Jahnvi Dameron Nandan hits the first summer sales in Paris since the credit crunch and triumphantly brandishes her new Chloé slip-ons at 50 per cent off – and much much more
In fashionista speak there are four seasons in Paris – S/S, A/W and the sales – summer and winter. And as this is the first summer sale ever since we have all been vanquished and credit crunched – I grab the leftovers of my cheque book, convince a mutinous husband and head to Paris during the first weekend of the sales to check out the temperature. At least one pair of Chloé shoes…is all I can think. All trains, roads and low-cost carriers seemed to be headed there too.
On Google Earth, Paris looked like a giant fairground. Bright red banners everywhere from the Metro to magazines welcomed us sales-season, now-on-a-budget tourists. A certain spring in the step of every fashionista meant that we could all get our hands on something extraordinary without clawing through competitive shopaholics.
After a weekend of legwork around the city, I saw that Everything was on sale, everything I wanted anyway, everything (but of course at the venerable Colette). So here are my picks.
They stick to what they know best – the essential white shirt and only for women. With the most flattering feminine cut, cinched waist decorated with ruffles, rosettes, epaulettes, or big collars, the shirts are perfectly suited for absolutely any occasion from dawn to dusk. As the collection is ageless, I make a pilgrimage every year to her store. The ones with more character fit like corsets and have plunging necklines. While the white shirt is still her forte, Anne is also adept with black ones and knit ones. Her basics innerwear with spaghetti straps or plain scoop neck sleeveless tees are perfect to go under a jacket or shirt, their hourglass cut means that they don’t annoyingly scrunch up around the tummy. While in many other countries not everything goes on sale, in Paris prices get slashed by half on everything including the basics. Recession shopping at its best.
(81, Rue des Saints-Pères, 75003 Paris
Ph: +33 1 45 48 89 10.)
A must for the wardrobe of every spirited girl in town and summer sales see price tags down by 50 per cent. This is a must for all those who love their statuesque clothes, embroidered kaftans, skirts, gypsy tops and party bags that whisk you away on a luxury trip not just to India but Mexico, Morocco and far away shores. There is a lot for fashionista kids too but if Boho clothes are not your thing, stick to their log- free beaded bags and pretty clutches. I much prefer their winter sales though, after all a knit kurta makes a bigger statement than a cotton tie-dye one.
(8, Rue Foin 75003 Paris
Ph: +33 1 42 72 32 20.)
Trends come and trends go but Colette is a trend constant. It would be nice if they would step down the pedestal and write their prices in red ink seasonally. This time as I entered, I was immediately consumed by a heady smell from just about every noteworthy brand of candles, on sale here. My favourites are from Ladurée and are inspired from their macaroons and Monocle magazine’s Hinoki, which is the best of Japan in a candle. During this visit I quit the second floor of statement clothes to focus on lifestyle articles (I love stationery) on the ground floor. Here are my favourite picks: Archie Grand’s notebook series titled ‘Gallerists I met and liked’ to ‘Republicans I met and liked’ and everything in between. I also loved the ‘I Love this’ post-its, Maison Martin Margiela’s masque sunglasses and the special edition Ray Ban Wayfarers. But the must-haves are the Karl WHO cotton bags and tees from designer Naco Paris, that those in the know are queuing up for after Karl Lagerfeld was seen sporting them.
(213, Rue Saint-Honoré 75001 Paris
Ph: +33 1 55 35 33 90.)
This haven of all the good things in life slashes prices even on such brands as Gucci and Prada. The clothes section for both men and women is well-stocked during the sales season but it’s the shoes that are what I am after. Can you imagine Aläia, Gucci, Chanel, Repetto, Ras and Marc Jacobs shoes, all at prices that allow you to take home as many as you want? I’m stuck up on shoes but the menswear, lingerie and homeware section is a must visit too. Le Bon Marché during the sales season is distinguished and satisfying. When tired don’t forget to grab a milk shake at the milk bar in what is undoubtedly one of the most stylish groceries in the world, next door. (I am writing this wearing a grey and pink pair of exquisite Chloé slip-ons – discounted, de-taxed and superlatively comfortable!)
(24, Rue Sèvres, Paris
Ph: +33 1 42 22 81 60.)
There is an instant je ne sais quoi starry quality about Benoit Jamin and Isabelle Puech’s bags. Great patches of leather and raffia in a heady mosaic of colourful silks, beads, threads, silver and metal embellishments go into making these one of a kind creations that come in clutches, totes and hold-alls. This is a great freedom from trends, seasons and big logos. And this year I am really looking forward to experimenting further with their necklaces that have presence like none other, beaded creations with little birds, balls and decorations sewn on at regular intervals. Prices are slashed by half during the summer and as everything is handmade and one of a kind I couldn’t resist a gorgeous electric blue beaded number.
(68 Rue Vieille du Temple 75003 Paris)
Undoubtedly the best ballet shoes in the world, and for those who don’t know their pirouettes from their pas de deux, Repetto also makes the most coveted ballerina shoes for men and women in an unbelievable number of colours and models. While classic flats remain a bestseller, they do nice lace-ups for men and heeled boots and sandals for women. They are all made in the softest of leathers and stitching in their ballet technique means that each one is superbly comfortable and perfect for walking miles.
(22 Rue de la Paix 75001 Paris
Ph: +33 1 44 71 83 12.)
Zadig et Voltaire
They do their whole collection in black, white, grey, beige and khaki, yet somehow succeed in giving a vision of sunny holidays, cobbled streets, vistas and casual comfort. The look is not sharp, but a casual, refined combination of relaxed shapes for both men and women with jeans, jackets, shirts and sweaters – think a summer day in Amalfi or a cruise to Portofino. During the sales all the old stock makes it to the hangers so you might have to really rummage, but hey, at those prices no one complains.
(1, Rue du Vieux Colombier, 75003 Paris
Ph +33 1 43 29 18 29.)
Paris summer sales are a double whammy for fashion lovers, they get to visit the city at its mercurial best and check things off their lust list, and attend all the wonderful summer exhibitions at the city’s museums. While the locals are away the tourists shall play. My favourite hotspot is the Georges Pompidou museum for a lazy summer afternoon – wifi, air conditioning, a fantastic bookstore and a great exhibition, like this summer it is elles@centrepompidou – a show of exceptional women artists that include Frida Kahlo and Sonia Delaunay on until May 24, 2010.
Jahnvi Dameron Nandan is the author of Tokyo Style File. A self-confessed
travelista with the budget issues of a fashionista, she is now working
on her new book on design.
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