SCENE ON THE SEINE
Byline: Brid Costello / Laurent Folcher / Robert Murphy / Miles Socha / Jennifer Weil
Yves Saint Laurent may have sold his Rive Gauche ready-to-wear business to the Gucci Group, but the designer is still packing a punch. He has transformed an accessories shop, left under his control in the Gucci deal, into what he has dubbed the Haute Couture boutique, selling everything from jewelry, bags and shoes to scarves, blouses and trousers. It is located at 32 Rue du Faubourg-Saint-Honore.
“The idea is to continue to share our work,” said Saint Laurent muse Loulou de la Falaise, whom Saint Laurent and his partner, Pierre Berge, asked to run the shop. “We sell small quantities of items inspired by the haute couture.”
Sound like a little competition for Tom Ford, YSL’s new creative director, who will show his first collection for the mythic house on Oct. 13?
“We’re not competing with anyone. This is not ready-to-wear,” Falaise insisted. “We are more exclusive and luxurious.”
Women can place special orders that will be ready in a week. “We can do whatever we want in the shop,” said Falaise, who has designed jewelry for the boutique. “If we want to design something, we do it, but in small quantities.”
Falaise said, for example, that the shop would produce about 40 of each of the silk taffeta blouses and about 50 pairs of each shoe. “There’s a very exclusive feeling in the shop,” she said. “It’s also a way to keep busy. Two collections a year is not enough. If you’re a creative person, new ideas only come to you through work.”
Asked if Saint Laurent and Berge would consider opening other Haute Couture shops, Falaise said, “Why not? Maybe in another city.”
Meanwhile, Berge has also been active. He is buying the landmark Paris caviar restaurant Prunier, renowned for its Art Deco dining room and bronze panels designed by the late Harper’s Bazaar creative director Alexi Brodovitch.
A regular at the restaurant for years, Berge said he will use the restaurant as a forum to feature the caviar he cultivates in the Gironde region of France.
“I have loved this restaurant for years,” said Berge. “Not only is the decor fantastic, it’s an opportunity to feature my caviar.”
Although the YSL dean will not touch the first-floor dining room — which is protected as part of France’s national patrimony — he will completely overhaul the first floor. He plans to close the restaurant later this year and reopen in early spring.
“I like the idea of playing with the menu,” explained Berge. “I want to offer all types of caviar to taste, as well as salmon, herring and other fish. It will be a casual atmosphere.” Berge said he has no immediate intention of investing in other restaurants. “This is a special restaurant, close to my heart,” he said.
Look out, Alexandre de Paris: After 30 years, Sylvain Melloul is back in town.
The French hairdresser who gave Hillary Clinton her signature look and has done the do’s of other Washington politicos — not to mention the heads of Paloma Picasso and Sade — just set up shop here.
His signature 5,000-square-foot shop on Rue Francois 1er is modern and streamlined, with stainless steel countertops and white wooden floors. There is a consultation area, plus a room for pedicures, two for massages and one for coloring. And — practically unheard of in Paris — Melloul gives American manicures.
Each time a customer gets the treatment, all the details are entered into a computer. “That way, it is much easier to track services — and gain loyalty,” said Melloul. Thanks to such a system, the return rate for his Georgetown salon is at a whopping 96 percent, he added.
A manicure starts at $20, a shampoo and blow-dry goes for $25 to $50 and color begins at $41. All rates are in dollars at current exchange.
Sylvain Melloul, 29 Rue Francois 1er, 75008 Paris.
“Waste not, want not” could be the motto for an emerging group of designers here who use secondhand garments. Their favorite target: the famous Burberry trench coat. “It’s the perfect symbol of the bourgeoisie,” said designer Fabrice Lorrain, who collaborates with Vava Dudu on the label Dudu and Lorrain. “We like subverting the symbol by making it more aggressive.”
For Dudu and Lorrain, sold at Beauty by Et Vous, that means cutting holes in the coat to give it a punk-rock edge.
Meanwhile, the husband-and-wife team Edith and Raphael, who don’t use last names, have made dresses, capes and trousers out of Burberry trenches. Sold at Galeries Lafayette, they have dubbed the line Changement de Proprietaire, or change of owner. “We thought of the trench as being worn by a flasher,” said Raphael, who considers himself and his wife not only designers but performance artists. They stage impromptu fashion shows in busy stores, trying to attract attention by wearing their most outlandish designs. “We want to force people to think about their environment and the fashion system.”
