to the mix and both sensations are heightened. Fear not, mes amis – dressing like a chic insider for Paris Fashion Week is possible.

Think of this week as an opportunity. March also (hopefully) marks the end of winter, a season when dreary days have the masses stuck in a style rut. Fashion choices are understandably made based on the practicality of pieces rather than how they actually look. After all, freezing temperatures make it near impossible to trade your puffy coat (the one that doubles as a sleeping bag) in for a cropped leather jacket, right?

Comings and goings in the Tuileries, Paris Fashion Week 2012 (Boswell)

Now that the weather’s turning around, ditch the bulk and grab your most daring pieces. Remember that quirky vintage hat you just had to have? Here’s your chance to wear it and not hear “mon dieu” whispered more times than you can count. Or those wonderfully whimsical printed tights that you feel just a little bit funny wearing around on any old day? Pull ‘em up. Parisians embrace Fashion Week, but that’s not to say you’ll get away with what you could in, say, New York. Here are a few guidelines to aid in your PFW sartorial adventures: Continue Reading »

Posted in Events, Parisian Living, Shopping | 9 Comments »

La Pinata: Pinatas Made By Prisoners Near Paris’ Canal Saint Martin

Parisian shops devoted entirely to a single specialty (like olive oil, honey, or communist literature) are considered obvious fixtures in an urban landscape where commercial efficiency is, if anything, an afterthought. So, when my roommate Winnie showed me a place on our street specializing in piñatas, of all things, my only thought was, “Of course. Naturally.” It was, incidentally, just across the street from our radical left-wing bookstore.

Winnie, a journalist, was covering the shop in a story with an unusual social twist. The piñatas, it turns out, are made by prisoners.

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Posted in Arts, Design, Events, Shopping | 10 Comments »

The Ten Never-Ending Trends of Parisian Shoppers

Ballet flats (Paris in Pink)

Casual shoppers, beware. The French sales are just around the corner and many a French fashionista is getting ready to pounce on items she has secretly coveted all Fall. In all honesty, though, the soldes are often the one moment of fashion folly many Parisiennes allow themselves. For decades, one market has proven remarkably resistant to passing trends: Paris. Despite jumping at the occasional fad (the Balmain-inspired shoulder pad, the hardware-adorned gladiator sandal), Parisian shoppers — both young and old — follow certain cardinal rules in their shopping habits, year-in and year-out.

The key to this eternal French chic may lie in a natural sense of restraint and discernment. In considering her past wardrobe choices, a French woman is less inclined to wonder, “What was I thinking?” because (most likely) it’s what she’s still thinking: invest in high-quality staples and err on the side of understated elegance.

An Hermes scarf, guaranteed to never go out of style (Paris in Pink)

Here are the most time-tested items that can aid your journey towards impeccable Parisian dressing. Continue Reading »

Posted in Parisian Living, Shopping | 22 Comments »

How to Shop Like a Parisian: Personal Stylists to Make You Fab

Paris fashion personal stylistsPhotos: Liuwencheng, Charlyn W, One & Only Paris Photography

In Paris, the fashion trend of the moment is having your own personal shopper. From the city’s grands magasins to independent fashion advisers, there’s no shortage of creative alternatives to traditional shopping.

Many Paris shops are offering personal shopping services to their clients, including the big department stores, who offer individual sessions by appointment with a stylist. At Galeries Lafayette, for instance, a fashion adviser guides shoppers to the most fashionable brands after a private interview, showing the newest items and helps while their clients try on clothes. Printemps also offers the services of a private stylist by appointment, who will accompany shoppers throughout the store, guiding them in their choices. A personal room is made available to try on the clothes at leisure.

Independent personal shoppers, a concept that originated in the United States, are also on the rise in Paris. Continue Reading »

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Paris Fashion Showrooms: The New Way to Shop

erotokritos-paris-showroom-fashion
Erotokritos

Last winter, I was strolling through the Place des Vosges, when I came upon a seemingly endless line of women snaking around the walkway. I wondered what could possibly inspire these women to wait patiently in the cold. Was Johnny Depp offering free massages inside? As it turns out, a designer had opened her showroom to the public, and these fashionable females were simply waiting to get their hands on the fine frockery inside.

