Friday, 4 March 2011

Around Paris: Wholesale Fabric District, Montmartre

     Discovering  where the wholesale fabric district in Paris was by sheer chance. I found this by just walking and walking around, after visiting the Sacré Coeur. The goods sold here are all closeout fabrics. When you see something you like, buy it as there is no telling if it will still be available when you decide to come back.
     Here's a shopping tip. Bring swatches of cloth if you plan to do any matching, so as not to buy the wrong item, which cannot be returned.

     Just below the Sacré Coeur Cathedrale in Montmartre, at the foot of the hill, is the district that has been dedicated for the wholesale of fabric and other sewing notions. To go there, I take metro line 2, exit on Anvers,... 
and go up the street, rue Steinkurque, towards the merry-go-round, and make a right as soon as you are by the cathedral gardens. Don't get tempted to gamble when you pass by the little tables set up in the middle of the street, by noontime. Just keep on going. By the way, the souvenir items on this street are cheaper by 25% to 40%.
     Once you get to  Place de Marche St. Pierre, you will find many stores selling all that you would need to finish a fashion item, furnishings for your house, or a craft project.
     Now in the stores are the spring and summer fabrics, and whatever is left of the fall/winter fabrics are mostly discounted.
     The first building to the right is REINE - it has four floors to house all the different fabrics, accessories, and othe goods. I find it to be the best organized and best laid-out store, with three-foot-tall mannequins on the tables, garbed in the latest fashionable style, using the current fabrics of the season.
     When in France, do as the French do. Speak French - the right accent is important; or, use your eyes to figure out how things are done, then, put your charade skills to work to get your order in. Most of the people working in these stores only speak French. Also, bring a map with you, or use the GPS on your cell phone, to find your way.
     Here is a rough translation of what to expect in the different floors:
3 For the Home: Sheer fabric - Bedsheets 
2 For the Home: Furnishing  Decoration
1 Haberdashery - Trimmings - Patterns - Ready made
RdC - Rez de Chaussée (ground floor)  For Clothing: Silk - Cotton - Wool
 On the ground floor (RdC): French lace, beaded lace, crepes, silk satins, satin charmeuse, organzas, brocades, taffetta, wool blends and tulle for the bridal collection;...
European and imported textiles: solid and printed-patterned fabrics using cotton, silk, linen, and other man-made fibers, for spring and summer. 
     Breathable fabrics are in demand and they are the ones made from natural fibers. Eyelets, seersuckers, denims, poplins, twills, madras are back. 
     Sheer fabrics are popular this time. Silk chiffon, iridescent chiffon, silk organza, rayon/nylon chiffon, voile were used in the haute couture collections. 
On the1st floor: in-house mercerie department - haberdashery and curtain/drape materials. 
On the 2nd floor, upholstery materials

     LES COUPONS DE SAINT PIERRE - "Coupons" are remnants or pre-cut fabrics. They are sold as-is and cannot be cut further. Everything sold in this store is about three meters and up. 
     In a table that has been rummaged through, fabrics 3 meters in lengh are priced at 10 Euros a piece. The prices inside the store vary by sections.

     MARCHE SAINT-PIERRE is located on 2 rue Charles Nodier. It is a whole building dedicated to selling all types of fabrics and accesories. I rate it as the biggest store in this area, carrying the most extensive variety of goods, and even some rare imports. 
     Rez de Chaussée - clothing materials. Shown here is the African Collection. On the wall are woven fabrics made of natural-straw like fibers.
     The procedure when buying: 1) choose your fabric 2) wait for comeone to come over to cut it for you, or you need to ask someone on the floor to come and help you. 3) A piece of paper is stapled to your fabric. Take it to the cashier and pay. 
     What to expect as you climb up...
white linens, bedsheets, embroidery supplies, pillows, bolsters, duvets, towels
 sheer curtain and other lightweight drapery materials
heavy drapery and upholstery material (in view are the French toile patterns)
drape materials made of cotton, cotton/polyester blends, polyester blends
For that rich look, a touch of Versailles - silky finished, textured and embroidered drapery/upholstery materials
     Cotton chintz for bedcovers, quilts and draperies - these designs were inspired by the Indian cotton chintz that the Dutch and the Portuguese were bringing into Europe in the 1600s.
     On the top floor are  some art material supplies. You can buy canvass, in different grades,  by the meter for all the painting and crafting you will be doing.

