PARIS — The couture shows that kick off Wednesday may be packed into only three days this season, but there still should be time for the fashion flock to soak up some culture, get pampered and, of course, do some shopping. Here’s a rundown of new places to eat, sleep and get inspired:
— Chantal Goupil, Robert Murphy, Emilie Marsh, Brid Costello, Katya Foreman and Miles Socha
- GOING DUTCH
Paris retailer Maria Luisa Poumaillou is lending a helping hand to young designers who find it hard to get floor space. Over the next month, her space at 32 Rue Mont Thabor has been lent to a rotating contingent of up-and-coming Dutch designers, including Kim Bekker, Joline Jolink and Daryl van Wouw. And for those who work up an appetite while shopping, they can pop in next door to Ferdi, a cozy new fashion canteen operated by Poumaillou’s sister, Alicia Fontanier. She serves up a tapas-style menu with South American specialties such as caponata, a dish made of eggplant, zucchini, peppers and celery. Meanwhile, her husband, Jacques, shakes up a mean margarita. Penelope Cruz is already said to have dined there on what she dubbed the best cheeseburger in Paris.
Ferdi, 32 Rue Mont Thabor, 331-42-60-82-52.
- PARR NONE
Besides his striking composition and perfect sense of timing, eminent British photographer Martin Parr also has an uncanny eye for kitsch and fashions of dubious taste. But for a man known to wear socks with his sandals, there is nothing mean-spirited about his thought-provoking pictures, no matter how silly the hairstyles or gaudy the wallpaper. In fact, the 150 photos on display at the European Center for Photography hardly need to be dated, as the fashion tells all. The retrospective runs through Sept. 18.
European Center for Photography, 5/7 Rue de Fourcy, 331-44-78-75-00.
- THREE’S COMPANY
Industrial designer Matali Crasset, clothing designer Ron Orb and the techno music label F Communications have teamed up to create Lieu Commun, an unusual store where you might come in for a CD and walk out with a jacket. The 1,200-square-foot space mixes the trio’s goods and is geared to busy hipsters who like discovering an eclectic mix under one roof. “We wanted a light, open space so that people would feel they were outside and free,” said Crasset, who did a sky blue interior scattered with Lego-like sponge block furniture and booths to listen to music.
Lieu Commun, 5 Rue Filles du Calvaire, 331-44-54-08-30.
- ART FEVER: It wasn’t enough for Palais de Tokyo to merely exhibit a selection of Greek tycoon Dakis Joannou’s impressive collection of contemporary art — one of Europe’s biggest with works from Vanessa Beecroft, Maurizio Cattelan, Jeff Koons, Takashi Murakami, Chris Ofili and Mike Kelley, to name a few. Paris’ edgy museum for contemporary art asked the graphic design duo of M/M — Michel Amzalag and Mathias Augustyniak — to arrange it in an unexpected manner. The result is “Translation,” running through Sept. 18, which the museum described as a “visual opera.” In other words, M/M have plastered the gallery walls with posters they designed and thrown down carpets, giving Joannou’s collection a hipster’s styling spin.
- ROOM SERVICE
Hotel 123, a new four-star inn on tony Faubourg Saint-Honore, fits right in with its fashionable neighbors. Architect and designer Philippe Maidenberg employs Paco Rabanne metal mesh everywhere and the room curtains evoke Issey Miyake’s pleats. But the 41 rooms and suites have varied styles and quirky features such as a zinc rooftop over the bathroom or architect drawing tables. Price ranges from 245 euros ($295) for a standard room up to 450 euros ($542) for a suite.
Hotel 123: 123 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honore, 331-53-89-01-23.
- BESPOKE BEAUTY
What better to compliment a couture ensemble than a made-to-measure fragrance? That’s just what Guerlain is offering in its recently refurbished Champs-Elysees flagship. Clients can have their own scent concocted or take the express route and choose one of six ready-made fragrances, which become exclusive to their owner following purchase. A plethora of exclusives also are available, including a variety of fragrances and scents for the home. The store’s spa, slated to open Thursday, will offer facials, massages and jet lag-busting treatments, among others.
La Maison Guerlain, 68 Avenue des Champs-Elysees, 331-45-62-52-57.
- HEALTH WARNING
While French cuisine is often associated with rich sauces, healthy, balanced food is available, thanks to new places such as Eatme. The design-friendly restaurant serves up dishes in little glass jars so customers can see the beautiful green fennel sitting between two layers of red tomato compote with white tofu pieces. Here, the chef’s concern is to make healthy and balanced dishes tasty and attractive. Lunch averages 15 euros ($18).
Eatme : Quartier Montorgueil, 38 Rue Leopold Bellan, 331-42-36-18-28.
- COUNTER CULTURE
One of Paris’ buzziest new bistros, “Le Comptoir,” is also one of its smallest, with only 20 seats. It belongs to Yves Camdeborde, who had a loyal following for earthy French cuisine at his previous boite, La Regalade. The prix-fixe dinner menu for 40 euros ($48) includes four courses and changes nightly, while the lunch menu offers various dishes such as tuna a la plancha or broccoli and salmon quiche. Meanwhile, his wife, Claudine, has taken over the four-star Hotel Relais Saint-Germain next door. Single rooms start at 210 euros ($255) and terrace-equipped suites go for 420 ($510).
Hotel Relais Saint-Germain and Le Comptoir, 9 Carrefour de l’Odeon, 331-44-27-07-97.
- WHEN IT SEZZ-LES
Paris has another boutique-design hotel, the 27-room Hotel le Sezz, just a block away from the Eiffel Tower. Owner Shahe Kalaidjian entrusted French industrial designer Christophe Pillet to realize his vision with khaki-colored stone from Portugal, Murano light fixtures, beds that sit in the center of the rooms and plenty of high-tech services. Instead of a reception desk, personal assistants fulfill guests’ needs and Internet and movie rentals are free. There is also a bar, hammam and massage room. Rooms range from 250 euros ($302) to 650 euros ($786).
Hotel le Sezz: 6 Avenue Fremiet , 331-56-75-26-26.
- ADAM’S EVE
Adam Jones may be known for sophisticated knitwear, but the British-born, Paris-based designer also has built a respectable fur business and now he’s diving into denim. To showcase his growing universe, Jones will take his wares to the runway for the first time July 8 in a show at the Intercontinental Hotel. “The line is much bigger now,” said Jones. “I want people to see the clothes, the details.” Jones, known for intricate knitwear, will show the Western-themed fall collection he wholesaled in Paris in March. But he said he would add plenty of “special” pieces and spice up the mix with a new styling twist.
- MEASURING UP
Peggy Huynh Kinh, known for her geometrical accessories, is trying her hand at clothes. She recently opened a sleek made-to-measure shop at 9-11 Rue Coetlogon on the Left Bank next door to her leather goods store. Having worked for brands including Gres, Celine and Balmain, Huynh Kinh said she is familiar with luxury. “I design with myself in mind first,” she said. “We all need beautiful basics, with a twist. People have lost the made-to-measure habit. I’d like to help bring it back.”