ADDED COSTES: The Paris restaurateurs the Costes family are at it again. Just in time for fashion week, they will inaugurate Etienne Marcel, a restaurant-cafe at the corner of Rue Montmartre, and, you guessed it, Rue Etienne Marcel, on the Right Bank. With seating for 150 and decor by hot design duo M/M and French artists Pierre Huyghe and Philippe Parreno, the restaurant is sure to be another hit for the clan, whose empire includes the Hotel Costes, Cafe Marly and Georges. Thierry Costes, who will oversee Etienne Marcel, said the menu won’t be a surprise. “But the interior is completely new,” said Costes. “It’s not [Jacques] Garcia. It’s another direction entirely.” Garcia, of course, is the interior architect who whipped up the lush Second Empire-inspired decor of the Hotel Costes.
SHALL WE DANCE?: What do Christian Lacroix, Issey Miyake, Yohji Yamamoto and Jean Paul Gaultier have in common? They have all designed costumes for the ballet. And the department store Le Bon Marche has organized an exhibition highlighting their collaborations with renowned choreographers. The presentation, running March 2 to April 6, features the collaborations of 12 designers and choreographers, from William Forsythe and Merce Cunningham to Pina Baush and Blanca Li.
ON THE PLATTER: Claude Challe, a deejay and the producer behind the popular music compilations for hot Parisian boites like Buddha Bar, has turned the tables and teamed up with restaurateur Thierry Bourdoncle. The result? Nirvana, a late-night restaurant. Interior designer Jonathan Amar (Nobu, Tanjia) was enlisted to create a palatial Indian feel with psychedelic touches. Of course, music is an important ingredient, and Challe has two resident deejays and a Nirvana compilation in the can. Nirvana, 3 Avenue Matignon, (331) 53 89 18 91.
BON BONS: Philippe Starck has just created a new line of bed linens, and now he’s turning his attention back to the table. The Paris restaurant he designed, Bon, which opened in 2000, has named a new chef. He is Jean-Marie Amat, whose restaurant Saint-James near Bordeaux boasts a Michelin star. Meanwhile, Bon is spawning a second location, slated to open April 11 at Place de la Bourse. Its look will be high-tech and modern, unlike that of the original on the Rue de la Pompe.
MARK OF DENMARK: Carole de Bona, the organizer of the eponymous women’s apparel trade show, is committed to helping young avant-garde designers break onto the Paris scene at her new store at 17 Rue de Sevres. Through May 21, she’s hosting an exhibition and sale of the work of contemporary Danish designers, featuring furniture, tableware, lighting and textiles. Following the legacy of Arne Jacobsen, a Danish pioneer of modern design, the work combines function and aesthetic appeal. Incidentally, a centennial show of Jacobsen’s work is on at the Maison Danemark, 124 Avenue des Champs-Elysees, through March 17.
LACE RACE: Besides runway shows, the Carrousel du Louvre will also be home to an exhibition devoted to lace. The show, open to the public starting Thursday and running through March 16, is organized by Solstiss, the French couture lace manufacturer that supplied designer Michael Faircloth with the red Chantilly for First Lady Laura Bush’s inaugural gown. The exhibition displays creations using Solstiss lace by 30 designers including Emanuel Ungaro, John Galliano and Julien Macdonald for Givenchy couture. Vintage designs by Coco Chanel and Yves Saint Laurent for Dior, as well as memorable theater and film costumes, will also be on view.
ITALY NOW: Offering inventive Tuscany cuisine, Il Vicolo, nestled behind the Institute of France, is fast gaining a reputation as one of the French capital’s most authentic Italian restaurants. Chef Angelo Procopio has attracted a fashionable crowd, ranging from top curators from the nearby Louvre to Helmut Newton, for his fresh antipasti and homemade pasta and ravioli. His partner, Laurie Schattino, presides over the dining room, decorated with understated modern touches. Il Vicolo, 34 Rue Mazarine, (331) -11.
BEAUTY BONANZA: Pret-a-pamper? This season, Paris has two additional beauty institutes to help primp and de-stress the fashion flock. The opulent, three-story Anne Villard beauty institute offers head-to-toe services, from hairstyling to pedicures. There are seven treatment cabines, including one each for Cle de Peau, Carita, Valmont, Sisley and Anne Villard’s own-brand products. Meanwhile, Institut Sarah, overlooking the Jardin du Luxembourg in the 6th arrondissement, has a more minimalist feel, offering facial and body treatments using Esthederm products as well as shiatsu, reflexology and Indian or Thai massages. Anne Villard, 105-109 Rue du Faubourg Saint- Honore, (331) 56 88 12 13.
Insitut Sarah, 5 Rue de Medicis, (331) 43 54 06 03.
SWEET MADNESS: Call it ready-to-eat. Pierre Herme, France’s premier pastry chef, is introducing a new collection of sweets just in time for fashion week. And he’ll be serving up his “spring” collection, along with classics, at his new outpost at Korova, the trendy restaurant at 33 Rue Marbeuf, open for breakfast or tea.
The calories don’t stop there. French-trained Japanese pastry chef Sadaharu Aoki just opened a Zen shop at 35 Rue de Vaugirard selling traditional French cakes and pastries with Asian touches like black sesame or green-tea fillings.
RETAIL RENEWAL: The City of Light is underwriting an experiment in urban renewal through fashion. Last month, Paris mayor Bertrand Delanoe inaugurated a “street of fashion” in a grimy corner of the 18th arrondissement. “Fashion can bring social unity,” the mayor declared in a speech.
The mayor’s program subsidizes 13 young designers who have opened studios-cum-boutiques on the Rue des Gardes. “People who wouldn’t come to a fashion store drop in because it’s next door,” said Christian Rabemila, who, with his brother Jean-Marc, has a shop on the street under their label, Pelagique. “And getting money from the city provides us more stability as we try to build our brand.”
FOUR TO THE FLOOR: Perhaps Paris’ most obscurely named boutique — ní44 II — has an aptly unusual decor, which some liken to the set of a David Lynch film. It’s the first Paris outpost for Japanese designer Seiichiro Shimamura. Beside his signature line of men’s and women’s clothing, which some compare to early APC, it stocks shoes by Veronique Branquinho, a selection of books and music, home objects, vintage items and Springcourt sneakers made exclusively for the shop.
N í44 II, 59 Rue Jean-Pierre Thimbaud, (331) 01 56 98 18 44.
– Alison Beckner, Brid Costello, Chantal Goupil, Robert Murphy and Katie ten Broeke