Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Azzedine Alaia Collector, Alaia - Balenciaga, Sculptors of Shape

Yesterday I ran to my pool🏊‍♀️ in the Marais almost making it. But the pool was fermé/closed for 'incident technique' as they say.
Instead I went to the Azzedine Alaia Collector exhibit (entry 5€) a few blocks away. His boutique, atelier, bookstore and now plus an outdoor cafe are at 18, rue de la Verriere just behind BHV.
First you watch a 20-minute video (in English 🎉) which clarifies how hands-on Alaia was in producing every single step of a garment.
And what a generous friend he was to his models, workers, everyone. Alaia (1935-2017) seems to have been a kind and dedicated human being different from the elegant, aloof (and beautiful) Balenciaga. Plus he adored dogs.
Then you walk through the labyrinthine exhibit to  view the double pairs of Alaia/Balenciaga. I've seen a number of Balenciaga exhibits and thought I understood him. Maybe not.
The back story is Balenciaga's Vice General-Director (an aunt of one of Alaia's assistants) was concerned with the future heritage of his garments.
She offered them to Alaia at reasonable prices. He could not resist and bought garbage bags full of them.
So began his collection of thousands of fashion garments.
He was deeply influenced by 
 structure, cut, architectural shapes.
Seeing suit jackets, dresses, gowns side by side makes crystal clear how much he was influenced and how similar both their approach was to fashion. Both were sculptors and architects. Yet Alaia had his own particular take on the female body. Early days he designed costumes for les girls at Crazy Horse.
Go. Definitely a worthy exhibit to experience if you love fashion and set in a more intimate environment than the big museums.

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Textile Tours of Paris, Marie-Antoinette Paris letter

Get your scissors ✂️ out for the October accordion Marie-Antoinette Paris letter💌. Paperdoll time. Staying with French women of note theme, I discovered Herstoricalmonuments on Instagram. Ta Da.

True I wasn't keen on the statue of Edith Piaf in the 20th arr. Using poetic license I included her more colorful wax effigy from Musée Grevin.
What's your vote - oui or non?The Paris letters hit la poste 📮on Thursday🎉
On Friday I took Dubliner Rebecca Devaney's delightful Textile Tour of Paris (60€). We were in 'the Sentier', long established site of French haut couture ateliers.
First stop - haberdashery Ultramod mercerie, a shop I've wanted to explore for ages. The colors, the colors 🎨 Rebecca gave us the deets on their vintage satins and silks.
Film industry costumiers come here for the 'Real' thing. The supply is limited so what you see today may not be here tomorrow. Ultramode is a museum. 
Have you been in La Droguerie? Another pandora's box of exploding color, beads and buttons. The deal is you pick out a
 knitting designs.
Then go to the waiting bench. They run around finding the exact amount of yarn/thread for your design. No measuring required on your part. Their specialty is selling small quantities and a vast range of colors.  

Every purveyor in Paris has a vast range of exquisite colors like Japanese lace and ribbon company Mokuba nearby. They have a beautiful shop also in the NYC garment district I gazed into when I worked on 7th Avenue eons ago.
What a thrill to go inside and look with an expert guide. The harmonious colors placed side by side are are not left to chance.
Next stop, Au Ver À Soie, home of authentic silk thread in a multitude of colors. Since 1820, their factory in Blois is one of the few still in France to produce the finest grade silk thread from  Chinese silkworm cocoons. Open to the public the 1st Monday afternoon of the month.
And they will be at the Aiguille en Fete/ in March 12-15 and so will I, to report back. Lastly we went to Maison Sajou near Passage de Caire for tea and more browsing. Did you ever do cross-stitch embroidery as a kid? The sets here are a tad more advanced. They have collaborations with les Bayeux tapistries and Versailles. Their biggest shop is near the castle with many designs based on patterns M-A actually wore. Sajou's site is in English. They ship all over. I forgot to tell you about the statue of St. Catherine, the seemstress's saint ( see red circle). You'll just have to take Rebecca's tour. Do share with a friend. Get a taste of Paris letters 💌and watercolors in your own mailbox 📬Xxx❤️Carolg🐻Bear  

