Post-Confinement Berlin

Yesterday I went to my dear Berlin for the first time since the pandemy started in March, and I must say that the post-confinement crisis is real here. It was sad to see that some of my favourite restaurants and shops have completely closed down, and in general the city is quite sleepy. Hopefully good times will come back as soon as possible… Here’s a recap of my all-time Berlin places, as well as some new discoveries. Just remember to take your face ask. If you’re planning to visit the German capital anytime soon, make sure to look at my address book here for more great spots!

König Galerie

This gallery was founded by Johann König in 2002, and currently represents 40 international emerging and established artists, mostly belonging to a younger generation. The program’s focus is on interdisciplinary, concept-oriented and space-based approaches in a variety of media including sculpture, video, sound, painting, printmaking, photography and performance. In May 2015, König Galerie took up St. Agnes, a monumental former church built in the 1960s in the Brutalist style, where museum-like exhibitions take place in two different spaces, the former chapel and nave. Until the 26th of June, “Messe in St. Agnes” exhibition is happening here: over 100 works by artists such as Elmgreen & Dragset, Alicja Kwade, Andy Warhol, Juergen Teller, Isa Genzken,  Eliza Douglas, Alex Katz and Katharina Grosse are exhibited and sold at the gallery.

Alexandrinestraße 118–121
Andreas Murkudis
Nothing compares to brick-and-mortar, especially after living the confinement life for the last few months. Andreas Murkudis is probably my favourite store in the world, and I hope places like this will survive the hard times. Get your Dries Van Noten, Cecilie Bahnsen, The Row, Loewe and Issey Miyake right here, just like niche perfume labels and gorgeous porcelain.
Potsdammerstraße 81E
Tschoban Foundation

What is still drawn today? Which architects continue to master the art of hand drawing? What place has the skilled use of pen and ink in an age of computer aided design? In the 21st century, virtually no architect seeks to persuade clients of their capacities as a designer by means of sketches or perspective views. In architectural education today, there is also less emphasis on learning the craft of drawing although the ability to convey ideas through drawing by hand remains essential in developing form and proportion. It is at this point that the Tchoban Foundation intervenes. Established in 2009 by Sergei Tchoban, himself a passionate draftsman and collector of historic architectural drawings, its extensive collection serves as a source for research on the history and nature of architectural drawing. An extensive library on the subject is accessible to experts and visitors. The overall aim of the foundation, however, is to present the imaginative and emotionally-charged world of architectural drawing to a broad public through regular exhibitions.

Christinenstraße 18a

MDC Cosmetic

MDC Cosmetic offers a range of exclusive, international cosmetics, supplies and accessories for a home spa and nutritional supplements. From Santa Maria Novella 1612 perfumes and Susanne Kaufmann bath salts to Astier de Villatte candles and Rahua cosmetics, this adorable, cozy space got you covered with all the ‘treat yourself’ kind of products. Cosmetic advice and treatments are available on request.

Knaackstraße 26

The Store x Soho House Berlin

A classic. From Bottega Veneta and vintage Irving Penn books to Balenciaga and avocado toast, this place has it all.

Torstraße 1

And for the end… flowers! I love walking around Berlin, because it’s so full of nature, wherever you go.

Loewe x Paula’s Ibiza in New Dehli

Here it is – Loewe‘s collection that traditionally wins the summer capsule competition of sunny, lounge-y resortwear. Jonathan Anderson continues his rhapsodic celebration of holiday wardrobe with a collaboration designed in partnership with legendary Balearic boutique Paula’s Ibiza. Of course, any summer vacation might be impossible for most of us this year due to the lockdown and financial struggles, but who said we can’t dream a bit and get inspired? This time around, the collection has evolved from a capsule into a fully-fledged men’s and womenswear offering, finished off with accessories including bucket bags, hats, a fragrance and, of course, those immediately recognisable technicolour sunglasses that have become one of the Spanish label’s signatures. “Ibiza has always been very dear and personal to me: it’s my deepest tie with Spain, harking back to childhood and adolescent memories,” Anderson explains. “I’ve always said that Paula’s Ibiza embodies the spirit of letting go. This collection of ecstatic abandon is part rave, part cyberdog, in acidic neons, faded olive greens, and sunrise orange.”. Back to capture the spirit of the collection once again was the extremely talented 19-year-old Gray Sorrenti, who photographed its vibrant pieces on a cast of models, dancers, stunt artists, and performers on the streets of New Delhi – the Paula’s Ibiza collection are about voyage, never about one place – before much of the world locked down. Now, the joyful, almost euphoric images offer a moment of escape: “As a positive and energising message, I believe it’s very apt for now,” concludes Anderson. Note: 40 Euros from each piece sold will be donated to educational projects supporting socially vulnerable children, following an initial gift of 500,000 Euros.

