PARIS SCENE
THOSE LOOKING FOR A BREAK FROM HEMLINES NEXT WEEK WILL HAVE NO SHORTAGE OF OPTIONS IN PARIS. THE CITY WILL BE THE SITE OF A NEW POP ART EXHIBIT, AN EXHIBITION OF WORKS OF ART OWNED BY FASHION DESIGNERS AND, FOR THE SUPERSTITIOUS, A FULL-MOON BEAUTY TREATMENT.

Byline: Blair Asbury Brooks / Brid Costello / Robert Murphy / Miles Socha

Pop Goes Gucci
During the summer couture shows in January, several designers, including Christian Lacroix and John Galliano at Christian Dior, cited Pop Art as one of the influences in the color and spirit of their collections.
The period was — and remains — influential in fashion, a fact that will be underlined by the gigantic “Les Annees Pop” exhibit that debuts during Paris fashion week. Sponsored by Yves Saint Laurent and Gucci Group, the exhibit opens to the public March 15 and will be feted at an invitation-only party for about 800 revelers on March 13. Spanning film, architecture and music from 1956 to 1968, the exhibit will feature hundreds of works of art, including design objects, architectural installations and paintings and sculptures by such artists as Andy Warhol, Claes Oldenburg and Roy Lichtenstein.
Far from an afterthought, fashion was a key cultural force in the period, according to Martine Lobjoy, curator of the design section of the exhibit, which will remain open through June 18. In fact, she said some fashion innovations, in their color, shape and materials, foreshadowed advances in industrial design by several years. Lobjoy also said the Pop period was unique in that it was one of the only times in the 20th century when the visual arts, architecture, design, film and music all converged to borrow from, and make commentaries about, mass culture, the media and rampant consumerism.
“There was an exchange of ideas that created greater ideas,” she said.
Lobjoy said fashion elements, including photographs, accessories and actual dresses on mannequins, are sprinkled throughout the exhibit, which will also feature piped-in music to whisk viewers back in time.
Landmark fashion designs of the period on display include a 1967 dress by Yves Saint Laurent inspired by the artist Piet Mondrian; a plastic dress by an unknown Belgian designer that can be reassembled like a puzzle, and a vinyl helmet with visor by Pierre Cardin from 1966.

Astrance: A New Star
Since it opened in October, Astrance has been hailed as Paris’s newest culinary star. Chef Pascal Barbot and his colleague Christophe Rohat, who worked together at Alain Passard’s three-star restaurant Arpege, run the restaurant. The discreetly modern dinning room, which features gray walls accented with gilt-framed mirrors accommodates no more than 40, making it difficult to book a table.
That situation is set to worsen: the Michelin guide last month awarded Astrance its first star. But those who persevere are in for a treat. The energetic menu includes salmon, crab, guinea hen, duck, codfish and veal as well a crab-and-avocado ravioli starter.
Those who lack the fortitude to finagle their way into Astrance won’t be at a loss for other fine dining options. Brothers Jacques and Laurent Poucel, who preside over their own three-star restaurant in Montpellier, Les Jardins des Sens, have recently revamped the menu at the Maison Blanche. It has their signature southern-French touch, with dishes like confit shallot tart tatin served with red snapper and sea bass with a confit lemon sauce. The panoramic view is a treat as well.
Astrance, 4, Rue Beethoven, (331) 40.50.84.40
Maison Blanche, 15, Avenue Montaigne, (331) 47.23.55.99

Artistic License
Do designers’ tastes in art reflect their signature look in fashion? That’s a question that’s being explored in an exhibit that just opened at the landmark department store, Le Bon Marche.
Art was culled from the collections of more than 40 designers, including a 2,000-year-old stone owned by Karl Lagerfeld, a Jean-Michel Basquiat self-portrait from Agnes B. and a photograph by Ines van Lamdswerde and Vinoodh Matadin from the collection of Dutch design duo Viktor & Rolf.
Taking up some 5,000-square-feet in the store’s basement, the exhibit explores the role of the fashion designer not only as an arbiter of style, but of taste.
To accompany the show, three artists have decorated the store’s ground-floor windows with fashion-savvy compositions inspired by specific pieces from designer collections. The exhibition runs until April 7 at Le Bon Marche, 24 Rue de Sevres.

Midnight Madness
Celebrity hairdresser Alexandre Zouari is promising a howl of a time on March 8, when his salon hosts a full-moon evening.
“Legend has it that hair or nails cut on the night of a full moon grow back stronger and more beautiful,” claimed Benjamin Godefroy, marketing and operations manager at Alexandre Zouari.
Hair dressers, massage therapists, manicurists and makeup artists will be working by the glow of candlelight from 8 p.m. until midnight on superstitious clients wishing to reap the benefits of beauty folklore — or show-weary fashion editors and retailers looking for some late-night pampering.
Alexandre Zouari, 1 Avenue du President Wilson (331) 47.23.79.00

Fashion Wagon
Fast fashion has a new connotation.
Auto maker Renault will sponsor runway shows for five designers during Paris’s ready-to-wear shows. Alexandre Herchcovitch; Niels Klavers; Wendy and Jim; Douglas Day Ascensio, and Kostas Murkudis plan to show in the recently overhauled Atelier Renault space on the Champs-Elysees.
Renault has also asked Gaspard Yurkievich, Shinichiro Arakawa, Icarius, Walter Van Beirendonck, Seredin et Vassiliev and Eric Bergere to showcase their collections in the space. Each of the designers, starting with Arakawa, will be allotted 10 days to feature their collections in a simulated runway show on mannequins moving on a conveyor belt. Presentations are scheduled for each hour.
“Renault’s image in France is not as high as it should be,” said Thierry Tuteleers, director of the Atelier Renault. “Fashion gives us a platform to show people that Renault is very inventive.”