Chic Holiday Gifts
“Santa Baby, just slip a sable under the tree, for me. Been an awful good girl…” Yes, Christmas is stepping closer and closer and all those who haven’t found the perfect gift for their loved ones will find here a selection of suggestions that embody that French Savoir Vivre — which is what Chic in Paris is all about…
The legendary house of Hermès has introduced an array of scarves in silk lamé. Originally a 1946 design, they are based on an Ex Libris of Emilie Hermès. Four carriages turn around two rods of Asclepius, symbols of peace and attribute of Mercury, god of merchants. They come in three colors: a warm gold with brown undertones, anthracite and bronze.
Ashley Ashoff : Billet-Doux Scarves The love letter scarf is a perfect way to send a note to those you love: wife, mother, daughter, sister, aunt, best friend, and so on. The print is meant to resemble a letter that was never intended to be sent. Found in a waste paper basket crumpled up into a ball. It is an English translation of Balzac written on October 1833: Our love will bloom always fairer, fresher, more gracious, because it is a true love, and because genuine love is never increasing. It is a beautiful plant growing from year to year in the heart, ever extending its palms and branches, doubling every season its glorious clusters…
Let Lydia Courteille abduct you to her secret garden of sumptuous jewelry: A habitat of green diamond frogs, jade pansies, coral roses, enamel orchids and sugilite salamanders. For over 20 years she’s resided in her cabinet de curiosités in the rue Saint-Honoré, where she puts cameos, reminiscent of a time long gone, in new diamond encrusted settings, lets bestiaries of rubies, garnets or sapphires come to life or creates the most resplendent memento mori ever known. Pieces that go beyond the traditional confines of Haute Joaillerie are the perfect gifts for everybody who seeks the exceptional and truly unique.
Showcasing an irresistible and fearless mix of post punk, sophisticated traditionalism and high glam factor, Sabina Kasper manages all the same to stay in a more affordable price range. Swedish, but Paris based, she succeeds to merge the clarity and the pure line, so characteristic of Scandinavian design with the craftsmanship and attention to detail of the French. Her pieces of handpainted white and black pearls or casual bracelets of coloured rough diamonds with gold chains convey a youthful Parisian carefree attitude.
Maison Parisienne is a house. A house that doesn‘t speak of products or ranges, because each and every object is unique. It showcases the art and passion of a handful of artists and master craftsmen who, each in their individual field, create and produce works of exceptional beauty. Beyond the creative achievement, so one says, there always lies the work of art.
Organdy bouquets spun from white thread or cotton agates held together by thousands of invisible pins, transfer, via impeccable craftsmanship, traditional materials, used by artisans, to fine art. One of their hallmarks is the use of rare and exquisite materials, such as marabou and white peacock feathers for fans (with holders made out of mother of pearl) or ivory jewelry. The latter is produced from the Phytelephas Aequatorialis, a tropical plant and cannot be distinguished from genuine ivory by the naked eye.
Two of the exceptional pieces that are carried by the Maison Parisienne are a tortoiseshell bracelet in a rose gold setting, encrusted with diamonds, and a trunk containing an incredible caviar set in 18 ct gold. These extraordinary objects are certainly perfect for all those out there hunting for the rare and the rarified and will satisfy even the most demanding.
Candles and Fragrances
Founded in 1643, Maison de Cire Trudon is the world‘s oldest producer of wax candles. Initially makers of church candles, the company became renowned for the exceptional purity of its wax and quality of its products, thus becoming royal wax manufacturer to Louis XIV, Louis XV, Louis XVI and subsequently to Napoleon during the Empire.
These days it is producing candles for such houses as Hermès, Kenzo, Guerlain and Dior. Wicks are woven from pure cotton and no paraffin or other petrochemical substances can be found in the wax. The candles are allergen free and the lack of chemicals is belied by the fact that they leave no sooty deposits on the glass holders.
The manufacturing process of the Trianon candle starts by picking jacinths, roses, white flowers, wild herbs from the meadows and graminaceous plants. A bunch of flowers that remind us of an ideal nature, that of the Nouvelle Héloïse and the country life dreams of Marie Antoinette. Vibrating with the memory of a summer evening and the warm musk scent of torches, it is a homage to a Queen whose taste inspired so many.
Sophie Matisse signature bottles for by Kilian. The great-granddaughter of famous painter Henri Matisse and daughter of sculptor Paul Matisse, Sophie Matisse has painted 50 perfume bottles for by Kilian, who despite his amazing fragrances still is but an insider‘s tip.