    MERCERIE Saint Pierre - on the corner of Place Saint-Pierre and rue Livingstone, is a specialty store for haberdashery supplies: buttons, thread,  ribbons; beads, trimmings and other items needed for sewing, chrocheting, knitting clothing and making some craft projects;...
and everything you need to make curtain/drape panels, including the tiebacks, rings or hooks, and rods to get them up.

     Through many little streets, continue looking around. On rue d'Orseil, take the time to visit some stores that carry finished and unfinished goods that are whimsical.
 belly dancing outfits for your class or a costume party
 feather boa accessories for that glamorous, sophisticated look
    Among other things, this store has a big variety of patches and buttons, at very reasonable prices.
 fancy, colorful fabrics and accessories for any fashion or craft  project
 more stores carrying textiles for home furnishings
     If you have time, do compare prices. Sometimes, you can make a deal with the smaller stores.

     How about making a project? All you need to get started is to have an idea. Next, is how to make it. Get all the materials needed all ready. Then, make it. Voila, le projet est terminé!

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Parisian Fashion Scene: Chanel and Colette Boutique Team Up for a Rock 'n Roll Theme

     Chanel and the avant-garde Colette Boutique have teamed up to do a joint fashion event. In a write up , Chanel's creative designer, Karl Lagerfeld, is described as " ...the Mick Jagger of fashion," and it goes on to say that " it makes total sense that Chanel is collaborating with Paris’ famed Colette boutique on a rock ‘n roll themed pop-up shop in a former garage." The event is scheduled to run from March 1 to 10.
      It would be interesting to see how the team effort between "The French house and the French store" will turn into a new fashion sense. Much is known about Chanel as being one of the more famous French houses for haute couture. Colette, on the other hand is only going on 14 years young and has become more than an avant-garde fashion boutique. It has other things that make it a style mecca, in a minimalist setting that includes a water bar, a place to eat, and an added range of products - cultural, literary works, beauty products, music, water coming from all over the world and more. You just need to take the time to browse around to see what Colette is all about.
On my way to 336 - 340 rue St. Honoré, the temporary location for this rock-n-roll tpop-up, I enjoyed my walk on a sunny Tuesday.  When I got there, as usual, the no-photo policy was in order. I went in and looked around for a good hour, eyeing the specialty items chosen for this  first-of-its-kind collaboration. 
After, I stepped out and started to take pictures from the outside, through the glass, which can be a hard thing during the daytime. The reflections from the surroundings become part of the glass screen that, sometimes, your subject is overpowered by other images.  
The Chanel contributions consisted mostly of the accessories such as bags and shoes, and the short-dressy jackets worn over the dresses, adding elegance, a finished look, sophistication, and added style to the popular clothes line of Collete, designed by young designers.  
This was a good texture-with-texture pairing. The textural pattern of the jacket matched something on the stripes of the dress, making it appear like the two fabrics were made to be coordinate materials.
In today's fashion sense, anything goes. If you like it, however outfits are put together, it works. Although, there are some rules that seem to be followed, instinctively.
     There are multiple screens set up on one of the back walls, where fashion show videos are continually shown
     On the right side wall, the top display cubes had the collectible dolls designed by Karl Lagerfeld, himself. 
     On the lower shelves below the dolls, the discs of song compilations were organized. Two of the titles were "Discolette" and "SX 70" selected by Jefferson Hack for Collete.
There was printed material on sale. The magazine that stood out was  "french revues de modes." There were some coffee-table books: "Mademoiselle Coco Chanel Summer '62," text by Karl Lagerfeld; "Lewis Baltz Works"; Bruge Davidson's "Outside Inside"; "Past Present Peru Photos.Music.Film" by John Cohen. 
In Collete fashion, the wall designs were prominent, as seen from the outside, through the right-side front-display window.
Colette is a favorite among the jet-set fashionistas. With a Chanel touch, the fashion trend becomes classy-avant-garde, both youthful and sophisticated. 
This Chanel jacket caught my attention. It is displayed on two mannequins. There are many intricate details in the execution of this design. Note the strips  of fabric with unfinished edges but cut to have a fringe effect, sewn to cover every part in the jacket. The finishing material was not just a plain bias tape, but it had black and white narrow, bias strips of chiffon; tiny feathers; straw-like fringes, twisted and sewn together to make an unusual, pretty finishing-touch to the neckline, the pockets, and the hip line. 
Collete's dessert bar was included in this set-up, with cupcakes and cookies, by Chef Boga.
     Note the mannequin with the red jacket. The dress is an orange lace - from the neckline to all the way down to the center, the border lace designs were traced with multi-colored glass-opaque beads of green, aqua, red, and black.  The red jacket is made of a shiny shear material, with 3/4 sleeves, ready for use on a chilly spring day.  
    On the side wall, on the left-side corner, the scooter helmets by Ruby®Paris Pavillion, designed by Jerome Coste, were on display. They came in striped and polka-dotted designs, as well as in solid colors.
(Picture taken at the Chanel Shoe Store window display)     
     Diagonally across from the helmets were the display of ballerina flat shoes by Chanel, just like these pearlized snakeskin in pink, silvery white and the metalic logo shoe in the picture. There were other leather finishes  - birdseye, perforated, quilted - and fabrics used, and colors - pastel pink. white, cream, black , red and a couple of metallic shades.  
     The Leica cameras are on display on the square glass case, atop the black table.
     The other eye candies  in the store were some leather pieces with laser-perforated designs;  a Chanel pair of sunglasses with the sides trimmed with ribbons and feathers, from the corner of the eye to behind the earlobe. 
(Picture taken at the ERES boutique window display)
     Some pieces from the ERES Lingerie Collection designed by Lagerfeld are featured in the clothes rack section, along with the other dresses and jackets. It has been intimated that one who wears Eres lingerie under her clothes makes for a savvy fashionista.  
     This fashionable teamwork turned up to be a blend of classy, youthful, and spontaneous dressing for the luxurious lifestyle. There is more - on Saturday, there will be a camelia-making demo by couturiers from Chanel. See the "Mademoiselle handbags decorated by five Colette-picked artists - Kevin Lyons, Soledad, André, Fadi and SO-ME...There will also be a selection of Chanel bags customized by Chrome Hearts, as well as a myriad of Colette’s other products."
     If you are or will be in Paris, do remember that the "Chanel:Colette' fashion event will be held up to March 10, on rue Saint Honoré. Drop by , if you can...or you can go online, too.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Window Shopping Along Avenue Montaigne, Paris: Christian Dior Spring-Summer 2011 Colletion

