5 vintage finds I had to bring back with me from Paris
Shopping resale and vintage is my favorite kind of treasure hunt when I am in Paris. I can find new items that were never released in the US, or pieces that have been well loved that easily fit into my style. One of my favorite shops for resale of high-end designer brands is a tiny boutique off of a main street in the Marais. Nestled between boutiques offering cheery contemporary clothing, quintessential parisian cafes, and a pragmatic pharmacy is the shop I love best when I am in Paris. Of course being greeted by my personal sales associate with a warm and welcoming “bise” never hurts – and if there are other browsers in the shop they often wonder who is this VIP client! Sylvie, my personal shopper always has items set aside for me when she knows I am in town and almost all of the time I am making room in my suitcase for her finds. She knows my style so well she can pull pieces for me that she knows will fit and have the level of Parisian Chic sophistication I am craving.
One of the first items I found with Sylvie’s help is a Chanel cuff bracelet. She handed it to me with the greatest of care, saying that it was from the couture collection, custom made for a client of the Chanel boutique in Paris. The piece is heavy – you know you have it on your wrist – but it is so unique and always catches the eye of anyone I know who appreciates a classic Chanel. It is black with three decorative attachments reminiscent of the Byzentine Chanel brooch. My favorite part about the bracelet is the inside. Not often seen by everyone, it is lined in a silk fabric quilted in the classic Chanel tradition. Something I think Coco Chanel would approve of for herself. I have seen her original cuffs by the jewelry house Verdura made custom for her and my piece is similar without being an exact replica. It is a treasure that I will be sure to keep forever and remember that day I found it in Paris!
Sylvie put me in a Dior double breasted coat dress with a half peplum and I knew it would be mine. I love any classic Dior piece and this one came from one of Maria Grazia Churi’s first RTW collections for Dior. She had scoured the archives of the house for inspiration for this runway show. The navy wool is not always conducive to the Atlanta heat, but because it buttons all the way I can wear it as a vest, creating the third piece of an ensemble, or as a sleeveless dress with equal style and ease.
Celene is another iconic french fashion house I look for when I am in Paris. Sylvie’s shop had an exquisite jacket from a recent collection that I had to think about but eventually had to have. The hooded jacket is constructed with a brown brocade fabric, shot with threads of gold for texture. It has a Russian style to it with the frog closures and bit of fur at the cuffs for trim. Worn with jeans, a skirt, or thrown over my shoulders in a sleeveless evening dress, this piece is a classic and will never go out of style.
Azzedine Aliia is famous for his little black dresses and Sylvie had quite a selection the last time I was in the shop. The simple sleeveless knit with A-line skirt is a classic that can be accessorized with boots and a scarf in cooler temperatures, and sandals with chic earrings when it is warmer. I can wear it often with a white shirt tucked underneath in the fashion of “cool girl” going to work in Paris – always accented with a red lip and strong eye liner!
Finally, every time I visit Paris I like to bring home an Hermes scarf. There are so many uses to these small bits of silk and they never lose their desirability. I have several in my house professionally framed to accent my room decor. I also have a drawer full of the candy-like colors that I pull from when I want to accent a simple ensemble with something uniquely french. Each of the pieces from my collection remind me of my visits to Paris with great friends. I can look at each one and remember exactly where I bought it and who I was with. Often I will buy the scarf from Sylvie’s shop because she has such a lovely display. On a round rack, each scarf is hung individually and organized by color. I can pre-select which one I will choose by noting colors missing from my collection. Oftentimes the scarf will have the faintest scent of a lovely perfume, the previous owner’s choice of a distinctive scent. Who knows where this scarf has travelled before it came into my hands? No doubt I will cherish it forever and wear it with fond memories of my day at my favorite boutique.
Searching for the right piece that will remind you of Paris is a specialty of mine. Helping to find HiddenGems for others is my passion, but when I find something for myself I am always thrilled – It’s easy when you know where to look.