Gauthier Gallet has turned his lens on some famous — and not so famous — people. And the juxtaposition of the two is at the heart of the “People” exhibit he has organized at the Fred Sanchez record shop and gallery, from Oct. 2 to Nov. 20.
Candid pictures of fashion designers from Karl Lagerfeld to Jean Paul Gaultier — who is sponsoring the show — will be shown alongside hundreds of people related in some way or another to the fashion world.
“I take so many pictures, and not all of them see the light of day,” said Gallet. “Some people say, ‘You take pictures of me all the time, and I’ve never seen them.’ Well, here they are.”
Gallet plans to plaster the walls of the Sanchez shop with more than 900 impromptu photos he’s snapped while documenting the fashion world over the last five years. “It’s my way of saying thank you to the people who have let me photograph them.”
Alain Ducasse has decamped from the staid 16th arrondissement and landed in fashion central. The renowned French chef has moved his eponymous Paris eatery to the Plaza Athenee — smack in the heart of one of Paris’s chicest shopping thoroughfares, the Avenue Montaigne.
Ducasse commissioned Patrick Jouin, a former Phillipe Starck assistant, to give the hotel’s venerable 18th-century dining-room’s decor a modern touch. Jouin enveloped the ornate, cut-crystal chandeliers in thin metallic screening and created furniture that mixes Louis XV and contemporary style.
For the menu, Ducasse has whipped up dishes ranging from Brittany lobster with spicy curry to pigeon in apple juice. With only 50 places, the wait is already monstrous. “But there are always last-minute cancellations,” assured a spokeswoman. “It never hurts to try.”
Meanwhile, Ducasse has also lent a helping hand to revamping the bar at the Prince-of-Brunei-owned hotel. Since opening late this summer, it has quickly become one of the city’s hottest watering holes. The main draw: the so-called “solid cocktails,” gelatin cubes infused with alcohol.
Fourteen is the magic number for shoe designer Roldolphe Menudier, 39, who plans to open his first freestanding shop on Oct. 14 at 14 Rue de Castiglione — just a stiletto step from the Costes and Ritz hotels.
Designed by up-and-coming French interior architect Christophe Pillet, it will be a “mix in style between James Bond and John Lautner,” said Menudier, known for his sexy, hard-edged shoes. “I want the ambience to be calm and warm.”
To give the shop a special touch, Menudier said he will design limited-edition shoes that will be sold exclusively in the store. Additionally, all shoes at the flagship will be stamped with a special “14 Castiglione” logo.
“I want to offer everything associated with the foot,” said the designer; thus he is using the opening as the occasion to launch his hosiery line, which will be coordinated to match the shoes. He will also sell foot jewelry, including ankle bracelets and toe rings.
The Different Company’s difference is its claim to be the ultimate in luxury goods.
“We wanted to redo luxe as it should be and create a new standard for it — particularly among fragrance,” said a company spokeswoman.
So carte blanche was given to perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena and designer Thierry de Bashmakoff, who came up with the Rose Poivree, Osmanthus and Bois d’Iris fragrances. Each scent comes in a massive, 250-ml. leather-clad bottle that retails for $250.
Distribution is limited: Beauty by Et Vous on Paris’s Right Bank and in the U.S. at New York’s Takashimaya and Los Angeles’s Max Field.
On the docket is a 10-ml. aluminum rechargeable version of the scents — available starting at the end of October for $100 each — and other items such as timepieces and leather goods.
A Web site, thedifferentcompany.com, enables clients to ask for custom-made fragrance covers or scented-ribbon samples.
Going Thiou Thailand
Like Cher, Thiou goes by one name. A chef at Les Bain Douche, she now has a signature 75-seat restaurant on quiet, discreet Rue Surcouf. A glittering crowd of fashion and film types has already discovered the flattering lighting, the low-key atmosphere, the glamorous red velvet banquettes upstairs and the star attraction: Thiou’s richly flavorful cooking. It’s been visited by the likes of Christian Lacroix, Carole Bouquet and Catherine Deneuve, according to a spokesman for the restaurant. Neither Cher nor Madonna has yet to show up….
Thiou is owned by Jean Richard, proprietor of Marius et Janette, Chez Francis and Le Bar au Sel.