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Map of Paris, Women of Paris Tours

Picking a subject for February's map was easy this year - Parisian women of note .
The drawing was not so easy. Deciding who to put in and who to leave out. My choices are strictly personal.
Since I pass Sainte Genevieve daily on Pont de la Tournelle and adore her statue by sculptor  Paul Landowski (who created the far better known Christ the Redeemer in Rio) she is included. After all she is Paris' patron saint, plus she saved Paris by diverting  Atilla the hun's army. I loved Yvette Guilbert's yellow dress. One does need some color.
To help choose other Parisian women of note I took Heidi Evan's SUGAR AND SPICE tour of women writers on Wednesday (42€).
Writer George Sand was already a choice. She lived for a while at 31, rue de Seine.
I didn't know a license was required from les flics to crossdress. Nor that she is still France's second most-read writer.
We stopped outside writer Colette's apartment on rue Jacob. She was more or less kept prisoner here by her first husband, Henry Gauthier-Villars (1859 – 1931) to keep her writing the Claudine stories, so he could collect the fame and $$$.
Intermittently we stopped for pastry and candy delights to fortify us for the 3 hour tour. I abstained. But note that Popelini colored all their creampuffs lovely shades of pink for St. Valentines day.
At Henri Le Roux I could have easily taken over for Heidi and talked an hour about French caramels but it was not my tour.
Here we visited the original site of Sylvia Beach's Shakespeare and Company on rue de l'Odeon.
We stopped briefly at Restaurant Procope, Paris' oldest restaurant.
Daniele and I lagged behind admiring the windows/lechë vitrine at fabric designer Pierre Frey. Dubliner Rebecca Devaney leads textile tours of Paris and formerly embroidered in the haut couture (but not on Natalie Portland's coat of the famed 900 hours). I hope to go and report back on her tours too.As a reward for abstaining from all the sweets on the tour and going back to work on the Feb Paris map, I got a vanilla dixi cup 😳 I'm turning it into a piggybank and will deposit 2€ daily instead of at Picard frozen foods. I may get to Lisbon yet🤞🏼🤞🏼🤞🏼 Thanks for reading Parisbreakfast. Please share with a friend. Get a taste of Paris letters 💌and watercolors in your mailbox 📮Xxx❤️Carolg🐻Bear  

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Valentines Day menu for Russian Tea Room

I spent most of January Desperately seeking ❤️ Valentines ideas for THE RUSSIAN TEA ROOM menu cover.
The usual tearing of hair...
I studied RTR's Valentine menu. Yum.
Do I paint RTR scallops?
I looked at old PB Valentines posts
I went out looking for ideas and inspiration trying not to eat🍫😳

Look at this adorable et pas cher china at Monoprix❤️
RTR suggested something with roses🌹 Hmm...
Finally 6-7 heart/roses❤️🌹sketches. Ta Da The response: No, we don't like those and no, we don't have any suggestions but we know you will come up with something wonderful😳
Maybe the RTR facade like you did before(yoo hoo this was 10+ years ago). Wha'? More hair tearing.
Where Did I find  this photo of❤️ balloons in Milan and who did it?
Ta Da. We LOVE ❤️it. YAY But the boss isn't sure about the taxi🚖.
I did a poll on Instagram. The Taxi won🚖 YES! Isn't the creative process wonderful? If you go to the RUSSIAN TEA ROOM for St Valentines say "Parisbreakfast sent me" Maybe you'll get an extra glass of Champagne 🥂🍾🙏🏻
Thanks for reading Parisbreakfast. Please share with a friend. Get a taste of Paris letters and watercolors in your mailbox 📮HAPPY VALENTINES DAY PBersxxx❤️Carolg🐻Bear