On this Valentine’s Day

A reprint to warm your heart…

For those of you newly engaged or seasoned in marital bliss, take heart of the love in Paris or on the streets in Florence, Italy.

Have you ever noticed that attached to the metal rails on many of the Paris ponts were locks? And I mean thousands of them. Each had a heartfelt message, initials or a date. What a wonderful way to leave a little of your love behind.

This bride had the same idea. However, her love was to be caught on film. Isn’t it wonderful? And what a beautiful dress.

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It must be contagious – that is – love. Here is a bride and groom-to-be in front of Notre Dame.

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Or how about at the artists’ enclave at Montmartre just a few steps from the Basilica of the Sacré Cœur.

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Heart-warming pictures of some very stylish brides.  Send your pictures to stylespotter@aol.com.

Please note this will be my last posting for a while as I recharge my (camera) batteries on future trips to Europe.  I will respond to comments that are forwarded.  Thanks for reading The Style Spotter.

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Lost in Bliss and Other Suggestions for Gifts

Can’t afford Vionette or Cartier, Prada or Lalique well here’s the answer… a BOOK!

Jump into the history of designers, jewelers, crafts people and furniture makers while enjoying the eye candy popping pictures that can be had in a book.

The Musée des Arts Décoratifs located at 107, rue de Rivoli (75001) is just a stone’s throw from the Louvre. This is a fabulous museum filled with collections and exhibits to delight any Style Spotters’ fancy. Several months ago an exhibit of the stories of Louis Vuitton and Marc Jacobs ended. Not to fret, there is usually something wonderful on the horizon. But I would like to bring to your attention their gift gallery aptly known as 107 Rivoli, The Boutique. They have a fantastic collection of gifts and their book collection, well, you could spend hours, perhaps days looking.

So, if you are in Paris, drop by. There are usually no lines to get in. Not in Paris, get to your local museum, book shop or library.

Have a title to share? Love to hear.  Happy shopping!

My Corner of Paris

Okay, who would turn down a stay at the George V (Fours Seasons) in Paris? Not me, such a beautiful elegant hotel with exceptional staff, but if I am paying for the stay my little corner of Paris as well as my heart is in Saint Germain. I just love this arrondissement (6th). It has everything a Style Spotter desires – style, energy and culture.

There is exceptional shopping, relaxed crowds during the week with increased energy on the weekends, a fabulous park (Jardin du Luxembourg), and patisseries. I can just smell the apple turnover at Poilane. It was a tough decision but I just could not polish off a 4 pound loaf of their magnificent bread. The gentleman in front of me purchased an apple turnover and immediately turned around and handed it to a fellow standing near the doorway. What a good samaritan! And take my word, it was worth the calories.

Or what about a fantastic chocolate baguette (yes, you read that right) at the bakery on Rue du Dragon (mid-way up the block) or the best Parisian salad of warm roasted garlic potatoes on top of a chilled salad with roast beef (located on Rue du Four opposite from Pataugas Shoes). I should have taken a picture of this work of art but consumed it before the idea came to mind. And yes, I ate there several times on both my solo trips. It’s worth the hunt for these two shops even without their names (sorry).

You have your pick of shopping establishments – from a unique boutique to Le Bon Marche from known brands (Hermès, Prada, etc.) to boutiques with a few stores. On my first day in Paris this past summer, I happened into COS at 3, Rue de Grenelle. What a gem. The store is bright and airy inviting a long browse throughout. And the prices were great. Well worth a visit and I am sure you will leave with a bag in hand like me.

Let me leave you with my some of my favorite streets to meander in Saint Germain – Rue de Grenelle, Rue du Cherchi-Midi, Rue de Sevres, Rue Bonaparte and Rue Jacob.

Happy browsing! Got something to share. We’d love to hear

Now for my Real Passion

I am a jewelry junky.

No, I do not have a ridiculously large or valuable collection, but everything I have I love. Thanks (not really) to my house being robbed quite a while ago, I started from scratch rebuilding and replacing my collection. Luckily, I was not at home when I was robbed but none-the-less felt ever so violated. And of course on that day I was wearing my junk jewelry. I lost some very heartfelt pieces – my grandmother’s wedding link bracelet, a gold watch that I received from my parents on my 13th birthday, an emerald ring and a few other memorable items. Other pieces I cannot remember but I was able to purchase new items with the insurance coverage. Things such as an Elsa Peretti floating heart necklace was easily replaced, others took much longer as I am very particular.

I was in the retail jewelry trade for 10 years having worked in both an artisanal boutique and a very well known high end luxury chain. I met artists, designers and commercially successful owners – brands from David Yurman to Verdura and mom and pop businesses to successful one horse shops. Surprise, I feel the same about jewelry as I do about clothes and accessories. I am not particularly keen on commercially successful brands that everyone is wearing. Give me a piece of jewelry from an unknown artist and I am happy. Of course the piece must be practical to some degree, that is, will stand the test of time but it has to have its own voice and not worn by the masses.

I have purchased jewelry in various places: craft shows, small retailers, a major US store or two and of course in Italy. In Italy, if you have a good eye, you can pick some treasures from the mass of commercial pieces. Yes, I love the Ponte Vecchio and I long to look out the back window of a shop to the Arno River some day again soon. And of course in Florence – gloves, handbags, clothes… and lots of gelato! Yum!

Paris certainly has its share of jewelry establishments. You can peruse in luxury retailers, historically successful stores such as Cartier or Van Cleef and Arpels, other shops on Place Vendôme or hunt around the arrondissements for its flavor of jewelry.  There is no shortage of selection just the proverbial shortage of time and money.  Here are a few of the brands in Paris that seem popular – Dinh Van and Emmanuelle Zysman.  I am particularly fond of Tiany  Chambard, a terrific little shop in St. Germain, stocking vintage jewelry. 

For those of you Francophiles living either in the US or abroad, please share your jewelry store finds. Mama Mia, Italian sources are welcome too.

The Feeling of Freedom

The feeling of freedom… a cross body bag. 

It feels awesome to have both hands free. I had been using a handbag for several seasons, like many of you, which hung from my forearm. Give the cross body a try. With the onslaught of structured long-strapped bags, I’m sure you’ll love the feeling of freedom.

Autumn is here and summer a memory (though today is 70 degrees).  Fashion Week is over and the designers and professionals are espousing for spring. But let’s enjoy fall and reminisce for a moment about the happy memories of summer before we think about spring.

Where have you, my Style Spotters, vacationed (at home or afar) this past summer? What fabulous styles have you seen, items have you purchased for yourself or have received as a gift?

Do tell!

Makeup Guru and Such

A while back I discussed sun protection. Now for makeup. To be honest, while I was in Paris I was enamored with all the pharmacies that stock extensive collections of products. I was dazzled but overwhelmed partly because I could not translate the labeling. The cosmetics floor in Le Bon Marche was beautiful. I did not even meander through Printemps’ or Galleries Lafayette’s cosmetic floors. Frankly, my trip was short and I could not devote the hours to play there. (I view buying cosmetics like I do jewelry as a happy playful experience.) So if you have the time, language skill or hunting for something in particular ENJOY yourself. The women in Paris look great. I assume there is some magic potion which is the proverbial fountain of youth.

There are many French brands we are not familiar with here in the United States. So, Style Spotters, what have you discovered in Paris? Please share what you have found be it makeup, skin care, hair care or daresay anti-aging.

Here is another resource. Just recently I happened onto the website of Lisa Eldridge. Ms. Eldridge is a world renowned British makeup artist. Her website is extensive with tutorials and specific suggestions on products. I viewed a few of the tutorials and will go back for more. Check out her work and enjoy.