In the midst of fashion week, while the fall-winter 2011 collections are being presented, the fashion window displays have been changing, to show off the summer collection by March 1st. Such was the case at Christian Dior.
With their boutique store situated in the heart of the fashion strip, on 32 Avenue Montaigne, corner François 1er, all in a day's work the display windows changed from spring to summer. As of early yesterday, these were the styles on parade.
The spring color scheme is nautical: navy blue and white. As the weather warms up, hemlines rise above the knees. The pants are pleated at the waist, tapered at the bottom, and folded up or cropped.
Fabrics are lighter weight and crisper, lightly textured or plain, woven or jersey-type knits. Solid-colored and striped fabrics dominated this collection.

A must for a spring wardrobe is a spring coat for those chilly days ahead.
Among the dresses featured is one with a bustier bodice, with a tulip skirt. Back in style is the double-breasted coat dress. 
And there will always be that practical little black dress to dress up or dress down for any occasion. In this one, the bodice has tightly-sewn vertical pleats all around, from the neckline to the hipline, with a bias-piping finishing around the sabrina neckline and the armhole. The skirt has a soft, flowing, pleated look as a result of the tight pleating from the top.

The summer collection comes out amidst the buzz that Christian Dior's lead designer, John Galliano, has been suspended. The display windows are now set with driftwoods and an azure-blue background, just like the sea. It's a fun, playful, whimsical, and artsy collection for the leisurely lifestyle.
Here is my favorite. A close-up look at this dress shows how the intricate pattern of the V-necked, long-torso bodice has been detailed with mother-of-pearl round buttons and fringes, and coral-colored beads, all sewn in straight or scalloped patterns with the mother-of-pearl fringes tracing the V-neckline and the hipline, where the multi-layer ruffled skirt is attached. It's a neutral earth tone - a light-mocha-colored crepe-chiffon fabric. 
This natural leather, platform shoes are a perfect match for the dress and the contrasting red handbag.