Heir to a long line of cognac-makers, Kilian Hennessy makes fragrances that are redolent of the sugar in alcohol and the wood of cognac barrels. Sensual names like Prelude To Love (Bergamot, Lemon, Freesia, Iris and Musk), Liaisons Dangereuses (Ambrette, Clear Wood, Plum, Sandalwood, Oakmoss, Vetiver and Musk) or A Taste of Heaven (Bergamot, Lavender, Vanilla) suggest that a couple of drops of these magic formulas might transfer the most humble bedchamber into a sumptuous Boudoir.
Sophie Matisse began her career playing with the Mona Lisa motif and has been exhibited all over the world. The limited edition bottles are beautifully abstract with a kaleidoscope of colors, protected by Kilian’s luxurious lacquer boxes.
Handbags and Shoes
Hermès is a Sellier not a Maroquinier. This means that all its leather products are exclusively produced by hand The Kelly Bag is made by one individual craftsman in circa 18 hours of work. Goat skins are used for the lining and everything is stiched together with a double saddle stitch using a waxed linen thread. The end product is the classic purse: The Kelly Bag. Endorsed by it’s royal namesake Grace Kelly it became a bag every woman dreams of, and, as it just doesn’t go out of fashion, it will always be the perfect Christmas present for your love.
The Corto Moltedo Elisabeth Bag has been voted Chic In Paris readers’ favorite Corto Moltedo bag. It is a large python shoulder bag with two short handles and detachable leather and chain strap with a gold “C”. The leather is gathered around the top of the bag creating an oversized frill.
“Make me the most beautiful shoes for the most beautiful women!“ Such was Michel Perry’s challenge to Michel Vivien, who designed for him from 1990 to 1995. Working with a small team in his loft-workshop in the 11th district in Paris, he states: “My creative process isn‘t conceptual, I work in a sensuous manner, by trusting my urges." For his Fall Winter 2008 collection he revisits masculine styles: polo boots, lace-ups, Derby and Oxford shoes in calfskin, buffed and waxed to a warm and sensuous patina. Sensual and refined materials make his shoes to die for.
Cufflinks and Timepieces
Arnys is the Mecca of all bohèmiens among the dandies and flaneurs. Gide, Cocteau, Le Corbusier and even Hemingway have shopped here. One of the specialties of this refuge of elegance, this sacrosanct building of chic, this monument of times long gone by, are the cufflinks they offer. Stingray and lapus lazuli, turquoise and jade, amber and emeralds are among the exquisite materials that are transformed into the most sumptuous but wearable objets d‘art. These are gifts for him that he will cherish forever.
A. Lange & Söhne have been making watches since 1845. Watches that are considered to be among the finest in the world. The Langematik Perpetual is a showpiece of ingenious technology. Demonstrating the usefulness of mechanical wristwatches, it proves that they can indeed evolve further, even after 100 years.
The Langematik is the first self-winding wristwatch in the history of mechanical timekeeping that features a perpetual calendar, an outsize date and a zero reset mechanism that allows the calendar displays as well as the moon-phase indication to be advanced both individually and with one single main push-piece collectively. Once correctly set, it will move continuously for 122.6 years before the aggregate error relative to the synodic lunar orbit amounts to one full day.
Inconspicuous details assert its claim to eternity: A dial made of solid silver, appliqués of solid gold and gold hands that display the hours and minutes showcase ongoing luxury. The Perpetual is available in 18 carat rose gold or platinum, either with a hand-stitched crocodile strap or optionally with a wave bracelet.
The Pasha De Cartier USB Stick is the top of the top luxury item for your computer. The famous french jewelry house’s piece is an homage to the eloquent line of the Pasha watches. A 1 Gigybyte memory flash drive is contained in a stick of brushed palladium with numerical etchings that resemble the house‘s timepieces. With its silk draw string you can attach it to your key chain.
The French label Zadig & Voltaire has designed a special edition of the Leica C-Lux 3 camera, a small, slim and elegant camera from this legendary house. 10.1 megapixels will capture all those smiles of your family when they open their Christmas presents. A very consumer friendly camera, it features such specs a 25mm to 125mm focusing range, a 5x optical zoom, Mega O.I.S. image stabilization system among others.
One of the biggest trends in these last view years was the appearance of designer phones. Phones can be great Christmas gifts that until now have been very useful, but not necessarily beautiful. This changed when Miuccia Prada, in cooperation with LG launched the very first designer cellphone. Soon Armani and his vision of aesthetics followed: The Samsung Armani SGH-P520. While not necessarily designer phones as such, we have included the iPhone and the B&O Serenata Mobile, because they are, let‘s face it, great phones.
