Astier de Villatte

Astier de Villatte

OK, I’ll come clean. I covet everything, and I mean simply everything, at Astier de Villatte, a jewel-box boutique on the ultra-chic Rue Saint Honoré showcasing everything from milky-white glazed ceramics-which first catapulted the French brand to interior-design fame-to stylish gilt-edged notebooks with eye-catching M.C. Escher-like covers. As Ivan Pericoli, who co-founded the company with Benoît Astier de Villatte in 1996, explains, “We originally started out making furniture and the plates were a sideline really. They were just decorative objects to show off our tables.” Astier de Villatte’s striking white designs, produced with slight irregularities that make each plate unique, are inspired by antique dinner services unearthed at the flea market and chipped pieces of crockery they found thrown out on the street.

After showing their work on a makeshift stand at the all-important Maison & Objet professional design fair in Paris, Astier de Villatte acquired a cult following in Japan and the US. The Paris boutique opened in 2000, as the team branched out into glassware, cutlery-and dishwashing liquid. “That started out as a bit of a joke,” laughs Pericoli. “A friend suggested that, since the boutique was full of plates, we should start selling our own liquide vaisselle alongside them.” So the pair came up with three 100% organic dishwashing flavors: sage, ginger and pepper, an innovative all-black formula so popular with design-conscious Parisians it sold out within weeks.

Amused by the unexpected success, they have now created their own line of fragrances and opulent scented candles, produced in collaboration with top French perfumer Françoise Caron. “The scented candles are inspired by places we’ve actually visited as well as places we’ve just fantasized about,” says Pericoli, explaining the voluptuous blend of California lemon, gardenia, vanilla and “solar accord” that went into the making of Honolulu. Like everything else in this wonderful boutique, the bougies were an act of pure indulgence. “Astier de Villatte is not just a brand, it’s a lifestyle,” Pericoli quips. “We use the notebooks, we wear the cologne and yes, we even eat off our own plates sometimes.”

173 rue Saint-Honoré, 1st, Métro: Palais Royal. website

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