Spring Shopping in Paris

Spring Shopping in Paris

From the magazine

It’s in the Bag
In 2001, the collaboration between Louis Vuitton‘s creative director Marc Jacobs and American fashion designer and artist Stephen Sprouse resulted in handbags covered with brightly-colored graffiti-like scrawl reading Louis Vuitton Paris instead of the famous LV monogram. Initially the bags were intended only for display, but they provoked such an explosion of fashion lust that they became instant It Bags that every fashion follower and celebrity on the planet absolutely had to have. Sprouse died in 2004, but über-designer Jacobs has now created a limited-edition capsule collection for Vuitton based on Sprouse’s original designs. Leggings, trainers, scarves, bags and bracelets are daubed with graffiti logos and swirling rose motifs in this season’s flashiest colors, including electric pink. The collection was timed to coincide with the February publication of The Stephen Sprouse Book by Rizzoli International (a special limited edition is also being sold by Vuitton). 101 ave des Champs-Elysées, 8th, Métro: George V. Shop the collection

Meanwhile, another French luggage and leather goods specialist, Longchamp, has adopted a surrealist stance with a delightfully cheeky nod to Belgian artist René Magritte, who famously wrote Ceci n’est pas une pipe on his drawing of a pipe. The French brand’s spring/summer 2009 collection includes a minimalist canvas shopping tote emblazoned with a drawing of a handbag and the ironic little twist Ceci est un IT BAG. Très chic and très drôle, and maybe it really will become one. $310 404 rue Saint Honoré, 1st, Métro: Concorde Shop the Longchamp online store

Step on It
Will It Bags soon give way to the It Shoe? A change in fashion leather seems afoot. After designing an effigy of himself as a sunglass-wearing teddy bear for Steiff, Karl Lagerfeld has embarked upon another unexpected collaboration, creating a limited edition of summer sandals for Repetto, the French dancewear company, founded in 1947 by the mother of choreographer Roland Petit, that has now branched out into ready-to-wear. Lagerfeld’s new patent leather sandals-in the form of towering 4-inch platform heels or more comfortable flats-come complete with detachable leather “tutus” around the ankle. They’ll be available starting April 9, and are expected to pirouette right off the shelves. From €310-390 22 rue de la Paix, 2nd, Métro: Opéra; and a new shop at 51 rue du Four, Métro: Mabillon. Click here to find a store close to you

At the same time, French shoe designer Michel Perry has come up with a novel way of celebrating Barack Obama’s arrival in the White House. Putting his own inimitable spin on the Stars and Stripes, Perry has designed a pair of eye-catching sandals, named Vegas, which rework the American flag as foot art. 243 rue St-Honoré, 1st, Métro: Tuileries Click here for a list of boutiques worldwide.

Painting by Numbers
Taking the concept of art and fashion crossover even further, 180g is a happening new gallery-boutique in the Marais where artist Nicolas Chevallier and his team hand-paint clothes in the color of your choice (The g stands for grams.) Clients select a color from one of a hundred numbered bottles lining the walls and then have a cashmere scarf, silk dress or men’s linen jacket lacquered up to the precise shade they have specified. The process takes between one and three days, and, in silver or gold metallics, produces amazing patina effects. A mere €180 euros for a hand-painted-to-order dress you can be guaranteed no one else will be wearing is a wardrobe must in these straitened times. 15 rue des Tournelles, 4th, Métro: Bastille.

Music & Mode
Tania Bruna-Rosso and Cécile Togni, known as Les Putafranges, are a duo of glamorous DJ-ettes who have caused a stir on the French electro scene in recent years. Appearing behind their turntables clad in designer dresses and Chaumet tiaras, the pair have become as famous for their cutting-edge looks as their turntable skills. Last year, Cécile was invited to design a mini-collection of handbags for Lancel and together Les Putafranges have now been recruited to put together a guest collection for trendy Parisian womenswear label Maje. To celebrate Maje’s 10th anniversary, they have designed a capsule collection of 18 ultra-wearable pieces aimed at urban girls on the go. As a nod to the pair’s musical roots, each model is named after a song-the Diamond Dogs shirt channels David Bowie, the Foxy Lady dress and the electric blue high-heeled shoes are perfect for a night’s clubbing. After premièring at the city’s hippest concept store, Colette, the duo’s designs are now available at Maje boutiques across the country. 24 rue Saint Sulpice, 6th, Métro: Odéon. Shop Colette online

Ethical Luxe
For luxury shopping with a clear conscience, Dalia and Rose, a multi-brand concept store, is set to open in Paris at the end of March. The boutique, which showcases the latest upscale trends in ethical fashion, lifestyle and design, is the brainchild of Clélia Moretton, a former model now on a mission to promote organic materials and 100% hand-crafted products. With her sharp eye for fashion, Clélia has tracked down a brilliant selection of up-and-coming labels including Camilla Norback, a Swedish designer working with organic silk, organza and cotton; Pachacuti, which claims to sell the world’s first fair-trade panama hats; and ethical jewelry by Nikki Butler, a South African designer whose intricate  beaded creations, under the label Nikki b, have already been snapped up by the likes of Cameron Diaz and Britney Spears. Dalia and Rose also stock French Touch shoes-adorable ballerina flats that have been ethically sourced-and luxurious alpaca accessories hand-made by fair-trade co-operatives in Bolivia. 9 rue du Marché Saint-Honoré, 1st, Métro: Tuileries

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