“A LONDONER IN PARIS”: HOTEL VERNET





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A-Gent of Style started celebrating his visit to Paris last Saturday evening at the newly re-opened and much-hyped Hôtel Vernet. In the company of fellow Parisian blogger The Parisian Eye, he was greeted by ‘Master of the House’ and longtime Jean-Paul Gaultier model, Tarik Lakehal.


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Situated off the Champs-Elysées in the ‘Golden Triangle’ off La Place des Etoiles and the Arc de Triomphe, The Hôtel Vernet is a prestigious hotel with a façade dating back to 1913 which was entirely renovated and refurbished in the last few years by renown Paris-based architect François Champsaur to celebrate the Hausmann building’s first centenary and help it transition into the 21st century.

The hotel boasts fifty sleek rooms, a restaurant with a stupendous original stained-glass dome designed by Gustave Eiffel, two private dining rooms and a bar.
It combines contemporary elements, minimalism, and craftsmanship with the elegance of its classical features. Rooms are curated like vignettes with a brilliant selection of artworks, bespoke commissions such as the undulated copper bar and the incredible rugs and frescos created by French visual artist Jean-Michel Alberola, noble materials such as marbles, metallics and polished woods and minimalist furniture à la Christian Liaigre.



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 – Photos by Hotel Vernet and A-Gent of Style –

 

LILY-WHITE MAY DAY



Grace Kelly, 1970s



A-Gent of Style arrived in Paris last Thursday evening on May 1, not only Labour Day in France but also la journée du muguet, or lily of the valley day. On that special day, everywhere in the City of Light and also throughout the gallic country, you will see vendors at street corners selling the delicate green sprigs capped with their tiny white bells.
When A-Gent of Style got reunited last Saturday night with fellow blogger The Parisian Eye, over cocktails (try the lush E.V.A!), this time at the George V hotel, he was bowled over to be faced, as he entered the prestigious hotel, with a wondrous flower installation replete with muguet which suffused the foyer with its seducing scent, courtesy of the brilliant artistic director in residence at the Four Seasons and flower artist, Jeff Leatham. In France, the tradition goes that people should offer un bouquet to their loved ones; a lover perhaps, your mother, grandmother, or anyone special.
It isn’t unusual to see on May men wear a few stems of muguet in their lapel (A-Gent of Style obliged on the day) and women don the delicate flower in their hair. Delightful, n’est-ce pas! There’s a lot to be said about tradition.

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Le George V hotel, Paris

Le George V hotel, Paris, with floral arrangements by Jeff Leatham

 

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Le George V hotel, Paris



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As the story goes, on the first of May 1561, King Charles IX of France, who was ten at the time, was presented with a fragrant bunch of muguet. It was a gesture which touched the king so much that he continued the tradition by giving the sweet-smelling blossoms to the ladies of his court each year on the same day.


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Lily of the valley has come to represent happiness, luck, rebirth and prosperity and the traditional Fête du Muguet continues in France today, almost five hundred years later.
When he was a kid,
A-Gent of Style and his family would go every year without fail on May 1 to the woods and after the picnic they would take a postprandial stroll and pick as much lily of the valley as possible. Its scent is now firmly rooted in his consciousness and highly evocative.


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The scent of these ephemeral flowers – in bloom just a couple of weeks each year – has bewitched perfumers for centuries as it is impossible to distil (did you also know that the flowers only grow on one side of the stem?), and its subtle perfume is recomposed in the secrecy of laboratories.

Lily of the valley has been represented throughout the centuries not only in perfume (Caron was one of the first to ‘bottle’ the scent; Dior’s lily of the valley-scented perfume Diorissimo is one of their best sellers to date) but also in fashion (Christian Dior adored the flower so much he based and named several of his collections ‘Muguet en mai’; Hubert de Givenchy too created a few gowns called ‘Les Muguets’; Helen Mirren donned last year a Dolce & Gabbana lily of the valley-print dress, on three different public appearances), in luxury goods (Lalique crystal vases, Van Cleef and Arpels jewellery for instance), at weddings (from Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn to the Duchess of Cambridge) and in candles, room sprays, soaps even teas and macaroons to name a few.

  Come take a look and celebrate le muguet:


calotte en muguet Paulette 1958‘Calotte en muguet’, Paulette 1958



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Givenchy 56Audrey Hepburn, Givenchy 1956



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The “Muguet”, Lily of the Valley dress (1954) by Christian DiorThe “Muguet” dress by Christian Dior, 1954


Sicily bag in an emerald green hue & weaved PVC Dolce Bag in the very fashionable bucket bag shape.


Robert Doisneau, 1953, Le Muguet du Métro‘Le Muguet du Métro’ by Robert Doisneau 1953


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penhaligon's lily of the valley

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Les Muguets’ (Lily of the Valley)‘Les Muguets’ by Hubert de Givenchy



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Fashion Show, Menswear, Fall Winter 2011, Milan

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1932LALIQUE 'LILY OF THE VALLEY' CRYSTAL PERFUME BOTTLELalique ‘Lily of the Valley’ crystal perfume bottle 1932



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Jean berthet 1964Jean Berthet 1964



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Van Cleef and Arpels Lucky – charm nature Muguet clip, platinum, diamonds and emeraldsVan Cleef and Arpels lucky-charm ‘Muguet’ clip in platinum, diamonds and emeralds


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wedding of Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier, Monaco in April, 1956, dress designed byMGM wardrobe designer Helen RoseGrace Kelly at her wedding to Prince Rainier, Monaco April 1956 in a dress designed by MGM wardrobe designer Helen Rose



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“A LONDONER IN PARIS”: MAY 2014



 
A-Gent of Style arrived in gai Paree last night for a short week (next Monday is Labour Day in France) to resume his series “A Londoner in Paris” and to work on two exciting forthcoming features. Stay tuned, chers amis.

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