‘A LONDONER IN PARIS’: LE PARIS DECO OFF 2014




“L’Art, La Manière, La Matière” /  “Art, Fashion, Material”

– Paris Déco Off 2014 –



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The last two weeks have been a whirlwind of thrilling and intoxicating
design-centric events for A-Gent of Style so apology for the somewhat dearth of communication and posts. It all started last Monday evening with a private talk and party at Christie’s for the Michael Inchbald: A Legacy of Design exhibition and sale – you can view A-Gent of Style’s feature and collaboration with the auction house here – which realised £3,280,675 selling 93% by lot and 98% by value, the original estimate being £2,000,000. Amelia Walker, the brilliant Head of Sale and Associate Director at Christie’s, who had also given A-Gent of Style an insightful private tour of the exhibition the day of the opening, stated:  “We are thrilled with the result of this sale, which was a testament to the discerning taste and impeccable eye of Michael Inchbald, a highly respected, award-winning innovator of the design world. The top lot was a pair of Empire ‘Egyptian’ ormolu, patinated bronze and black fossil marble six-light candelabra attributed to Pierre-Philippe Thomire, circa 1805, which sold for £434,500 to a UK Advisor”.



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On the Wednesday afternoon, A-Gent was honoured to be invited by David Collins Studio to attend a tribute in honour of the late designer hosted at one of his most, if not the most, iconic restaurants, The Wellesley, then still closed for refurbishment (“…the first and the last time the restaurant has hosted a private event…”, declared Jeremy King in his speech) which turned out to be a very heartfelt and perfect recognition of Collins’s exceptional career with personal speeches by his studio, colleagues and friends, amongst the glitterati of the design, fashion and media worlds. Immediately after that, it was a quick cab ride across London to catch the last Eurostar to Paris, which brings us to today’s topic.





There had been a lot of coverage  in the press and also on the design blogosphere about Paris Déco Off at the end of last year so when an invitation came from the organisers to partake in the celebrations, A-Gent of Style decided, rather intrigued but also curious, to organise a trip to the French capital and see for himself what the buzz what all about. The fact that his dear friend offered him to use her apartment in the thick of St Germain, where most of Paris Déco Off takes placewas also a good omen.


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In its fifth edition this year, Paris Déco Off  came to an end last Monday after five days celebrating the world of decoration and more specifically fabrics. More than 75 international decoration houses (A-Gent of Style was surprised to see so many showrooms found in Chelsea Design Centre now represented, mostly, in
Saint Germain) participated in the design-orientated event and opened their doors to experienced professionals but also uninitiated first-time visitors to showcase their new collections, colours, materials and projects, engage in conversations about know-how and creativity through workshops and events, and share their expertise and wealth of knowledge which altogether ‘created a melting pot of culture and heritage’. Unlike the more asepticised and rather suffocating fair that is 
Maison & Objet – which will be featured this week here – situated outside Paris in a gloomy northern suburb devoid of any charisma or style, Paris Déco Off takes place in two scenic districts of the ‘City of Lights’; Rive Gauche concentrating around the chi-chi, Chelsea-esque Saint-Germain-des-Prés and also Rive Droite around Rue du Mail, in the 2nd arrondissement, where a proliferation of new design showrooms has been witnessed in the last few years.

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Rue du Mail (2th A.)


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What makes Paris Déco Off so enjoyable is the fact that you can go from one showroom or pop-up boutique to another whilst walking amongst beautiful Parisian surroundings, making the whole experience a great way to combine business with world-class culture and heritage, and also forget the grey, cold and drizzling weather (it snowed last year during the event which no doubt added a romantic even cinematographic dimension to the event). This unique and enviable dimension most probably explains the great international appeal and attraction that Paris Déco Off has enjoyed exponentially every year.

