Tag Archives: Out and About

First Love

There are times when I feel the universe is looking out for me.  While I had planned to go the lingerie show in Paris with my friend, to lend my eye and my ear for her buying trip, my design friends began to message, “Hey! I’m going for Maison & Objet and Deco Off.  Let’s meet up!”

Both trade shows, for furniture and fabric, run concurrently in Paris in January.  So while we were there, men’s fashion week was ending, the lingerie show was beginning, Maison & Objet and Deco Off were in full swing, and women’s fashion was getting ready to begin.  “How was the weather?” a lot of people have asked me.  I barely noticed the weather.

We stayed in a tiny, charming hotel in Saint-Germain staffed by a lovely gentleman named Bruno, who was indulgent of our late night arrivals (which required the ringing of a bell to rouse him) and our charger issues and our constant need for directions.

My friend and I chose the hotel together after about a minute and a half of consultation at her desk.  Cosmic forces, which I think are quite powerful, plopped us right down in the midst of the fabric showrooms.  Truly, I couldn’t have been happier.

During the day there were clipboards and meetings, people taking pictures and taking notes.

But many of the showrooms were open in the evenings, and while people rubbed their thumbs back and forth across the cloth gauging the hand of a fabric tossed or hung, they drank and laughed and felt the energy of being in a small room with a lot of people who understood the business of beauty.

Looking at fabric was not what I had gone to Paris to do. Even after I became aware of the show, I had not planned to go to the showrooms.  But there they were, right there in my path.  They called to me, a siren’s song of color and pattern and texture.

While in a significantly more charming location, the showrooms there were really no different than the ones I’ve visited here or in New York or Los Angeles or High Point. But they reawaken in me a love for the art of design.

The images, top, are of the lights strung across the streets made of fabrics from the new collections of the showrooms in Saint-Germain. The top three images I’m sure are are from Hermes; the remaining are Dedar. Do correct me if I’m wrong.

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Hello, Stranger

“Can you just hit the ground running?” a friend asked about my trip to Paris. 
“Yes.  Of course.” Running being the operative word as I do want to get there, as fast as I can, to see. 

I went with a friend and we shared the philosophy of gobbling it up and sleeping when we returned home, though we did not know this until the first late night. We both worked while we were there. We tagged along with one another to offer perspective and support and loads of laughter. We are familiar with each other’s worlds. While I work in design and she in lingerie, we both understand quality and detail, novelty and trend. An outside and un-jaded view, when it comes from someone smart, is often a good perspective.
She wordlessly tolerated my needing to snap pictures of the details of the city.  Lions have long been a favorite, but I have found myself drawn to snakes lately.  Once you become aware of something, you tend to find them all about you.

It was different to be in Paris this time.  It was the first time I was there without either one of my parents or one of my children.  Also, as I was there three years ago and again last July, it has become a bit familiar.  While I like this, I noticed that with the loss of some of the anxiety of the unknown, a bit of the excitement dissipated, too.  It did not make me love the city less, but our relationship has changed.

In addition, I had friends from the states who were also there.  It was a bit surreal for me to make plans in Paris with people whom I know from New York.  My world is bigger and smaller at the same time. And, frankly, better, not only because I had Blanquette de Veau for the first time, though it was a meal I will never forget.

 We stayed in Saint Germain, so I was able to visit several of the showrooms participating in Deco Off and will post about some of the new fabric offerings this week.

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Meanwhile, Back in France

My friends and I stayed at a very charming apartment while we were in Paris.  Our boys stayed together with their beloved former French teacher and we were all content.  (Well, except, perhaps, for the French teacher, but she never let us know otherwise and let’s just say that ignorance is bliss.)

My suite mates and I were a happy lot and we fell in easily together.  They took pictures of the boys in front of significant sights and were quite patient with me as I snapped pictures of things like the doors to our building that were very nearly Dix Blue, which I found to be a delight every time I crossed their high threshold.

Or when I took pictures of chairs. (Who wouldn’t want that chair? I do.)

 Or details that I might want to recreate at Christmas.

Or how I might ventilate my country/beach house (that I will likely never have.)

They were patient with my snapping away at Versailles, but they were not always understanding of it.  One friend said, “I am glad I came, but I don’t know why anyone would do this twice.”  Because I was.  Doing it for the second time.  It was the crowds that she could not stand, while they were a necessary evil to me.  “This is sort of what I do,”I told her as I took a picture of another floor. She nodded pleasantly.

But she, an avid gardener, nodded her head again when I said the same to her about Giverny.  Good heavens. The crowds there, which I’m sure were not dissimilar to Versailles, were a moving, amorphous mass that enveloped me at every turn.  Nothing seemed worth subjecting oneself to it.  That it all ended in a Disneyesque gift shop made it worse.  My friends did not think it was nearly as bad.  A necessary evil.

The gardens at Rodin’s home in Paris were much more my speed.  Then again, hornbeams, boxwood, hydrangea.  I wasn’t exactly broadening my horizons.

This last image I took for my friend, Todd.  He knows that I feel more relaxed in France.  More myself.  It releases me from an inbred uptightness.  When I told Todd that I was taking Rosie to sit outside with me at Aixois here in town years ago, I said, “It’s like France.  It’s fine.” Fine as in alright.  But also fine as in splendid.

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Chalk it Up

I was in Paris for eight days earlier this summer with my, as it turns out, not-maladjusted middle child.  (I had worried about the warnings of “middle children”when I became pregnant with the third.  They were all unfounded.  The middle may be the best adjusted of the three. Perhaps of all of us.)

I took the same trip with my oldest three years ago when he was the same age his brother is now, and guess what?  It was not the same.  Because the boys are not the same (and, perhaps, I am not the same.) It always makes me wonder when someone notes how different my boys are if that person is similar to his siblings.  We’re none of us clones, so far anyway, and isn’t that what keeps family life so, well, lively?

It might have been the light, but after being in Paris for less than a day I was convinced that my living room walls are the wrong white all the way around, and cannot imagine that I made such a tragic mistake.  Still, I have not picked up a paintbrush since I painted over the yellow swatches in the dining room. It’s difficult to paint while writing or herding children or reading books on the porch, so the walls must wait.

As I sorted pictures on my return, I could see that they could be grouped into categories.  This had not been my intent. “Take pictures of chalky white things, anything having to do with being a Leo and architectural elements for a house you will very likely never build,” was not on the list of “what to do” on this trip.  Though I knew myself well enough to know that I would take pictures of floors.  And I did.
I learned a lot about myself on this trip. I thought a great deal about how I want to live and where and why.

But if my plans are clearer, and bigger, I came home knowing first things first.  This mirror will have a chalky finish just as soon as I can get these boys back to school.

Images from top, Carlo Bugatti, Rembrandt Bugatti, both at Musee d’Orsay, the remaining from the Rodin Museum. Oh, except the last, which is obviously my dining room.

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Long Time No See

Oh my goodness!  Hello! How are you?  It’s been forever.
Heavens, not all that busy really – I couldn’t even tell you what I’ve been doing. Running boys here and there, I suppose.
How ’bout you?  You look fantastic!
Hey, I did go in a pretty great shop on the Westside last weekend.  Yeah, just down from Westside Local.  Utilitarian Workshop.  All locally made.  Really cool.

 I stopped in because KC Co., that leather company that I have such a humongous crush on, has product there.  I totally think that “dop kit” would be a terrific clutch.

You should go.  They’re open weekends, but you can find them on-line too.  We do need to catch up!  I’ll give you a call soon – swear!

Oh, my, but I have been distracted.  Should be back on a regular-ish basis.  Do hope you enjoyed your summer.

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