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



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



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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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BOOK END No13




‘Ne’er cast a clout till May be out’

Easter is behind us. Summer a distant promise. See A-Gent of Style‘s inspiring selection of newly or forthcoming publications for this month.

Don’t forget you can hover your cursor over each image to see the rest of the book cover or click on the image to see the cover in full in a new window.


 

All books are available or can be ordered from
The Bookshop at the Design Centre Chelsea Harbour +44 (0) 20 7351 6854 / @theBOOKSHOPat

And if you’ve missed the previous instalments of Book End, you can catch up and see the other fantastic books A-Gent of Style selected for you over the months:Book End No1, Book End No2, Book End N03, Book End N04, Book End No5Book End No6, Book End No7, Book End N08, Book End No9, Book End No10, Book End N011, Book End N012

Happy reading!




20TH CENTURY DECORATIVE ART & DESIGN at CHRISTIE’S




As mentioned yesterday on the blog in the article dedicated to Phillips’ two significant sales tomorrow showcasing 19th century and 20th century important objets, today’s post will be featuring the third exhibition of an equally anticipated sale on Wednesday focusing on 20th century decorative art and design, orchestrated this time by leading international auction house, Christie’s. Never has it been more thrilling for A-Gent of Style to witness at the same in London two events celebrating some of his most cherished designers and ensembliers.


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It was shortly after meeting Tessa Kennedy last month at Christie’s, South Kensington, at the exhibition for the sale of her lifetime collection (which you can view here) that A-Gent of Style unexpectedly caught sight in a corner of the hallway of a rare Jacques Adnet desk and chair from 1950 in oak, beautiful caramel leather adorned with the designer’s trademark stitching and brass round pulls on the drawers. After some investigation, A-Gent of Style found out the Adnet ensemble would be part of a 20th Century sale scheduled for the end April, which brings us to today’s feature.


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Last Thursday late afternoon, A-Gent of Style was greeted by Jeremy Morrison, the sale’s specialist, at Christie’s King Street, who very kindly gave him a private tour of the exhibition (his team was hurriedly putting the finishing touch as he arrived) before it opened to the public the following day. Since the Michael Inchbald sale a few months ago, the space had been split in two distinct areas, both beautifully curated into elegant vignettes, one dedicated to the 20th Century Decorative Art & Design and the other to the Lalique: An Important Private Collection.


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The first sale encompasses objets from the Art Nouveau and Art Deco movements and also post-war and contemporary design, featuring a variety of stylish yet practical pieces suited to the collector, the interior decorator, and the private customer alike. Amongst the carefully selected works are chandeliers, mirrors, wall lights, dining tables and chairs, alongside unique eye-catching works of art including striking Art Deco figures and works in glass by some of the finest craftsmen of the 20th Century. With estimates ranging from £2,000-120,000, discerning collectors will not want to miss the opportunity to acquire quality works by the leading designers of the last 120 years. The sale is expected to realize in excess of £1,200,000 over 124 lots.

The Art Deco selection is led by one of A-Gent of Style‘s favourite furniture designers, Marc Du Plantier, whose ormolu-mounted ebonised wood and verre églomisé occasional tables, one with a mermaid motif and the other centred by a centaur, dated 1940-41, make a rare appearance (estimate £30,000-50,000). Antony Redmile’s 1970s camptastic bust, composed of shells, malachite and quartz, is of high-impact and makes a strong visual statement (estimate: £7,000-10,000). Fontana Arte’s mid 20th C rare and large circular chandelier in gilt-metal and silvered brass, with 40 lights issuing from curved candlearms rubs shoulders with Ruhlmann’s elegant dressing table, circa 1930 in mahogany and silvered metal. A-Gent of Style also spotted Lelli’s quirky and playful ceiling light, c.1954, produced by Arredoluce, in painted aluminium and brass, and last but not least, a pair of lounge chair (deceptively comfortable despite their low back. And yes, we tried them) by Leleu, circa 1960, in  silvered metal, brass and upholstery.

The exhibition is on show until 12pm this Wednesday 30 April and the auction will be at 2pm. You can view the full catalogue here.



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The concomitant sale is the single owner collection Lalique: An Important Private Collection which will also take place at Christie’s King Street on 30 April at 1pm. The calibre of this private collection bears testimony to the discerning eye of the collector and is a fitting tribute to the extraordinary vision and creativity of the master glass-maker René Lalique, who continues to enthrall an international audience nearly seven decades after his death. Distinguished from previous collections which have appeared on the market in the last decades, this collection primarily focuses on large-scale vases in rare designs and a wide spectrum of colours. In addition to the jewel-like coloured works, there are a number of exquisite hand-crafted cire perdue vases and a selection of significant display items, such as Oiseau De Feu, which features a mythical firebird and is illuminated from below (estimate: £25,000-35,000). With estimates ranging from £2,500 to £150,000, the 83 lots have a low estimate in the region of £1.5 million. Christie’s has been selling Lalique since 1971 and has offered more Lalique at auction than any other auction house internationally. In 2013, Christie’s Lalique sale in London realised over £1.3 million, the highest total ever achieved.

You can view the full catalogue here.



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A-Gent of Style would like to thank Christie’s and especially Jeremy Morrison,
the 20th C design sale’s specialist, for all their help and support.

– All photographs by A-Gent of Style and Christie’s –





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