Thanks to the fantastic team at Paris Déco Off and their great management and organisation, A-Gent of Style was invited to attend last Thursday the preview Press & Bloggers Day before the event officially started last Friday morning throughout Monday evening with little interruption; there was a late opening in the evening on Friday and a charity concert organised in the Notre-Dame-des-Victoires Basilica. On Saturday morning, A-Gent of Style attended an exclusive brunch organised by De Gournay in their stunning  showroom in St Germain for a discussion between bloggers, journalists, key representatives of design houses and the De Gournay staff. And soirées were held in most showrooms on the Left Bank on Saturday until 11pm (officially. Say no more). All of that plus the ‘extra-curricular activities’
 A-Gent of Style partook in (which you will discover in the photos below).




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The electric atmosphere and buzz in the participating streets were infectious, during the day as well as in the evening; the reception from the traders in each showroom was genuinely warm and welcoming. Goodie bags and catalogues were offered in most showrooms displaying in their windows “Art, Manière, Matière”. The best way to navigate your way from one street to another was to look up and follow the illuminated, gigantic lanterns each upholstered in a different fabric from a different company (a bit like following the Yellow Brick Road really). Free shuttles – and we are talking private cars here not vans or coaches – were at the participants’ disposal to whizz around “Paname” (Paris’s nickname) from one rive to another and enjoy at the same time driving through some Parisian landmarks . And if you felt lonely or lost, all you had to do was to spot anyone sporting a Paris Déco Off chapeau, now a mascot, all adorned with a different coloured band – to feel part of the community.


The fantastic Paris Deco Off team: founders Hughes Charuita and Carole Locatelli with their assistants Anne-Charlotte and Camille

 

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Carole Locatelli surrounded by two fellow French bloggers

Carole Locatelli surrounded by two fellow French bloggers




Come and follow A-Gent of Style now through the streets of Paris and get a taste of his Paris Déco Off and his discoveries:





– ‘Polaroid’ photos by A-Gent of Style




 

 

WINDOW WONDERLAND AT JOHN LEWIS



 



Not content with winning the much sought-after 2013 best Christmas television advert with its animated short film The Bear and The Hare and stealing the nation’s (and A-Gent of Style‘s) heart with its heart-tugging story and Lily Allen’s nostalgic cover version of Keane’s ‘Somewhere Only We Know’, John Lewis and
Peter Jones have surpassed themselves this year with offering its customers and any passers-by brilliantly accomplished Christmas window displays that will capture anyone’s imagination.




This year, expect to see reindeer sculpted from Dyson vacuum cleaners,
spatula owls, wolves made out of lamps, penguins made from kettles,
birds fashioned from cutlery, cleaning utensils bunny rabbits, turkeys made with towels and many other creatures of a woodland and arctic ménagerie.



A-Gent of Style was left wide-eyed and enthralled by the astonishing creations when he walked past the Peter Jones store on Sloane Square, Chelsea, a few nights ago. This magical and playful world of small and bigger animals made out of household products, all available from the department store (of course), is the brainchild of creative consultancy Chameleon Visual and über-genius Billie Achilleos,
‘versatile artist and maker of things’ (according to her website), a Technical Arts and Special Effects graduate from Wimbledon College for Art who has worked in opera, theatre, film, window display, advertising and fashion (you might remember her sensational collaboration with Louis Vuitton). Achilleos and an army of model makers have created 188 animals out of more than 7,000 products which were then produced by Setsquare Staging. The entire process took a year.



Robb Bloomer, retail design manager at John Lewis, said: “This year we want to do something a bit more contemporary, a bit more modern, a bit more fun. We want people queuing around the block, so we had to do something a bit different.”


Marvel with A-Gent of Style at this feat of engineering and
creative tour de force and let yourself be transported to this enchanting world. Christmas comes only once a year after all! And make sure you have a very close look through the window panes. The detailing is staggering.






















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And for all of the A-Gentees not living in the UK, here’s the now iconic
(with the Marmite effect) The Bear and the Hare 2013 John Lewis Christmas advert (it gets A-Gent of Style everytime):







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