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SHOE SHOPS: There’s no shortage of accessories action on Paris’ retail front. Thirty-five years after opening his first store on Rue de Tournon, Swiss shoemaker Walter Steiger has christened his first bespoke shoe atelier here, on Avenue Matignon in the 8th arrondissement. Liza Minnelli, Sharon Stone and the late Princess Diana are among a ritzy list of the house’s clients. Steiger, who will host a cocktail at the new space on Oct. 5, said he sees the venture as a chance to explore his fantasies, likening the service to couture. “There are no more shoes ‘Made in France.’ This is a country that excels in all its métiers, but for shoes I felt the service was missing,” he said.
Those in the mood to road-test a replica pair of the crocodile stilettos custom-made for Marilyn Monroe for “Some Like it Hot,” meanwhile, should head to the new Ferragamo’s Creations boutique chez Maria Luisa on Rue du Mont Thabor. The Ferragamo’s Creations concept centers on reviving historic models from the house’s archives. Other new store additions include Stephane Verdino, Louis Quatorze, Ash, Mykita and Silver Seasons’ Michael Michaud. Maison Steiger Bottier, 33 Avenue Matignon, 75008; Ferragamo’s Creations chez Maria Luisa, 38 Rue du Mont Thabor, 75008.
THE READER: Mad about a certain book cover? Have it immortalized on a bag. That’s the concept behind a magical new line of limited edition minaudières by Olympia Le-Tan, evoking first-edition covers of 21 classics. The collection is hand-made in France, using canvas, embroidered felt-appliqué and silk-thread, with a brass structure. Tomes selected by Le-Tan include “Moby Dick” (on special request from Chloë Sevigny); “Lolita,” “1984” and “The Catcher in the Rye.” Each bag retails for around $1,500. Tilda Swinton is said to have ordered one embroidered with the cover of the Fifties novel “Auntie Mame” by Patrick Dennis. “Most of them come from the Forties and Fifties. I collect old books. The covers were so much nicer then,” said the designer, who held a cocktail presentation on Wednesday, at Galerie Vero-Dodat in Paris’ 1st arrondissement. Le-Tan has also whipped up a line of soft clutches and totes embroidered with quotes and book titles. Colette is the exclusive Paris distributor for the collection. Colette, 213 Rue Saint-Honoré, 75001; +33-1-55-35-33-90.
ART UP: Paris boasts a range of art exhibitions, from ravishing Renoirs to cutting-edge sculptures. Here are some highlights:
• For respite from fashion’s folly, consider the raw portraits of secretaries, bakers and peasants from German photographer August Sander, showing at the Henri Cartier-Bresson Foundation. “Nothing is more odious to me than photos that are too sugary, with poses and added effects,” Sander once said. Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson, 2 Impasse Lebouis, 75014; +33-1-56-80-27-00.
• After inviting Jeff Koons to shake up the Chateau de Versailles, it’s now French artist Xavier Veilhan’s turn to bring a contemporary edge with seven new works, including a futuristic carriage built from welded steel sheets and aluminum sculptures of famous architects. Chateau de Versailles, 7 Rue Sainte-Anne, 78000, Versailles; +33-1-30-83-78-00.
• “Confusion of the Senses,” at Espace Louis Vuitton, does just that — from the ride up to the 7th-floor gallery in a pitch-black elevator by Danish artist Olafur Eliasson to a work by Céleste Boursier-Mougenot, who plays domestic noises on a loop in a room filled with a thick white mist. Espace Louis Vuitton, 60 Rue de Bassano, 75008; +33-1-53-57-52-03.
• Meanwhile, sometime Vuitton collaborator Takashi Murakami has a solo show at Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin, including the Japanese artist’s characteristic flower and monogram paintings. Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin, 76 Rue de Turenne, 75003; +33-1-42-16-79-79.
• The Grand Palais’ “Renoir in the 20th Century” boasts more than 100 works from the Impressionist artist, with the usual portraits of sybaritic women, including sculptures and drawings, and explores his influence on other artists, including Bonnard, Matisse and Picasso. Le Grand Palais, 21 Avenue Franklin Roosevelt, 75008; +33-1-43-59-76-78.