In a city known for its fashion sense, designer showrooms have become the new temples for shoppers, offering a more exclusive alternative to the well-groomed Parisienne. A cross between a designer’s workshop and a boutique, these showrooms give the shopping public access to the latest lines, where they can make purchases and maybe even meet the designer. Here are just a few designers who’ve opened their showrooms to the public:

erotokritos-paris-fashion-showroom
Erotokritos

Swedish jewelry designer Viveka Bergström is at the center of haute couture, and

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opens her showroom on the canal Saint-Martin from Monday to Saturday and by appointment to present her new collections. (23 rue de la Grange-aux-Belles, Paris 10th, Tel +33 (0)1 40 03 04 92; Monday to Saturday, 11am-7pm)

Médecine douce welcomes fans of trendy accessories to its bohemian-chic workshop on rue de Marseille. (10 rue de Marseille, Paris 10th, Tel +33 (0)1 48 03 57 17; Monday to Saturday, 11am-7pm) Continue Reading »

Posted in Shopping | 7 Comments »

Make My D: Eclectic European Fashion Hits Montmartre

Our friend Linda Donahue (of Parisian Salon) has a sixth sense for shopping. Most recently, it led her to one of Montmartre’s newest boutiques opened by Nathalie Bui, sister of French fashion titan Barbara Bui. It’s cheekily named “Make My D,” and we can’t wait to check it out!

Make My D. Geneviève Sandifer

Text by Linda Donahue

Fashion shouldn’t be intimidating, at least not according to Nathalie Bui. The petite fashionista spent ten years working with her sister, the European designer Barbara Bui, all the while cultivating her own sense of style. And now she’s bringing her creative energy to the Paris fashion scene with the opening of her own boutique, Make My D.

Located in Montmartre’s newly trendy Abbesses neighborhood, Make My D is more like picking through your sister’s closet—that is, if your sister has a wardrobe that’s just to die for. Bui took over the space earlier this year, transforming a locksmith’s workshop into a sprawling boutique that showcases around 20 of Europe’s trendiest designers, all of whom strike a nice balance between price and design. Continue Reading »

Posted in Shopping | 4 Comments »

Ready, Set… Shop! Les Soldes Run Through February 10

Soldes-Top-tripleGarance Doré, www.garancedore.fr, www. frenchgardening.com

It’s that magical time of year… when shopping wishes come true and full-blown retail miracles can happen. Suddenly, the items we’ve been coveting throughout the fall and early winter are suddenly affordable… or at least, more affordable. That’s right: France’s biannual sales (“les soldes”) are here, and just about everything—from clothes and handbags to electronics and home furnishings—are repeatedly marked down until they are so cheap that we are practically forced to buy them. Typically, the première démarque sees prices cut by 20-50%, with the deuxième démarque resulting in prices up to 70% off. It’s like a city-wide “Everything must go!” policy… and by everything, we mean literally everything. This government mandated clear-out happens twice a year, and for avid shoppers, there is absolutely no better time to be in Paris (with your credit card at the ready).

SoldesLittle Brown Pen, fr.modefix.com

But les soldes are not for the faint of heart. If you’re headed for the big department stores (Printemps, Galeries Lafayette, Le Bon Marché), prepare to brave crowds of strategic shoppers who are ready to fight tooth-and-nail to snag the best merchandise before it’s gone. Towards the end of the day during les soldes, these large stores tend to look more like ransacked warehouses than elegant shopping emporiums—with sweaters strewn about, piles of shoes stacked in corners, and wild-eyed shoppers sprinting from rack to rack to score overlooked gems before stores close their doors for the night. Smaller boutiques have a slightly less chaotic feel, but the end goal is the same: find the best stuff at the lowest prices…right now.

But the reward is well worth the struggle. I made the most unexpectedly exhilarating purchase of my life during last year’s soldes. I don’t even know how I ended up in the Chloé section of Printemps (fate I suppose), but there I was… and suddenly, I saw the coat, hanging towards the back of the section like a shining beacon of elegance—awesome in the truest sense of the word. Suddenly I was looking at it, then touching it, then trying it on… at that point, I think I blacked out. A few minutes later, I was out on the street, hyperventilating with shock (or was it poverty?), having made the most major purchase of my life. In my defense, it was 50% off, and to this day, I get giddy every time I put it on. It reminds me of Paris, which inevitably makes me happy. And that’s what les soldes are all about: impulse… and no regrets.

Plus, we all know the economy needs stimulating. So have an espresso, take a deep breath… and jump in. (This year’s soldes last through February 10).

Written by Tory Hoen for the HiP Paris Blog. Looking for a fabulous vacation rental in Paris, Provence, or Tuscany? Check out Haven in Paris.

Posted in Shopping | 6 Comments »