Spanning a single block between rue de la Roquette and rue de Charonne in the young and trendy 11th arrondissement, the rue Keller has long harbored serious young artists, architects and designers who pioneered the area more than a decade ago, drawn by its deep bohemian roots, its energy and camaraderie, and its affordable workspaces. An epicenter of gay life in the 1970s and ’80s, the street now flaunts its louche appeal in many ways, from politically subversive bookstores to saucy fetish boutiques, art galleries, manga shops and funky cafés.
Of all the street’s boutiques, Des Petits Hauts at no. 5 has gone the most mainstream. While the flagship boutique-atelier opened here in 2000, the line has been so successful it’s now scattered throughout France, with eight boutiques in Paris alone. The success story makes perfect sense, since the label combines chic, functional looks and high-quality fabrics with a sense of fun. The collection ranges from featherweight cotton tank tops with a sprinkling of tiny beads at the shoulders to cropped leather jackets in pastel colors and flattering belted coats. Among my favorites are menswear-style shirts in softest cotton, vivid woolen plaids expertly cut to highlight womanly curves, and beautifully tailored tuxedo trousers with a wrap belt. Every piece is discreetly embellished with a tiny golden star for good luck.
Des Petits Hauts 5 rue Keller, 11th, 01.43.38.14.39
Originally published in the November 2010 issue of France Today
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