Music and Books
Pytor Illych Tchaikovsky: The Nutcracker. Few musical pieces are as closely associated with Christmas as the Nutcracker. The dance of the Sugar-Plum Fairy, or the Russian, Arabian and Chinese dances make us all dream of a green tree encrusted with ornaments or of the smell of cinnamon, oranges and cloves. This recording by Valery Gergiev and the Kirov Theater Orchestra is considered one of the best available on CD, and one of the view that feature its complete score.
Hôtel Costes XI. Ten years ago, French DJ Stéphane Pompougnac decided to bring together the tracks he played as the resident DJ at the famed Hôtel Costes. A decade later, he brings the 11th installment in this excellent series. While continuing the tradition of the series, Pompougnac gives us a floral selection for this 11th volume. An acoustic and international mix takes us on a journey from Italy to Brazil without overlooking US and UK sounds. Moreover it is placed under the sign of discovery, with five exclusive new tracks from Stéphane Pompougnac, Variety Lab, Shazz, Villa Black and a Costes’ edit ‘Enzo’ by Kraak and Smaak.
Visionaire N°55: Surprise. Since 1991 this limited edition artzine has been published quarterly and is renowned as a showcase for known and upcoming photographers and artists. In its newest edition its editors have asked themselves: How does photography come to life? How do you transform 2D into 3D? Can a photograph move on the printed page? The answer: pushing the limits of paper with an issue devoted to pop-ups: 12 hardcover pop-up books, boxed together, with projects by Steven Meisel, Mario Testino, Steven Klein, Sophie Calle, Andreas Gursky, Cai Guo-Qiang, Guido Mocafico, Solve Sundsbo, Yayoi Kusama, Gareth Pugh and Alasdair McLellan. Together, the folios are housed in a cloth-covered cse with a magnetized closure and an engraved metal plaque. Surprise is a collaboration with the Champagne house Krug, and like Krug is so much more than just a Champagne, this is so much more than a coffee table book.
Performance: Richard Avedon by John Lahr, André Gregory, Mike Nichols, Twyla Tharp and Mitsuko Uchida. A chronicler of his time. His gift: Empathy and intuition. His art: Putting people in the right light. In the 40’s he discovers legs and photographs the models on the street instead of posing in the studio for hours. In the second half of the 20th century the preeminent stars and artists of the performing arts offered their inner lives to Richard Avedon.
More than 200 are portrayed in Performance, many in photographs that have been rarely or never seen before. Of course, the great stars light the way. Hepburn and Chaplin, Monroe and Garland, Brando and Sinatra. But here too are the actors and comedians, pop stars and divas, musicians and dancers, artists in all mediums with public lives that were essentially performances. In 1974 Avedon said: “We all perform. It‘s what we do for each other all the time, deliberately or unintentionally. It‘s a way of telling about ourselves in the hope of being recognized as what we‘d like to be.“
The celebrated author and critic John Lahr offers an elegant assessment of Avedon’s achievement. Four supremely talented artists – Mike Nichols, André Gregory, Mitsuko Uchida and Twyla Tharp – contribute lively and moving memoirs about their collaborations with Avedon.
The Louis Vuitton City Guide 2008 captures the essence of 30 European cities with a uniquely fresh and resolutely offbeat array of advice and suggestions. Packed with 7,500 adresses it is covering everything from food and fashion to the arts and design. These booklet formats are as easy as ever to slip into your bag or pockets. Louis Vuitton is also publishing a new edition of its New York City Guide, to celebrate the opening of the store on 5th Avenue.
Children and Pets
What could be more appropriate for a Fashionista’s youngster than the world’s first Haute Couture Teddy Bear? In cooperation with most traditional soft toy company Steiff (founded 1888) master of contemporary luxury Karl Lagerfeld has launched a teddy bear in his likeness. Produced in a limited edition of 2,500 pieces and made of plush white alpaca with a gold plated button in its ear the 40 centimeters tall bear is wearing Karl’s unique uniform: black tie, high collar and black sunglasses. This definitely isn’t your grandmother’s teddy….
Last, for our beloved furry friends: This Emilù Chewnel #5 dogbed will surely guarantee sweet and fashionable dreams for your ever-so-trendy pug, pekingese or schnauzer.
Most of the above items can be obtained via the internet. Please do not hesitate to contact for further information.
- René Horak