Thursday, November 3, 2011

Paris window shopping, Part Two

Finished your espresso? Let's press on.

If you have sticker shock from clothing prices, accessories are a marvelous way to bring a bit of French style into your life. Sometimes the accessories are very expensive too... but I still have the glacé kid belt bought thirty-two years ago, while the clothes are but a memory.

Exotic bands for your watch
In the window of Atelier Rousseau, watchbands in leather or exotic skins, ready-to-wear or made to measure. Enchanting colours, so much fun to wear. They also make bracelets in snap-band or bangle styles, and meltingly gorgeous belts, wallets or portfolios. (Let's stop in, I'll replace my Hermès croc band, for half the price.)

Necklace, Arthur Aquino's atelier, rue St.-Simon

I can't pass a jeweler's without examining the window. Paris is a overflowing jewel box, but a good deal of the costume stuff is overpriced. For mid-range finds, we have to be patient and look. This necklace of brass with glass 'gems' is in the window of a designer, Arthur Aquino, whose shop in the tiny Rue St.-Simon is a such a piece, at €220.

We will find our treasures by wandering, avoiding the big commercial boulevards and the brand boutiques.

Cadolle's luxurious lingerie
Sigh, the lingerie. Again, the mid-priced is pleasing, but the highest expression reveals (pun intended) just what is possible. Dita Von Teese shops at Cadolle, and we pause at the window to see why.

Sabbia Rosa's silks
And Sabbia Rosa! The window is a kiss of pink silk bra, caress of rose-printed chemise, the most exquisite delights. A silk cami is a good choice; seen on an evening, peeking from your jacket, by more than les intimes. We resolve to at least always match our bras and panties, even if only Wonderbra.

Shaving in style
Which brings us to men (or me, anyway.) Maybe we'll buy a little gift to tuck in our suitcases? Drugstores carry an astonishing assortment of beautiful shaving accessories; here's an array of badger brushes and other manly gear. Or maybe your love would consider your Sabbia Rosa chemise a kind of gift?

LBD in lace
Oh look, a black dress...we have seen many, but this one is lace. And the lace is wool. Arms sheer, body lined. The ruff around the neck is a separate scarf, long wool ringlets in palest grey.


But look, Parisiennes wear colour too; do you prefer the pink velvet jacket or pants? And see the zebra bag at the bottom of the window, with a cyclamen pashmina nestled inside?


How does such a beauty-attuned culture evolve? You start them young. Have you noticed the children we've passed, laughing, hiding behind planters, only to leap out with a "Cou-cou!" when their friends catch up? See the four-year-old girl in a teal sheepskin coat with a fur-trimmed hood, pink and blue striped tights and little pink t-straps?
Tiny, pink, leopard

Mothers buy outfits like this, and kids actually wear them. In certain arondissements, you will notice more sumptuous and lavishly embellished attire on people lower than your waist than on those at eye level.


And so... she grows up to wear this–and not necessarily with a suit, but also with her chunky sweater and jeans:


Hat, Marie Mercié


We are a little footsore, non? And I'd like a rest before dinner. But we've had such a good time together! We must do it again.

12 comments:

william said...

Thank you so much for this delightful stroll. I loved seeing everything, especially the gorgeous black wool lace dress. What a delight.

Francie

Northmoon said...

My choice would be the zebra bag with cyclamen pashmina.

Thanks for the virtual shopping trip, let's do it again some time!

kathy peck said...

I love the black lace dress with the wooly scarf. I guess for the pink velvet - the pants. Would look great with a black, gray, or navy sweater and ballerinas.
Never have had much interest in lingerie - very American of me.

Anonymous said...

Ooh, that rosy silk bra--such a delicious color--that would be the perfect souvenir of Paris for me. It's so hard to find simple, exquisite little bras like that here; they all seem to be wired or stuffed like sofas.

C.

Rubi said...

I'm also in love with the zebra bag and pink pashmina...thank you so much for the stroll!

Though I haven't been to Paris in nearly 10 years, I'm guessing my favorite haunts -- the stationery stores -- are as delightful as they always were. I can still smell them! And the lovely smooth paper, so nice for writing on with fountain pens!

Frugal Scholar said...

We once stayed in a hotel (now far too expensive for us) on the rue de Verneuil. We loved passing by all the fabric shops that were in the neighborhood.

déjà pseu said...

I so enjoy seeing Paris through your eyes and reading your ruminations! The lingerie really is spectacular, but availability seems to be limited for those above a B-cup. And yes, the children, when not in their school uniforms (and even then) are so well put together.

Duchesse said...

Francie@William: I swear I dreama bout that dress.

Northmoon: I think you could approximate that through the internet or trip to Cole Haan.

kathy peck: Yes, bright pants are a good foil for neutral tops. Maybe you just need the right lingerie boutique ;)

C.: I once ordered a bra that I swear could double as a stuffed animal.Couldn't even close my lingerie drawer over the thing, it has a life of its own. Prompt return!

Ruib: Yes, the papers and pens, always a pleasure. A reader, s., gave me a beautiful box of shocking pink enclosure cards from a Paris stationer, a delightful gift. I do use them but save some just for the pleasure.

frugal: That's the street where Serge Gainsbourg once lived and today his old residence always has notes and flowers in front, kind of a shrine.

pseu: Larger cup sizes can be found in the boutiques, not so much in dept. stores, and stay away from Chantal Thomass or Princesse Tam Tam. Simone Perele make up to G. There are some pretty busty French women, whether naturally or by augmentation.

But also, there is a world of camis, chemises, robes and gowns that do not depend so much on cup size.

Mardel said...

What a wonderful little virtual stroll through Paris. I loved seeing it all. I love the pink pants with neutral tops and a scarf, but the pink jacket would be wonderful on me as well, with all kinds of neutral pieces. Even though I love color, it is the black dress that really made me drool.

Duchesse said...

mardel: Lands' End has a pretty velvet pant is raspberry, not quite as bold but very pretty:
http://www.landsend.com/pp/OriginalVelveteenTrousers~231439_59.html?bcc=y&action=order_more&sku_0=::RAW&CM_MERCH=search-_-velvet&origin=search

Ali said...

We ALL need a bit of Paris in our lives. Your not the only one who looks to the continent for inspiration. Love the photos!

Duchesse said...

Ali: Thanks, wish I had spent more time taking photos but at same time, phoptography distances me from simply being there- so a day or two of phone snaps will do for now.