January 17, 2013

Les flaneuses parisiennes are back

So the sales are on in Paris and the shops are full of people. Perfect time to check out the museums. With the Parisians shopping and the tourists at home waiting for warmer weather, what better time to nip into the exhibitions I have missed in December due to too much Christmas action/distraction.

My explorer friends "Les flaneuses parisiennes" and I hit the Musée des Arts Decoratives and skipped the short line since we had ordered our tickets online. I love modern technology.

Forever the fashionista that is not a fashion victim, I chose to see Fashioning Fashion: Two Centuries of European Fashion 1700–1915, a collection of ancient costumes and fabrics reflecting the principal trends in fashion in Europe from the 18th century to the early 20th century. The display presented, chronologically and thematically, almost a hundred complete male and female outfits, mainly from France, England and Italy and all with their accessories, retracing the evolution of vestimentary taste, forms and techniques.

Two hours later, with a rumbling tummy, we sat down for lunch at the empty restaurant "Le Saut du Loup" and toasted to our flaneuse friend in Michigan that had - alas - only spent one year with us sauntering across Paris. It was a pleasure to have the place to ourselves. Admittedly the weather was dismal but the Louvre's empty grounds were an unusal sight we thoroughly enjoyed.

Full of beans after a delicious Café Gourmand we set off for yet another exhibition and trailed after an English-speaking guide to learn about the creations of the legendary jewellers Van Cleef & Arpels.

We admired over 400 pieces that have made the fame of Van Cleef & Arpels since 1906. Their image is still epitomised by the famous ‘Zip’ necklace, the first of which was inspired by the Duchess of Windsor and made in 1951. Maria Callas, Jackie Onassis, Elizabeth Taylor, Grace Kelly, Farah Diba Pahlawi, Evita Peron were all once the prouf owners of one (or more) of these 400 pieces exhibited. My personal favourite was Marlene Dietrich's diamond-and-ruby jarretière bracelet.

Maybe one day... I will float down a red carpet amongst dazzling flashbulbs and I will be able to add my name to the list of impressive, strong-headed, avant-guard and unconventional women wearing a piece of exquisit jewelry and making history ... in my dreams.


  1. Oh I would love to have seen the Fashioning Fashion exhibition. It closes a week before I arrive in Paris. I will look out for something similar instead.

  2. I hope your Paris trip lived up to your expectations!


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