Look-book photos by Gray Sorrenti.

Places to Visit in Paris

Although Paris is known to be a city steeped in tradition, it is also a city generating an exciting list of shops and boutiques that sell the most gorgeous and unique selections of designers, furniture, food, flowers and pretty much anything you can imagine. Each arrondissment has its own distinct quirk and charm – so do the places that are situated all over them. Here are twelve places – some are new, some are already well-known – that I enjoyed and decided to write about in one big post. Of course, those aren’t the only ones – I’ve already mentioned some other fantastic places separately. To go back to them, just scroll a bit down on the homepage or click the “Paris” tab below this post. Now, follow me!

Ogata

Star designer-restaurateur Shinichiro Ogata, who has already been praised for his spots in Tokyo, has Paris abuzz at this hôtel particulier in the center of the Marais neighborhood. Ogata is an immense lifestyle temple meticulously styled with an insane atrium (walls whitewashed with shikkui plaster, doors decorated in copper), a boutique space (ceramics, pastries, infusions… everything’s on the right place!), a serene sabō on the ground floor (for tea ceremony – the place offers a diverse variety of tea rigorously selected according to the season: hōjicha, sencha, rare teas and seasonal infusions), a secret bar upstairs, plus a gourmet Japanese cuisine restaurant with plenty of wood and concrete details. This place is a must-visit.

16 rue Debelleyme

Comme Des Garçons & Trading Museum

Set off the Rue du Faubourg St-Honore, Comme Des Garçons’ design experience of the store begins in the courtyard through which it is reached, where glossy red panels line the windows, obscuring the view in and imposing red doors glide silently open as the customer approaches. Immediately facing is a long counter and opposite that a glossy red fibreglass skin flows the length of the shop, covering everything in its path – walls, ceiling, doors, lighting, horizontal and vertical planes – the alien wave. The fantastical red corridor leads to a brilliant white ante-chamber with a polished concrete floor where the retail is housed. Within this sanctuary-like space, garments by Rei Kawakubo, Junya Watanabe and Kei Ninomiya hang from metal rails suspended from the ceiling and folded t-shirts sit on extruded rubber benches, presented to the customer like objects in a museum. On the other side of the courtyard you’ve got Trading Museum, CDG’s selection of labels like Simone Rocha or Molly Goddard.

54 Rue du Faubourg St-Honoré

R&Y Augousti

Ria and Youri Augousti’s flagship store in Paris was discovered by the designers back in 1997. Originally an old majestic bank, the couple fell in love with the space and iconic location. They decided that this would be the perfect space for their brand and their instincts were not wrong. Their artistic backgrounds brought them together as innovators in their field by reviving the artisanal techniques of shagreen and other exotic materials that were predominant in the Art Deco period of the 1930s. Through their mix of vintage and contemporary design, their furniture and home accessories brand were met with worldwide praise. From this they began to work closely with international interior designers, architects and celebrities to create custom pieces for their homes and projects all within keeping to the Augousti universe. Together with their designs, they as well present Patrick Coard and Kifu Paris’ works. Currently, the store carries Olivier Theyskens, the acclaimed fashion designer and recently appointed creative director at Azzaro. A longtime family friend of the Augousti House, their mutual love and appreciation for artisan craftmanship, textures, and innovative designs sparked a natural collaboration between the two brands.

