For the last two weeks, the Saatchi Gallery in London has been the home of the Chanel exhibit, “Mademoiselle Privé.” Named for the sign Coco Chanel would place on her door so she could work uninterrupted, the showcase explored both the past and the present of the French fashion house, spanning Chanel and Karl Lagerfeld’s legacies.
I loved how the exhibition’s three themes, were spread across the three floors of the gallery. The journey began with a trip to a model of the rue Cambon apartment, complete with the mirrored staircase, followed by High Jewelry, Couture, and Chanel No. 5. It was really interesting to learn more about Coco Chanel, such as her fascination with numbers and totems, which are interwoven throughout her designs. Fashion expert Ines da Silva and I were both completely captured by this part of the tour; I had no idea Coco was so superstitious!
The best part of the exhibit was the short movie starring Geraldine Chaplin as the ghost of Coco Chanel and Karl Lagerfeld as himself. In the film, the two creative geniuses have a very entertaining discussion about the past and present of Chanel. Coco sure could hold her own!
The most innovative part of the exposition was the Mademoiselle Privé app. If you held it up, more information, images, and details would come up; it served as a very complimentary part of the offering.
Last month, while meandering around the first arrondissement, I decided to pop into Colette to see if I could find any last-minute Christmas presents. I went downstairs to the water bar for a drink, when to my surprise, I came across a little Paddington Bear wonderland instead!
Japanese illustrator Shinzi Katoh and Colettejoined together to host a children’s English goûter, or snack time, with Paddington Bear, in celebration of the upcoming 2014 movie release. Katoh created a Paddington Bear- and Colette-inspired wallpaper print, which lined the downstairs walls. The children got their portraits done by Katoh and had a cooking class with the renowned food blogger, Mimi Thorisson from Manger.
I loved this unexpected sweet moment. (I’m always happy when cupcakes are involved!) It was beautiful to see one of my favorite childhood stories come to life in Paris.
I am, like many of you, a fan of Christian Dior. The haute couture brand has mastered the feminine silhouette, designing clothes that are an equal mix of elegance and modernity. Last November in the Courbe Gallery at the Grand Palais in Paris, LVMH put on an exhibition in honor of Christian Dior and his first perfume, Miss Dior. The scent has become a symbol of femininity since its creation in 1947, much like Chanel No. 5. As a tribute to the fashion house’s affiliation with the arts, Dior commissioned 15 female artists from around the world to create artwork inspired by the perfume. Using the trademark bow, classic flacon, and hounds-tooth pattern, the artists fabricated a variety of imaginative pieces, which you can see below.
Australian illustrator and author Kerrie Hess (Kerrie Hess Illustration) is a world-renowned talent. She has collaborated with distinguished brands such as Chanel, Christian Louboutin, Alexander McQueen, Louis Vuitton, net-a-porter.com, Vogue, Peter Alexander, Sambag, Tatler, and Kate Spade, to name a few. Hess’s illustrations are stunning, encompassing the elegant and the feminine. In celebration of her upcoming Paris exhibition for the Dorchester Collection and Hotel Le Meurice, we spoke with Kerrie and learned more about the person behind the art.
1. You’ve worked with some incredible brands; what are some of your most memorable projects? Louis Vuitton, Kate Spade, Colette Dinnigan, and billboards for Printemps Paris.
2. What does your creative process include? Great music, dark chocolate, and a happy state of mind.
3. What inspires you? Vintage Vogue covers, Paris, old sketches from Madame Gres.
4. I loved your book Shoestring Chic! Thank you for the tips! Will we be seeing another book project from you in the future? Thank you!Yes, I would love to, it’s just a matter of time, but yes, stay tuned!
5. I love that you have a trademark style, yet you put a unique spin on every project so the illustrations are never the same. How do you continue to design individual pieces for such a diverse range of brands? I think the thing for me is to always stay within my style, but bring something different to every project. It’s a balance. There is always room for something new.
6. We can’t wait to see your upcoming exhibition at the Hotel Le Meurice. How would you describe this collection? Yes, I am very excited about it! It’s on from the 12th of January until the 26th. The collection is 16 new pieces all created around and inspired by the luxurious and glamorous world of the Le Meurice, my personal favorite in Paris.
7. You lived in Paris recently with your family. Would you say that this collection reflects your time in Paris? I would love my life to have been as glamorous! I can’t say I took my son to school every day in Paris in ball gown unfortunately… But yes, there were so memorable moments that I will treasure forever in the city. And I love coming back, it’s such a nice feeling to know your way around in Paris and revisit all of my old haunts, old friends and just soak up the beauty.
8. What did you love about living in Paris? I loved the markets, as well as catching up with friends at Laduree, Le Fumoir, Cafe De Flore, etc. Just a stroll around the left bank is a great way to waste away an afternoon, or sifting through antiques.
9. What are some of your favorite places in the French capital? Lunch in the courtyard at Hotel Costes, Dinner at Le Dali (Le Meurice) or The Cristal Room. Shopping on Rue St Honoré…
10. What would you recommend to someone wanting to move to Paris and work in a creative field? Make a network of friends in your field who can hopefully point you in the right direction.