• The Louvre exhibition “Rivals in Renaissance Venice: Titian, Tintoretto and Veronese” centers on the interplay between these three painters as well as the lesser-known Bassano. Marvel at the unique Venetian light effects even in the darkest subject matter. Works by Titian are also on display at the Musée Jacquemart-André, intermingled with the newly acquired Brukenthal collection, boasting some of the finest Northern Renaissance artists works, including Bruegel, Memling and Van Eyck. Musée du Louvre, 34 Rue du Louvre, 75001; +33-1-40-20-53-17.
• “The Subversion of Images, Surrealism, Photography, Film” at the Pompidou Center showcases more than 400 photographic works by Surrealist artists like Man Ray, André Breton and Hans Bellmer and delves into how their work was used in magazines and advertising. The Centre Pompidou, Place Georges Pompidou, 75004; +33-1-44-78-12-33.
• Le Bon Marché is putting the spotlight on Guy Bourdin’s films from the Sixties to the Eighties, offering insights into Bourdin’s work for Vogue, his studio fashion shots, as well as an intimate look at the artist.
NUMBER, PLEASE: The usually discreet Hôtel Le Bristol is the talk of the town this season, with the opening of its 114 Faubourg high-end brasserie. Set on two levels with an open kitchen downstairs, the decor is warm and colorful with giant flowers on the walls, parquet floors and a large wrought-iron stairway. The menu offers top quality products cooked any way customers choose and served with a choice of sauces. For instance, cod fish or tuna can be steamed, grilled, or cooked à la plancha, and it comes with either sesame or hollandaise sauce. As a reminder that three-Michelin star chef Eric Fréchon, who heads the gastronomic Bristol restaurant, also oversees 114 Faubourg’s kitchen, dinner for two with wine costs the equivalent of a hefty $350. Meanwhile, the hotel has added a new wing to its Faubourg Saint-Honoré building, which boasts 26 luxurious rooms and suites. 114 Faubourg, Hôtel Le Bristol, 114 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, 75008; +33-1-53-43-43-58.
FRANK WORK: The Pierre Bergé-Yves Saint Laurent Foundation is unveiling a retrospective on Art Deco interior decorator Jean-Michel Frank, whose simple, yet sumptuous furniture and objects were collected by the designer and Bergé. The decorator, a cousin of Anne Frank, died in 1941 and became known for his minimal style inspired by 18th-century Neoclassicism and his penchant for luxurious materials like shagreen, parchment and ivory.
The exhibition, which opens Friday and runs until Jan. 3, will feature a selection of furniture and objects in addition to photographs of interiors Frank designed for buildings such as Rockefeller Center in New York and private residences. Fondation Pierre Bergé-Yves Saint Laurent, 5 Avenue Marceau, 75116; +33-1-44-31-64-00.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Following the success of Les Enfants Terribles in Megève, France, Jocelyn and Jean-Louis Sibuet (also known for their luxury hotels) have opened Les Enfants Terribles in Paris. Right off the Champs-Elysées, the new eatery mixes great food with glamorous ambiance. The elegant 130-seat restaurant boasts an open kitchen serving up an array of appetizers and à la plancha fish or meat dishes. Yummy deserts include rhum baba and caramelized rice pudding. Dinner for two with wine runs for approximately the equivalent of $180. Les Enfants Terribles, 8 Rue Lord Byron, 75008; +33-1-53-89-90-91.
TALKING JAPANESE: Cult Japanese brand Sacai will stage the first presentation of designer Abe Chitose’s career outside of Japan during Paris Fashion Week on Oct. 3 at Galerie Martine Aboucaya, 5 Rue Saint Anastase. Chitose launched her brand in 1999 after almost a decade designing for Junya Watanabe. Known for its experimental but wearable pieces, such as innovative knits, Sacai is distributed in around 90 exclusive stores including Colette, Dover Street Market and Barneys New York.