103 Rue du Bac

The Broken Arm

Since Colette closed its doors a few years ago, The Broken Arm has the most unique and intriguing designer assortment in town. Here you will find S.R. STUDIO. LA. CA. by Sterling Ruby (the bag pictures above is still in my dreams!) as well as an off-beat selection of Maison Margiela, Jacquemus, Raf Simons and Prada. The staff is super friendly her and when you’re here, you feel it’s the cult fashion place of the Marais district. Next to the shop you’ve got The Broken Arm’s café that serves home-made sweets and quick lunches.

12 Rue Perrée

Lemaire

My kind of mecca. I visit Lemaire’s flagship store every single time when I’m in Paris and I’m always amazed by its heart-warming aura, great soundtrack playing and of course the designs by my favourite Christopher Lemaire and Sarah Linh Tran. The store often carries exclusive pieces that you won’t find anywhere else!

28 Rue de Poitou

Aoyama Flower Market

Aoyama Flower Market is a florist brand established in 1989, in the Aoyama area of Tokyo. The brand has never ceased to offer a lifestyle that promotes well being, accompanied by flowers and greenery. In 2015 they opened their Paris location, which is in the heart of the Left Bank and just a few steps from Le Bon Marche. Haven’t seen such beautiful bouquet compositions for a while.

96 Rue du Bac

Byredo

Situated on Rue St.-Honoré, just a few doors away from Colette’s former location, Byredo’s boutique occupies the ground and second floors of a 1990s building. Here, creative director Ben Gorham has opted for a refreshingly different aesthetic for his French outpost. The backdrop is raw, thanks to the pairing of an exposed ceiling and walls with plentiful of wall scribblings created by M/M (Paris), a Paris-based design agency with which Gorham collaborates on all brand visuals. Further boosting the artsy vibe are the agency’s large-sized posters of Sarah Morris‘ films, wall-mounted in plexiglass frames. Here you will find the entire Byredo fragrance and beauty line, as well as a selection of their bags, leather accessories and blankets.

199 rue St.-Honoré

The Frankie Shop

To be honest, I’m a bit on fence with this place, but I guess it’s worth a mention. After having conquered New-York, it’s in Paris’ Marais district that The Frankie Shop has set down its globe-trotter luggage filled with brands from all over the world. The mantra of this boutique is spotting international, affordable and instantly Instagrammable designer brands: Rodebjer, Nanushka, By Far… there’s also an entire collection featuring the store’s name-sake brand, which is basically the wardrobe of every social media fashionista. Parisians seem to love it, as the place is also super crowdy.

14 Rue Saint Claude

Paco Rabanne

Paco Rabanne is growing under the wings of Julien Dossena, so it’s no surprise it’s opening first stores in Paris. The new location – opened just a month ago – is hidden in the same court yard as the above mentioned Comme Des Garçons. The 1960s-inspired interior perfectly matches Rabanne’s signature chain-mail dresses, floral skirts and metallic accessories.

54 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré

Kamel Mennour

Since 1999, Kamel Mennour presents in his three Parisian galleries (47 rue Saint-André des Arts, 6 rue du Pont de Lodi and 28 Avenue Matignon) the works of 40 contemporary artists who are internationally recognized. Through the publication of catalogues, exhibitions, biennales and fairs all over the world, Mennour presents, supports and defends the work of artists such as Mohamed Bourouissa, Daniel Buren, Petrit Halilaj, Camille Henrot, Huang Yong Ping, Anish Kapoor, Tadashi Kawamata, Bertrand Lavier, Lee Ufan, Claude Lévêque, François Morellet, Neïl Beloufa, Martial Raysse, Ugo Rondinone and Tatiana Trouvé. Always worth a visit, because you never know what you will discover. Martial Raysse’s “Les Statues!” exhibition that ended back in March was a beautiful experience.

Tom Greyhound

Tom Greyhound’s carefully curated selection of designers – think J.W. Anderson, Dries Van Noten, Jil Sander – blends in perfectly within its sophisticated and elegant décor. At their store, the client doesn’t simply go from rack to rack – they are called to discover refined themes of apparel and accessories, which all stand out. As the concept store describes itself, it is “entirely dedicated to a multicultural and contemporary approach to fashion.”