11. Where can we look to next to see your work? What upcoming projects do you have? I have a chocolate range collaboration in the works, more exhibitions, and books in the pipeline! And my side project of limited edition prints! A new collection is to release shortly. (http://www.kerriehess.bigcartel.com.) A lot of exciting things for 2014.
Un grand merci to Kerrie Hess for her time and her beautiful illustrations. Her collection at the Le Meurice in Paris runs from January 12 – 26, 2014.
After a stint in the US, then a few months in London at the Tate Modern, the Roy Lichtenstein pop art pieces finally made their way to Paris. The exhibit is a comprehensive display of his work throughout the years and provides really interesting historical and biographical information about the pieces and Lichtenstein. I was impressed by the variety of works in the collection and loved seeing his most famous pieces in person. It’s a very popular exhibit, so make sure to set aside about two hours to make your way through. There’s a lot to read and to see!
In town until November 4, 2013, this is not a show to miss. The museum is open from Wednesday to Monday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. (“nocturnes” on Thursday until 11 p.m.), so there is plenty of time to check it out. Also, you can download an app for the visit, which provides tons of information about the pieces and the very talented American artist.
Centre Pompidou – Place Georges-Pompidou – Paris 4e
We also popped into the Simon Hantaï exhibit, which will be on display until September 2, 2013. The two pieces below are Hantaï’s works.
And to finish off a perfect visit to Pompidou, we stopped by Georges for a coffee – and the view!
My dates to the concert were Lauren and my sister, so the night was pre-destined for greatness. And then the music – amazing! Sinfonietta put together a stellar program. They started with a Bach symphony, followed by Georg Philipp Telemann’s Burlesque Suite – Don Quixote, and ended the first half of the evening with the Prelude to the opera Capriccio by Richard Strauss. The second half of the concert was a gorgeous interpretation of Verklärte Nacht by Arnold Schoenberg.
The young musicians have a mature, full sound, which made the concert very enjoyable. While I love a good chamber group, the cello is the instrument that steals my heart. Sinfonietta cellists, thank you.
After the concert, I had the pleasure of finally meeting the lovely Melissa from Prête-moi Paris and her chéri, as well as some of the wonderful people associated with Sinfonietta. Thank you, Prête-moi Paris, for this amazing evening!
Looking forward to the next performance.
A little bit about Sinfonietta Paris Chamber Orchestra
The international ensemble was founded in 2011 and is led by the American conductor Michael Boone. This new Paris chamber orchestra is made up of young professional musicians who have trained at some of the world’s best conservatories and festivals and whose mission it is to provide a dynamic repertoire of classical music to the world. Click here to learn more about Sinfonietta and here to donate to this incredible new group.
We are giving away a copy of the book and a special Paris prize to three lucky readers! The winners will also be featured on the Je T’Aime, Me Neither website. The giveaway runs from May 27 through June 5, 2013.
This Sunday will be the first Sunday of the month. This means it’s a museum day!
The beautiful musées de Paris* are free for everyone on Sundays, one of the many things I love about this city. Art and culture are available to those who seek it. I absolutely love the Musée Rodin in the 7th arrondissement. I can’t wait to enjoying the gardens of the museum come spring and warm weather.
Below is one of my favorite sculptures by Rodin, The Kiss. Every time I see it, I find something else to admire about this stunning piece. I’m fascinated by all sorts of art and especially by the artists who have the capacity to create masterpieces with their hands. Of these arts, I find sculpture to be especially impressive. How is it possible to create, to carve out figures and scenes from rock? How can these artists chisel out a soft curve, a billowing skirt, an unmistakeable expression?
To see some of the most gorgeous sculptures that Paris has to offer, stop by the Musée Rodin this Sunday. If you’re feeling especially motivated, continue your sculpture-filled day at the Louvre to see the Winged Victory of Samothrace!
21, boulevard des Invalides
*UPDATE: Thank you to the wonderful Tyler for this great link! Only State-owned museums are free on the first Sunday of the month, and you can click here to see the list of those museums. Merci, Tyler! xx
The Kiss by Gustav Klimt is my absolute favorite painting in the world.
How and why do I love it so much? Let me count the ways.*
1. The colors – Look at all of that gold! Painted during Klimt’s “Golden Period,” the beautiful sparks of gold on the painting call out to the viewer, luring you further into the painting and the kiss.
2. The subject matter – Love!
3. The expression – Complete, utter happiness. There is nowhere else in the world that she’d rather be than in his arms.
4. The embrace – The world’s most tender two-dimensional hug
5. The kiss itself – The sweetness of the kiss is what I think I love the most. It’s a simple kiss on the cheek, and yet there is an incredible amount of love, passion, and happiness that is represented in this simple act.
One of the most thoughtful housewarming gifts that I’ve received was a printed canvas of The Kiss from my favorite Englishman. As I opened the package and saw the beautiful kiss and enraptured look of the lovers, I couldn’t help but sigh and stare. I have The Kiss in my apartment!