Elsewhere, Kino, Tago and Quantize figure among nine fledgling Japanese brands selected to participate in the second edition of Tokyo’s Vantan Design Institute’s “atelier X-SEED” project, which supports the business development of the school’s fashion graduates. The exhibition will take place Oct. 3 to 7 at the Galerie Eof.
THE WRITE STUFF: For the first time, Montblanc’s entire high-end jewelry collection is available under one roof, in the luxury brand’s new flagship a few steps from Place Vendôme, in the heart of Paris’ jewelry district. Decorated in beige and dark blue hues, the 5,380-square-foot boutique on Rue de la Paix also houses exclusive collections, one-of-a-kind pieces and limited editions of Montblanc’s watches, jewelry and writing instruments, as well as the brand’s signature leather goods. Customers can shop for exclusive jewelry in private rooms, and there’s also a special section for showcasing luxury timepieces. Boutique Montblanc, 7 Rue de la Paix, 75002; +33-1-58-62-48-52.
ROCK ON: Olivier Dahan, who directed the Oscar-winning movie “La Vie en Rose,” and French producer Dove Attia signed this season’s most popular show, “Mozart l’Opera Rock.” In the extravagant event, classical music turns to rock and heavy metal. Among the 40 singers and dancers performing on stage are Mikelangelo Loconte, who impersonates Mozart, and Melissa Mars, who plays Aloysia Weber — Mozart’s muse and first love. Mars, who already has recorded three albums, will also be seen in “Paris with Love,” starring John Travolta and Jonathan Rhys Meyers next spring. Mozart l’Opera Rock will run until November at the Palais des Sports. Palais des Sports, 1 Porte de Versailles, 75015; +33-8-25-03-80-39.
WATER WORLD: Villa Thalgo, a recently opened 11,110-square-foot spa, gives a nod to the deep. Numerous forms of thalassotherapy are offered, including marine facials and body treatments. The 50-minute Aquazen Massage involves soft balls filled with warm water being rolled along the body. The spa’s menu includes a half-hour “pressodrainage” slimming treatment for 45 euros, or $66 at current exchange, and a 75-minute antiaging facial for 105 euros, or $154. People can watch tranquil videos of cascading water from Villa Thalago’s pool or work out in its exercise room. Villa Thalgo, 8 Avenue Raymond Poincaré, 75016; +33-1-45-62-00-20.
MY LEFT BANK: William Ledeuil recently opened KGB (or Kitchen Gallery Bis), a smaller version of his Michelin-starred Ze Kitchen Gallery restaurant that’s also located on Rue des Grands Augustins. With modern art hanging on its walls, KGB has a gallery feel and offers an wide palette of flavors, starting with a variety of small-portion appetizers and dishes, such as coriander and ginger grilled pork or lemon and basil gnocchi. Dinner for two with wine costs the equivalent of $150.
A few blocks away, Café Germain, a new Costes eatery on Rue de Buci, rocks with a vintage pop decor by India Mahdavi. It includes black-and-white floor tiles and an oversize yellow sculpture that reaches through the ground floor dining room ceiling to the upper level, giving the environment a graphic touch. From the Jabugo ham and tomato sandwich to the Thai-style duck and roast chicken with French fries, the whole menu is tempting and affordable. Lunch for two costs the equivalent of $90. KGB, 25 Rue des Grands Augustins, 75006; +33-1-46-33-00-85; Café Germain, 25 Rue de Buci, 75006; +33-1-43-26-02-93.
CHIC TREATS: Parisians are lining up in front of Pâtisserie des Rêves, Philippe Conticini’s first pastry shop in Paris, on the posh Rue du Bac. Fabulous classic French pastries like tarte tatin, paris-brest and éclairs are displayed on a round table under oversize, transparent bell jars. Customers select their sweets, and orders are prepared in the back of the shop by elegant saleswomen dressed in ivory-colored made-to-measure dresses. La Patisserie des Rêves, 93 Rue du Bac, 75007; +33-1-53-63-42-30.