19 Rue de Saintonge

Caractère de Cochon

The shelves are lined with canned goods and condiments, while all kinds of cured meats fill the fridges, which you can take to go or have made into the best sandwich in Paris. Some of the cured hams include a Mangalitza from Hungary, Tuscan peppered ham, Iberico de Campo, and the baked ones include a parslied Bourgogne, a ham from the Vosges smoked over hay, one from Provence with rosemary, and one exception: la babilla, a center-cut of beef ham Other recommendations: the Catalan fuet and the liver terrine.

42 rue Charlot

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Wrote about many other places in Paris- 0fr., Astier De Villate, Galerie Perrotin, Saint Laurent Rive Droite – earlier. To re-see those posts, click here. For some restaurant recommendations, see this. Also, my page “Places” got heavily updated with all the addresses I love… and not only in Paris!

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All photos by Edward Kanarecki.

(P.S. If you are inspired by my Parisian coverage, I’m really happy about, but please have in mind that now isn’t a safe time for any sorts of travelling. Stay at home!)

0fr. Paris

The phrase, “Beautiful books and ideas,” painted on 0fr.‘s storefront windows pretty much describes the overall spirit of this cult bookstore-and-gallery. Siblings Alexandre and Marie Thumerelle opened their shop in 1995, offering an ample stock of books and magazines on art, architecture, photography, fashion and music. It has since become a well-loved fixture in the Marais district, attracting a mix of local artists, designers, creative types and mad magazine pilgrims like me. It’s a tight squeeze between the books stacked on the floor and the overflowing shelves, but its eclectic collection is irresistible to any bibliophile and art-lover. An afternoon can easily be spent flipping through vintage or newly-issued magazines, rummaging through a trunk filled with postcards or hunting down a limited edition art print to hang on your wall. A door at the back of the shop leads to the gallery, a space dedicated to weekly exhibits, performances and events, as well as a corner with selection of hand-dyed jackets (which 0fr.’s latest fashion venture).

20 Rue Dupetit-Thouars

Photos by Edward Kanarecki.

(P.S. If you are inspired by my Parisian coverage, I’m really happy about, but please have in mind that now isn’t a safe time for any sorts of travelling. Stay at home!)

Jardin du Palais Royal

The Jardin du Palais Royal is a perfect spot to sit, relax and picnic between boxed hedges, or to shop in the trio of beautiful arcades that frame the garden: the Galerie de Valois, Galerie de Montpensier and Galerie Beaujolais. However, it’s the southern end of the complex, polka-dotted with sculptor Daniel Buren’s 260 black-and-white striped columns, that has become the garden’s signature feature. This chic urban space is fronted by the neoclassical Palais Royal, constructed in 1633 by Cardinal Richelieu. The Galerie de Valois is the most upmarket arcade, with designer boutiques like Rick Owens, Stella McCartney and Pierre Hardy. Across the garden, in the Galerie de Montpensier, the Revolution broke out on a warm mid-July day, just three years after the galleries opened, in the Café du Foy. The third arcade is crossed by Passage du Perron, a passageway above which the writer Colette lived out the last dozen years of her life. Here are the four “secret” spots that I loved the most in this intimate, quite underrated place in Paris.

Rick Owens

Of course. Owens’ flagship store is two floors of dark fantasy. From the wax sculpture of the designer himself and raw furniture created by his life-partner, Michele Lamy, to the wearable disco-ball dresses (see the above photo) and the staff dressed head-to-toes in Rick, you just don’t want to leave this place (and you really, really want to belong to this universe!).