Femininity Encompassed by Art: The Works of Dominique Fury
Thursday, September 28, 2012, marked the debut of the French artist Dominique Fury’s exhibit at Galerie Caplain-Matignon, a chic gallery in the 8th arrondissement of Paris. Renowned for her use of untraditional canvases and materials, Fury’s works are captivating, stunning, and compelling pieces of art.
In an enlightening interview with the artist, PatriciaParisienne learned about her adventure into the art world. Originally a political science student, Fury realized halfway through her studies that she truly wasn’t cut out to be a student of politics. Her heart and passion were in the arts. She delved into the world of art and has never looked back. She has collaborated with many artists around the world, and her works have been exhibited at festivals and galleries around the world, including Kyoto, Shanghai, Brussels, Bogota, Istanbul, and, of course, all over France.
Regarding her artwork, Fury says (translated from French), “I have always been interested in collaborating with other artists…I have worked on several projects with other artists and especially enjoy working with a variety of materials…like the Americans, who would tell stories of a certain region with different materials. It really tells their story. For me, the starting materials are those that touch your skin, very beautiful gold materials that make a lacquer, that are sexy. Voila. At the beginning, when I would create my paintings, I didn’t want anyone to know that it was a woman who was painting them. So I called myself Fury. And Dominique Fury is a name [that can be male or female]. I would make these enormous paintings. I absolutely did not want anyone to know that it was a woman who was making them. It was more of a masculine work and quite harsh.”
In regards to her choice to become an artist, she states, “Finalement, on fait ce qu’on doit faire.” (“In the end, we do what we must do.”) Fury’s Electric Lady exhibit shows off this artist’s vast capacity to encompass femininity and human emotions and project them onto a canvas through various fabrics, textures, and materials. An absolute must-see if you’re in the City of Lights.
We are happy to have this artist back in Paris with us for a short time. Fury’s works will be on display until November 6, 2012.
Today, I had the honor of attending an incredible performance of the opera Les Contes d’Hoffmann by Jacques Offenbach at the Opéra Bastille. It was my first visit to the opera house, and it couldn’t have been a more phenomenal introduction. I attended the matinee performance on this gorgeous day.
This opera is about Hoffmann, a poet, who has strayed from his Muse with three other women. The Muse reveals in the opening aria that she intends to woo Hoffmann back so that she can once again be his one and only love. Throughout the three acts, Hoffmann reveals his stories of the three loves of his life, each one more ethereal and dramatic than the previous.
From my seats in the second balcony, I could see the entire orchestra. It was wonderful to watch the dapper Czech conductor, Tomas Netopil, and his magnificent, fluid conducting. The orchestra played very well and kept up the energy throughout the three-hour performance. The strings were spot on, and I particularly enjoyed the flute’s flowing contributions. Also, it was wonderful to see not one but two female percussionists in the pit!
The show began with the Muse’s aria and swept us into Offenbach’s fantasy. This was also my first time seeing all of these performers, and I was impressed by each individual on the stage. Stefano Secco played a heart-wrenching Hoffmann. His gorgeous tenor voice soared through the theater, and he was rarely overshadowed by the orchestra. The Italian had us all in the palm of his hand by the end of the first scene. The Nova Scotian soprano Jane Archibald was one of the most brilliant singer/actresses I have ever seen, not to mention a fantastic comedian! She owned the epitome of vocal-gymnastics, Les oiseaux dans la charmille (“The Doll Song”), both vocally and theatrically. She was a robot! As a mezzo-soprano (MS), I always tend to want to love my fellow MSs, though I needed no extra convincing today. Both the roles of the Muse and Nicklausse were played by American Kate Aldrich, who has subsequently joined the ranks of Maria Callas, Diana Damrau, and Ana Netrebko on my “idols” list. Her voice is plush and rich, and I greatly admire her ability to carry through the orchestra, particularly in her lower range. I know, I know, as opera singers, this is what we have to do – but it’s hard! And Aldrich does it extremely well. Sophie Koch, who played Giulietta, seduced everyone in the audience in the third act with her powerful voice and raging high notes, particularly in the opening barcarolle of act III, Belle nuit, ô nuit d’amour. Other remarkable voices include the baritone Franck Ferrari asHoffmann’s nemesis Lindorf and Puerto Rican soprano Ana Maria Martinez as the troubled Antonia. The ensemble was incredibly cohesive on every level; from the singers to the aesthetics, this was a completely solid show.
The sets – oh, the sets! This show had some of the most simple yet beautiful sets I have ever seen! The opening scene at the opera bar was so modern; the only other stage I preferred to it was the final moment in opera. Other notable sets were the first theater set-up during act II, where the action primarily takes place in the on-stage orchestra pit until the end of the scene, when Antonia and her mother perform on the elevated stage. For act III, the talented Robert Carsen created a theater, which we as the audience viewed from the perspective of the performers. It was all absolutely lovely.
I left the opera house feeling elated and enriched. I highly recommend seeing this show! It will be in Paris until October 3. I often suggest comedic operas first, for those who have never been to one before; Les Contes d’Hoffmann would be a perfect way to start your love affair with the art form.
Les Contes d’Hoffmann by Jacques Offenbach – performances at the Opera Bastille on September 19, 22, 25 & 28 and October 1 & 3. Reserve your tickets on the Opera’s website.