Not far from the Mohammed V mosque and within walking distance from his apartment, A-Gent of Style made a great and discovery one afternoon in Tangier this summer as he was strolling back home nonchalantly in the Moroccan heat. By pure happenstance, he came across the boutique-cum-atelier of Régis Milcent, the late, famed French decorator, incongruously situated amongst residential modern blocks of flats, convenience stores, ice cream parlours and cafés.
This eponymous atelier is a magical, and unexpected, treasure trove of wonderfully eclectic objets for the home, a cornucopia of selected, unusual antiques amassed and curated over a lifetime from different corners of the world by Régis Milcent, who died a few years ago (it has proved impossible so far to find any information about the decorator perhaps only because the discreet Milcent built his reputation through word of mouth and not publications), mixing European sensibilities with exotic rarities that only a discerning eye or an aesthete would appreciate. It is very similar, in a way, to the Sybil Colefax and John Fowler store at Brook Street, albeit much smaller and in Tangier, in the sense that each area has been curated as a vignette representing a sitting room, a living room or a study for instance. One-off paintings, furniture and rugs brush shoulders with lamps, dishes, ceramics, vases and many other pieces, all beautiful in their own right, and with an incredible collection of original Pierre Frey fabrics that A-Gent of Style was thrilled to discover for the first time; some of them adorn the furniture and walls in the store.
Régis Milcent is not only a shop but mainly a decorative and upholstery company situated at the back of the store, behind the ‘1001 finds’ on display, now run by two delightful men (A-Gent of Style met them only briefly) who worked for many years for Milcent, where they and their team cater for local businesses but also for some of the established international decorators who holiday or have settled in the Tangerine city. Who could blame them. What else do you need!
“Marchand de tout, faiseur de rien”
“Merchant of everything, maker of nothing”
Galerie Salon is one of those unique stores that are difficult to pinpoint. Is it an antiques store, a capsule of a flea market taken out of the suburbs, a concept store, a thrift shop, a collectors’ gallery, a micro museum?
Originally named after a hair salon that was situated at the exact same location in the 1920s, Galerie Salon is a multi-faceted shop that embrace all of those descriptions. Situated in St Germain-des-près, A-Gent of Style paid Galerie Salon a visit during his last stay in Paris last month as he had been alerted about this charming repository of objets, curiosités and artefacts. In this chic Parisian den, you will find antiques from French, Swedish and Italian provenance but also creations by contemporary artists and artisans.
Carole and Stéphane Borraz are the founders of Galerie Salon who have owned the boutique since 2003. Both passionate and consummate antiques collectors who traipse the world in search of great antiques finds and also popular bargain hunts, the couple, who originally met at the Ecole du Louvre, used to own a stand in the flea market of Saint-Ouen and have since amassed and replenished Galerie Salon with an impressive selection of eclectic wonders.
Since 2010, the Borraz have selected a few contemporary brands and invited them into Galerie Salon to complement their own collection through unique collaborations, and also help usher Galerie Salon in modern times.
Astier de Villatte tableware, John Derian artefacts, Kuhn Kéramik creations,
Le Baigneur soaps, Bonjour Paris and Bonjour New York maps and the latest of them all (and last but not least), the divine (roll drum)…Antoinette Poisson.
Despite their disparate elements, this motley crew of enchanting oddities live harmoniously next to each other and are juxtaposed brilliantly into a cohesive whole, thanks to the seemingly effortless talent of la charmante Carole who has successfully managed to combine in one single room tradition with innovation, elegantly mixing a profusion of styles and genres.
Kaiser designer Karl Lagerfeld transformed during Paris Fashion Week 2014 Paris’ Le Grand Palais into the most amazing giant supermarket to debut Chanel’s womenswear collection show attended by well-heeled celebrities such as pop star Rihanna and model Cara Delevingne who gladly partook in the fanciful supermarket sweep. The flamboyant aisles were replete with 500-odd Chanel-branded products in packaging designed specially for the show with over 100,000 mocked-up items on the shelves such as condiments, pastas, oils and vinegars, cheeses, charcuterie, brooms, dusters, fruits, vegetables, breads, alcohol, mops and more all stamped with the iconic luxury brand logo.
Complete and utter genius if you ask A-Gent of Style.
After the show was over, a tannoy announcement came out: “Dear valued customer, the Chanel store is closing. Please pick up complimentary fruit and vegetables as you leave”, which prompted a supermarket sweep as audience members pillaged and looted the shelves. Editors pounced on the non-perishable items with the Mademoiselle Privé doormats being the number one prized item to go first. Some of you might have seen some of the brilliant Instagram photos and videos by Anna Dello Russo
Oh and the clothes? Candy-coloured tweed suiting came layered over purple glittery tops and metallic jeans. Elsewhere, tissue-thin leather tracksuit trousers were partnered up with sporty quilted cropped jackets, all set off with sneakers – some extending to boots – padlock necklaces or multi-strand pearls and full ponytails streaming in tweed rags.
“I wanted to show the ease of the clothes, the way they walk in those shoes, the modern approach even to luxury”, professed Kaiser Karl. “Luxury should not be something like this, confined to a limited thing, that if you are lucky enough that you can buy those things, buy them, but don’t wear them to show people how rich you are. The big thing in Chanel is that we can play with everything and do whatever we want. Nobody tells us what to do, we are totally free. Which is nice.”
Who said food-shopping shouldn’t be glamourous and that you couldn’t wear your sunnies in a superstore!? After seeing these images, even going to Waitrose will seem utterly dire.