BACK TO THE FUTURE: Nestled on Rue Saint Jacques, a few feet from the Luxembourg Gardens and behind the Pantheon, sits the 20-room Hôtel Le Petit Paris, which invites people go back in time. That’s thanks to interior designer Sybille de Margerie, who decorated Bernard Arnault’s Hôtel du Cheval Blanc in Courchevel, France, a couple of years ago. For the new Paris hotel, de Margerie found inspiration in French history: Each room boasts a different atmosphere, from Louis XV to Napoléon III to Seventies Pop Art. Rates range from the equivalent of $350 to $530 a night. Hôtel Le Petit Paris, 214 Rue Saint Jacques, 75005; +33-1-53-10-29-29.
GUERLAIN GETAWAY: Guerlain recently opened the doors of a boutique in the bustling Marais neighborhood. The 890-square-foot store houses the LVMH Möet Hennessy Louis Vuitton-owned brand’s entire product collection, including makeup, fragrance and skin care. Upon entering, there’s a space devoted to color cosmetics replete with daytime lighting. There is also an area showcasing Guerlain’s fragrances and another with a cabinet des curiosités. In the back, a 220-square-foot treatment room caters both to women and to men. Guerlain, 10 Rue des Francs Bourgeois, 7500; +33-1-53-01-02-00.
DIY BEAUTY: Beauty is getting ever more hands-on in Paris.
In the Bobbi Brown store that bowed this summer (which marks the Estée Lauder Cos. Inc.-owned brand’s first freestanding door in France), makeup lessons are available in an upstairs room. For someone signing on for one hour, the cost is 75 euros, or about $110 at current exchange. Four people can have a group lesson, which lasts for approximately two hours and goes for 50 euros, or $73, per person. The Nicolaï fragrance brand, meanwhile, is hosting perfume-making sessions, which generally last 90 minutes each. These comprise lessons about various fragrance notes and formulas. At the end, people leave with their own 250-ml. bottle of scent. (Such classes are for 15 or more, at 30 euros, or $44, per person.) Themed sessions — such as on a particular note like rose or on a product family like eau de toilette — are available for 45 euros, or $66, per person in groups larger than 15. There are tailor-made courses, too. Bobbi Brown, 1 bis Rue des Francs Bourgeois, 75004; +33-1-53-01-81-03; Nicolaï, 25 Rue de Montpensier, 75001; +33-1-44-55-02-08.
GIDDYUP: Fashion photographer Ali Mahdavi and choreographer Philippe Découflé have taken up the creative reins at the Crazy Horse, the cheeky and intimate Parisian cabaret, to create an ubersexy and glamorous new revue. While their show gives a nod to the economic downturn, most of the action centers on celebrating the female body with graphic lighting effects and barely there costumes, including one by lingerie designer Fifi Chachnil, and the ultimate fetish pair of heels by Christian Louboutin. Le Crazy Horse Paris, 12 Avenue George V, 75008; +33-1-47-23-32-32
AIN’T IT RICH: John Richmond is shaking up Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré with a new store at number 62, slated to open Oct. 5. Known for his rock ’n’ roll vibe, the British designer’s newest 13,500-square-foot flagship is the fourth for the brand. Designed by architect Cristophe Pillet, the two-level unit doesn’t skimp on Richmond’s techno feel, including touches such as psychedelic carpets and lacquered mannequins, and also benefits from white walls, shiny black surfaces and graphic details. John Richmond, 62 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré; +33-1-58-10-90-0.
SHINE ON: Hip French specialty store Shine has set two new 800-square-foot locations in Paris — one at 8 Rue du Vieux Colombier on the Left Bank, and the other at 65 Rue Montmartre in the trendy neighborhood of Etienne Marcel, where jeans brands Diesel and Replay have flagships. Shine first opened five years ago on Rue Poitou in the Marais. Nestled among its own brand are more than 25 fashion labels, including Martin Margiela, Preen and Acne. Shine, 8 Rue de Vieux Colombier, 75006, and 65 Rue Montmartre, 75002.