We’ve been in Paris all week doing what we do best: scouting new trends, finding new product and shopping till we drop. (We were the lucky ones who completely missed the awful snowstorm that hit – and paralyzed – Atlanta. At about 7 p.m. Paris time Tuesday night, we told our dedicated Huffingtons to close up and head home and they did, although it took some of them hours and hours of dodging cars, ice and snow. We’re just so thankful everyone’s okay.)
Paris. We hit two fabulous shows while we were there: the tried and true favorite, Maison et Objet and a wonderful apparel and accessory show that we’ve started going to.
And as always, we leave Paris desperately wanting to be a furniture store, an antique mirror and antique barometer store, an haute couture store, a shoe and boot store…and most of all a bag store! We love bags and saw so many wonderful renditions that our heads are spinning. Don’t worry, we’ll do a whole blog on bags soon.
Along the way, we met the nicest people, ate the most delicious meals (even a lowly sandwich de jambon et fromage is pure heaven when it’s on Poilane bread and accompanied by a little glass of wine); found the coolest new stuff and pretty much soaked up Paris’s magical ambiance.
Maison et Objet is a hotbed of new home décor trends and we’re not kidding when we say it’s seven football fields worth of tabletop, furniture, accessories and just about anything else you can think of.
We’ve got it down to a science: we land at 8 a.m., take a cab to the show and power through the jetlag until about 6 p.m. when we immediately fall asleep during the cab ride into Paris. We love hitting our favorite buildings and feasting our eyes on what’s out there. Sometimes we run into a familiar face or two from Atlanta and it’s always fun to compare notes, which invariably lead to the most important question: where did you have dinner last night, where are you having dinner tonight and where are you staying? We’ve got all three of those covered and more about that in a minute.
First, though, here’s what we can tell you: the Belgian/Restoration Hardware look is still hot and shows no sign of slowing down. There’s a lot of rustic, limed wood out there paired with metal. We saw lots of clean lines and utilitarian pieces (which we love, Huff Harrington style, mixed with gorgeous, gloopy Louis XV, bien sur.)
We saw lots of saturated jewels colors in upholstery, which is a trend we want to see more of in Atlanta:
Wallpaper is also still hot and we saw some lovely treatments that felt fresh and elegant (and then there were some that we had to stop and gawk at.)
All things oceanic are going strong – coral, sea fans, crabs and other little sea creatures are a huge motif.
And lovely and timeless French classics always catch our eye and that’s why we go to this show. We’ve been stalking a old Paris line of china for a few years now and we finally made friends with them and hopefully, we all fell in love. And a flatware line that combines silver plate with classic and elegant handles.
After we spent a couple days at M & O, we ran over to Porte de Versailles on the bus for a really lively fashion and accessories show. We love the mix of merchandise we have at the store so we were on a mission to find a great French handbag line, scarves and jewelry. The show was a blast – lots of pretty young things in cutting edge fashion, a Bubbles Bar and clothes as far as the eye can see. (We decided we also want to be a fur-trimmed down jacket store, a Jackie-O-inspired dress store and a cashmere sweater store.)
We happily ended up with at least two bag lines and the most elegant and delectable line of scarves. We don’t want to drop any names until we know when they’re arriving, but if you know Paris and love scarves, it’s the store over by the Palais Royale. Our Linda, over at the gallery, has been tormenting us about getting the line and we were happy to report back to her that we were successful.
In between all that show shopping, we really did have an assignment to find some antique barometers for a client (more about that in another blog as we now both know more about barometers than we ever thought possible). We also wanted to do some scouting in advance of our March buying trip to Paris when we’ll have a group of savvy designers and clients with us. So, we had to spend one full and happy day wandering around the Puces, chatting with charming dealers and attempting to get a table at a super chic-y chic restaurant. (They take your phone number and if you’re lucky, they’ll call you to tell you a miniscule table has opened up but you need to be there in two minutes flat or they’ll give it away. We got too hungry to wait for the phone call and found a delightful little spot full of vendors, shoppers and delicious food.)
Then, after all that shopping and order-placing, we wanted to do a little homework. What do some of these products look like in their retail stores? So that required a long walkabout the Seventh checking out more bags, scarves and tabletop. And along the way, Laboutin, Chanel, Laduree and the Bon Marche. Over at Les Deux Magots, somebody who’s somebody was having a coffee or a coupe de champagne because the paparazzi was going nuts. We popped into Goyard and Collette along the rue Faubourg St. Honore just to take the pulse of the trends. We people-watched, window-shopped and had a blast walking the city.
The biggest treat for me is always staying at Ann’s petite jewel of an apartment which is perfectly located in the Seventh with a view of the Eiffel Tower. It’s cozy, comfortable, extremely efficient and beyond pretty.
Sitting in the kitchen, writing up orders and having a little glass of bubbles while the Eiffel Tower sparkles is just about the most fun thing we get to do as Huffingtons. We like to sample local restaurants and I finally got to try the famous rice pudding dessert at L’Ami Jean, a quirky little spot near Ann’s apartment. The rice pudding is indescribably delicious and we made friends with a cute lady contractor from the Hamptons who was in Paris scouring ideas for her client’s 30,000 square foot house on the water.
We also had our first ever (and now annual or maybe monthly?) Board Meeting, where Huff Harrington’s board of directors get together to chat about the state of HH. There are only two board members (me and Ann) so we finally got to sit down and talk without the phone ringing, UPS arriving or mounds of paperwork to sort through.
So that was our week in Paris. Magical, marvelous and mesmerizing, as always. And we can’t wait to get back!