130-133 Galerie de Valois

Didier Ludot

This place has been on my list of places to visit since I discovered it in Hamish Bowles’ video guide around the best Parisian vintage stores. Ludot’s namesake shop at the Palais Royal gardens is the go-to destination for museum-quality vintage haute couture – it’s where Reese Witherspoon’s stylist found the 1950 Christian Dior duchess satin gown embroidered with rose garlands that the actress wore when she won the Best Actress Oscar in 2006. Designers often make appointments here to browse through the archives. Vintage Schiaparelli, Prada, Madame Grès, Lanvin, Christian Lacroix, Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent… this place is intense. No photos policy!

24 Galerie de Valois

Olympia Le-Tan

The cult, hand-made book-clutches created by Olympia Le-Tan (the designer is no longer behind the brand) feels like an enchanted apartment, which happens to front the Palais Royal. From Mondrian and Van Gogh motifs to covers of Agatha Christie criminals and vintage Paris guides, find the clutch you love the most (and eventually keep it on your bookshelf).

Passage des Deux Pavillons

Augustinus Bader

Developed by a world-leading expert in stem cell research, Professor Augustinus Bader has spent thirty years unlocking the body’s innate processes to self-heal. The result? Game-changing skin care that uses a unique, patented Trigger Factor Complex – TFC8 – to help visibly reduce the signs of ageing and damage caused by environmental stressors, and leave skin looking restored, regenerated and glowing. The beautiful store – which looks more like a fancy salon than a regular cosmetics store – also happens to sell Victoria Beckham’s beauty line that isn’t available pretty much anywhere else in Europe.

84 Galerie de Beaujolais

All photos by Edward Kanarecki.

(P.S. If you are inspired by my Parisian coverage, I’m really happy about, but please have in mind that now isn’t a safe time for any sorts of travelling. Stay at home!)

Fondation Louis Vuitton

I finally had the time to visit Fondation Louis Vuitton during my recent stay in Paris. Surrounded by the greenery of Bois de Boulogne, this place really does stun with its view. At the beginning of March, no particular art exhibition was taking place here – just the sole experience of Frank Gehry’s architecture. Bathed in natural daylight from the skylight, the exhibition “An Architectural Journey” was like a walk inside of a living organism. Prepared in collaboration with Frank Gehry’s teams in Los Angeles, the exhibition proposed an open itinerary for visitors. Like the building itself, which offers multiple possible paths, you could easily get lost in all the wings and sails of the construction – but somehow, this was a kind of pleasure to explore it without a plan. The visual experience offered a vision of the building’s striking beauty, as well as its technological complexity. Definitely worth a visit, even though getting there takes a while.

8 Avenue du Mahatma Gandhi

All photos by Edward Kanarecki.

(P.S. If you are inspired by my Parisian coverage, I’m really happy about, but please have in mind that now isn’t a safe time for any sorts of travelling. Stay at home!)

Musée Rodin

The calmness and beauty of Musée Rodin instantly made it one of my favourite places in Paris. The historical link between the collection and the Hôtel Biron where it’s located is the essence of the museum’s soul. Visitors will find many pieces created by the sculptor that have never been shown before in a display that affords a more comprehensive, coherent and accessible view of Auguste Rodin’s production. After a chronological presentation on the ground floor (including a room with a reproduction of the Hôtel Biron as it was in Rodin’s day), the first floor explores the aesthetic and historic dimensions (the Symbolist room, the Pavillon de l’Alma in 1900) and the creative process (Assemblage, Fragmentation, Enlargement) of the artist. One of the oval rooms, designed in the spirit of a cabinet de curiosités, presents Rodin’s sculptural practice alongside his activity as a passionate collector of antiquities. Although it was raining non-stop for a week, we were lucky with the weather the moment we went outside to the museum’s garden. Stretching over three hectares, the grounds are divided into a rose garden and a large ornamental garden, while a terrace and hornbeam hedge backing onto a trellis conceal a relaxation area. The glassed pavillon presents more Rodin goodness, this time in the context of nature. Some sculptures are unfinished, while others bear traces of the non-finito technique of which Rodin was so fond. For all the Rodin – and sculpture in general – lovers, this place is a must-see!

All photos by Edward Kanarecki.

(P.S. If you are inspired by my Parisian coverage, I’m really happy about, but please have in mind that now isn’t a safe time for any sorts of travelling. Stay at home!)