Meanwhile, Richard’s son, 27-year-old Nicolas, has been put in charge of a revamped Le Berkeley, a swanky, 160-seat restaurant on Avenue Matignon that in the Sixties was frequented by Greta Garbo, Marlene Dietrich and the Duchess of Windsor, among others. Interior designer Jacques Garcia, famous for Hotel Costes, designed a sumptuous room with a similar atmosphere, but one that references the auction houses in the area, Christie’s and Sotheby’s, with reproductions of famous paintings. The kitchen, run by Jean-Yves Bigot, former sous-chef at La Tour d’Argent, turns out French classics and Continental favorites such as carpaccio, risotto and tandoori chicken.
Thiou, 3 Rue Surcouf, 01.40.62.96.50
Le Berkeley, 7 Avenue Matignon, 01.42.25.72.25
Rykiel Lays Down the Law
“I never imagined it would be so much fun,” designer Sonia Rykiel declared of the more than 250 costumes she made for what is shaping up as the blockbuster musical here this fall, “The Ten Commandments.” It opens Wednesday.
Rykiel was asked to design the costumes by the director, Eli Chouraqui. “At first I said no,” she said. “But when I thought about the story of Moses and all the emotion in the story, I quickly changed my mind.”
The designer said she wanted to tap into the past, but without doing period costumes. “Designing costumes for the Hebrews was easy,” Rykiel said. “But the Egyptians posed more of a problem. I didn’t want to fall into cliche, so I used elements of the past but made them very graphic.”
She also had to keep in mind that the more than 120 cast members had to dance. “The costumes had to be fluid, but that’s my specialty,” she said.
In the past, Rykiel has dabbled in the theater, but never on such a large scale. “It was like doing three collections,” she said. “But I’d do it again, without thinking twice.”
Fashion First Aid
How can a designer survive in the third millennium?
Emanuel Ungaro, Eric Bergere, Stella Cadente and Gilles Dufour are among the 19 designers to share their unusual survival techniques in an exhibition, called “2000¿,” at click-and-mortar furnishings store Anatomique-edition.com.
The designers were asked to construct their dream survival kits in small Plexiglas cubes. “The initial brief was a survival kit,” explained Jean-Yves Lanvin, one of the founders of Atomique-edition.com. “However, they ended up liking the pure, transparent cubes as a means to [spark the designers’] imaginations.”
The contents are as varied as the creators. Shoe designer Christian Louboutin’s cube includes a cross suspended from the lid; Sebastien Meunier’s “Urban Survival Kit,” meanwhile, includes a pair of jeans dipped in red latex.
“2000¿” will run from Oct. 6 to Nov. 30 at Anatomique-edition.com, 29 Rue du Louvre, 75002 Paris.
When Jean Paul Gaultier moved his atelier to the dodgy Bastille area in 1994, the area seemed destined to become a more fashionable destination. It hasn’t yet lived up to that, having instead earned more of a reputation for young rowdies than for ladies who lunch.
But several key developments have the area perking anew. Of particular note is the redo of the landmark brasserie Les Grandes Marches, which just got a chic, Modernist makeover by Christian de Portzamparc, the architect responsible for the new LVMH tower in New York, and his wife Elizabeth, who is responsible for the furniture and interior design. The 264-seat eatery, with views of the famous square, features space-age seating, a huge curving stainless steel wall and upscale versions of bistro classics like pot-au-feu and Chateaubriand.
Les Grandes Marches, 6 Place de la Bastille, 01.43.42.90.32.
He’s Got Legs
Vincent McDoom is not shy about his figure, declaring even to new acquaintances that he has the best legs in Paris. A fixture of the city’s nightlife who moves in the same fashion circles as designers Marc Jacobs and Andre Walker, he wears high heels and tight pants, showing off his figure to full advantage.
He’s clearly not shy, which is why French television station Paris Premiere has made McDoom one of the personalities introducing programs every night.
“I’m on TV every day now, at 9 o’clock at night. I introduce all the programs for the channel, and I come back to wish the public goodnight at 1 a.m.,” he said. ” It’s like a talking fashion page.”
At a party last week to celebrate Paris Premiere’s fall season at nightclub La Scala, McDoom slinked through the crowd in a rhinestone-studded turquoise top and white pants by Michael Kors for Celine, waving hello to the likes of Stella McCartney and Sofia Coppola and posing for photos with Paris Premiere’s fashion personality Marie-Christiane Marek, host of the popular “Paris Modes” fashion program.