A printed chiffon, spaghetti-strapped flowing gown with see-through, bias cut dolman sleeves. It  is accessorised with a shocking pink/bright orange bag and a lighter shade of fuchsia  platform-shoes. The pink center of the orchid flower prints was the color idea that initiated the use of pink accessories for this gown. 
Intricately intertwined colored cords and glossy plastic rings with plastic hangings in pastel monochromatic shades of green, make up this attractive accessory, picking up the green leaf colors of the printed fabric.

Note the many fashion details in this display. The mannequin on the left is sporting an off-white colored blouse made of cotton twill and is paired with a tan colored pair of pants. To the right,  the linen blouse is matched with a printed skirt, deep purple with citrus green leaf designs, 
The blouses, both from woven fabrics, show a look reminiscent of the safari style in the early 70s, with 2 sets of front pockets and belted. The neckline is an open V with extended short sleeves. The linen shirt on the right has fringe finishings around the neckline, pockets, and the bottom edge of the shirt. These earth tones are neutral colors for summer and can easily be matched with a variety of colors.
Other accessory options
This artsy, sculptural neck piece (just like the one above) accents this neutral-toned ensemble, bursting in bright colors to liven up the over-all look.
A close up of the fashion accessories for this window display...all in coordinated, matching colors. For the footwear, it's between the leather sandals - detailed with feathers and straw fringes, with the same big stones as in the cuff bracelet below, or the sandal platforms in shiny black patent or natural leather color. Of course, you can't go wrong with that now classic looking Dior bag, which comes with an added strap to make it into a shoulder bag. The quilted leather bags, with the woven pattern, are a staple in the CD bag line. 

I still have my CD -logo, fabric bags from more than 30 years ago, which by the way, my young daughter delightfully uses to make her own fashion statement. This style was back about six years ago.

The clutch bags are a color match to some of the colors in the neck piece. Choose anyone of these to go with either of these outfits and it will work. 
This bracelet makes a bold statement, especially when worn with the leather sandals detailed with he same stones.

A tropical look in this outfit - a tailored, printed blouse with a navy blue background brings out the off-white prints. The puffed sleeves is a surprise touch for this tailored blouse. The brown skirt looks like a hand-crocheted/macrame creation. The braided belt, the creamy shade clutch bag and a pair of platform sandals complete this outfit.

It's a flower motif in this printed-chiffon, in yellow on orange, for this long summer dress...
with three-dimensional flowers  made of the same fabric, on this halter top, low-square neckline.  A metallic bag is paired off with it, suggesting a more-than-casual affair is to be attended.

Did you notice how all the mannequins are wearing dark-brown and black wigs? Brunettes are in! 

Here are more Dior fashion accessories for this season:
Red clutch bag - in the quilted pattern with a smocked effect. The patent beige bag is adorned with a series of pavé-finished colored stones on a gold-toned, bejeweled clasp. There is a suggeston to wear the aviator-goggle style ladies' sunglasses on bright sunny days.
A medium sized bag with a handle strap
Other bag styles
 If you have an idea of what you want, do go in and check them out and see what else they have.
 There will be other styles to see and to compare, to help you make your choice.

 For the men, there is a boutique right next to the women's.
 The men have their double-breasted blazers back this season. The men's boutique is complete with every piece of clothing or accessory for a chic male wardrobe.
The display window has a screen below that continuously projects "The Time I had Sometime Alone," a Film by Willy Vanderperre.
 A bag accessory for men
 Men's aviator-style sunglasses
A snake-skin wallet

Not to be forgotten is the fashion line for the children, Baby Dior, located on 28 Avenue Montaigne.
This is about dressing kids up like kids, in CD designs, no less.

It's March and it's time to get ready for spring and summer, or at least think about and look forward to the warmer seasons. But, I understand that you may still be in winter-wardrobe mode, just like I am.


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