Where To Eat in Paris

While now isn’t the moment to dine out (and restaurants are closed nearly everywhere for safety reasons), we can all look forward to our post-confinement lunches and brunches (at some point) in the future. Here are six spots, old and new, I enjoyed the most during my last stay in Paris.

Carbón

Located in the heart of Le Marais distict, Carbón is an ode to nature, a place where the most ancestral cooking technique in the world, fire, encounters the products of land and sea in their extreme nudity. The regularly-changing menu will surprise you with such offerings as oysers infused in coffee or different sorts of ceviche. Its contemporary decor provides a stylish backdrop whether you’re with friends (the sharing plates are perfect for a relaxed dinner) or looking for a more romantic spot. There’s also a great “secret” speakeasy bar, La Mina, hidden away downstairs serving up delicious craft cocktails.

14 Rue Charlot

Le Moulin De La Vierge

You could easily assume that Le Moulin de la Vierge is simply a typical neighbourhood bakery in the sleepy 15th district, however it’s much, much more. The owner is dedicated to preserving the art nouveau architecture of each of his close-to-each-other patisserie stores. The décor is reminiscent of a 19th century Parisian boutique the pastries are so, so delicious (especially chocolate croissants). You might also be tempted to taste one of the numerous pastries like the exquisite éclairs or the mouth-watering tarts. Mille-feuille lovers will also find happiness.

10 Place des Petits Pères

La Belle Epoque

This upscale and mundane dining room that seems to have existed since forever has imposed itself as “the” must-go hangout for the chic, Parisian crowd. A wired atmosphere, a super discrete decor with an elegant 19th century tiling… here is the ideal place to show up with friends and nibble on trendy vintage dishes (leek in vinaigrette sauce, veal chops, ceviche and French style burgers, for a good example).

36 Rue des Petits Champs

Mara by Caché

Charming dining spot in Le Marais that celebrates contemporary Mediterranean cuisine. The sharing menu has a lovely selection of raw fish (seriole carpaccio served in mango sauce, sea bream ceviche with citrus fruits…), shellfish and crustaceans, but also gourmet desserts (including rousquille, a Catalan dessert served with nougat ice cream and chocolate sauce ). All accompanied by a superb selection of niche, natural wines.

27 Rue de Saintonge

Oursin

If you’re missing the sun and the sea, head to the second floor of Galeries Lafayette Champs-Elysées, where Simon Porte Jacquemus has opened Oursin in collaboration with Caviar Kaspia. After Citron, his sunny café located just a floor below, the darling of the fashion world continues telling Provençal stories in an atmosphere that’s dripping with la dolce vita: whitewashed walls, ecru banquettes, braided wicker chairs, beautiful ceramics, draping ivy, Italian melodies… In the kitchen, you’ll find chef Erica Archambault sending out southern dishes: delicious fried artichokes with Greek yogurt and lemon zest; incredibly tender grilled octopus with cherry tomatoes, potatoes and a tomato sauce with capers – all sponged up with squid ink bread; plus an incredible chocolate ganache with yogurt sorbet and blueberries for dessert. The plates – all hand-made by Daphne Leon – are as good as the food.

60 Avenue des Champs-Élysées

Le Costes

This place is old and really well-known, but still, no other restaurant has reached the level of cool chic that Le Costes does so effortlessly for years. The opulent Second Empire décor designed by Jacques Garcia that’s a cross between a brothel and a trip to Egypt, with a lineup that brings together the fashion crowd (especially during fashion week. We were sitting next to @ireneisgood and System’s Elizabeth Von Guttman – and we had a very lovely chat…). The cuisine here is properly eclectic. The menu shifts between healthy options (a  avocado/olive oil/lemon tartine, fresh bass tartare…) and fusion dishes (crispy chicken spring rolls – they are the best – and Thai-style marinated steak) to updated classics: a beautiful Niçoise salad upgraded to include flash-seared fresh tuna or a delightful chicken breast served with fries. Take the divine pavlova with red berries and voluptuous meringue for dessert.

239-241 rue Saint-Honoré

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All photos by Edward Kanarecki.

(P.S. If you are inspired by my Parisian coverage, I’m really happy about, but please have in mind that now isn’t a safe time for any sorts of travelling. Stay at home!)

Alaïa and Balenciaga, the Sculptors of Shape (and more Alaïa!)

In 1968, as Cristóbal Balenciaga was preparing to close his eponymous fashion house, a young Azzedine Alaïa – already designing for private clients from his small apartment – received a phone call from Mademoiselle Renée, Balenciaga’s then-vice general director. She was concerned about the future of the Spanish couturier’s archive of gowns and unused fabrics and invited Alaïa to the maison to help himself to what was left, hoping he might re-cut and re-purpose the garments and cloth to give them new life. “That’s how his obsession for collecting fashion began,” says fashion curator and historian Olivier Saillard. “He was so moved seeing all those pieces that, instead of reworking them, he decided to keep them intact.” Saillard – who works closely with Carla Sozzani and Alaïa’s partner, the painter Christoph von Weyhe, to manage the late designer’s foundation, Association Azzedine Alaïa – has curated a new exhibition “Alaïa and Balenciaga, Sculptors of Shape” which runs until June 28 (temporarily closed now due to the coronavirus epidemy) at Galerie Azzedine Alaïa in Paris. Conceived as a sort of pristine white labyrinth, the exhibition sees pieces from both designers mirror one another without ever getting too physically close, reflecting the fact that the two couturiers never met in person. And, though Saillard might have been behind the exhibition’s content and design, he is quick to insist that the exhibition was not his own idea – rather that of another famed Parisian couturier, Hubert de Givenchy. “He came to see us in 2018, approximately six months after Azzedine’s death and, at 90 years old, completely blew us away with his old-school charm. He wanted to show the work of both designers at the Cristóbal Balenciaga Museum in the Spanish city of Getaria,” Saillard informs in the press notes. “Unfortunately, he died two weeks after that first meeting.” The curator then became in charge of fostering Givenchy’s idea, and the exhibition will eventually make its way to Getaria this summer. Identifying all the Balenciaga pieces in Alaïa’s collection was no easy feat. “Nothing was really archived, but we ended up finding more than 500 items,” remembers Saillard. “Then we compared them to Azzedine’s own work. That’s when I realised the extent of the Spanish master’s influence on him. Most of all, I think Azzedine always strived to equal Cristóbal’s technical virtuosity.” Did he succeed? “Well, there are very few 20th-century designers that mastered every step of the creative process, from drawing to cutting, sewing and assembling a garment, and they both did it. So yes.” Here are some photos I took inside this divine exhibition – partially located in the Galerie, partially over Alaïa’s boutique-slash-studio on rue de Moussy – but to really feel that mastership of cut and every single detail, these garments should be seen in real life. Here’s my post on one of the previous exhibitions presented here in case you’ve missed it: “Adrian and Alaïa. The Art of Tailoiring.”

Galerie Azzedine Alaïa / 18 rue de la Verrerie

Azzedine Alaïa Boutique & Studio / 7 rue de Moussy

And now we’re jumping from Le Marais district to rue de Marignan (located near the posh Avenue Montaigne), where Alaïa’s second Paris flagship store is located. I’ve been there a few years ago after its opening, and now I was surprised to see that more floors are open to the clients. Here you will find the brand’s current collections (designed by Alaïa’s studio), as well as re-editions of some of the most cult Azzedine designs and motifs. Fact check: no other brand in Paris does as refined eveningwear as Alaïa’s maison. Oh, and shearling coats. When I saw that rack, my heart skipped a beat. Going to this store feels like a continuation of the exhibition tour, but this time you can try it all on and, if your wallet is a magic well, buy it. Never enough of Alaïa!

Azzedine Alaïa Boutique / 5 rue de Marignan

All photos by Edward Kanarecki.

(P.S. If you are inspired by my Parisian coverage, I’m really happy about, but please have in mind that now isn’t a safe time for any sorts of travelling. Stay at home!)