Today's challenge came from an Australian friend: "Define Kitsch!". So, my German friend and I took one glance at each other and smiled. How do you explain the meaning of Kitsch, especially if you actually LIKE it? Bright, fun, out-of-ordinary, artistic, ornate, are adjectives we came up with. We coincided that Kitsch was not a pejorative word even though the dictionary classifies it as "design considered to be in poor taste".
This entire conversation was taking place at the mythical Plaza Athenée, famed for its Haussmann-style façade lined with elegant red awnings overlooking prestigious Avenue Montaigne. They will be putting a selection of the hotel's furniture and decorative items for auction next week and we couldn't resist a peek viewing. How could we, knowing that the famous guests staying at the Athénée over the years included Mata Hari (who was arrested here), Josephine Baker, Rudolph Valentino, Grace Kelly, Jean Harlow, Gary Cooper and the legendary Jackie Kennedy?
If I had to choose a piece to take home, it would definitely be the bar. It actually changes colours like a Christmas tree. Does that sound like Kitsch to you? Needless to say I wouldn't have anywhere to put it. But it's always nice to imagine yourself sipping a cocktail with Josephine Baker.
Walking out of the hotel - and off my cloud - I came up with the perfect lunch proposal. What better place to take my friends off to, than the infamous Miss Ko?
The restaurant’s name and identity are based around the character of miss Ko, a young, sexy but eternally mysterious symbol of Asia, and the embodiment of its traditions and its strangeness. It's a place where cultures collide and fantasy rules, where Phillipe Starck has channelled his limitless creative madness featuring a most unusual 26m long table running the length of the restaurant, entirely made from digital screens, each playing news channels from all over Asia.
Parisians might call it design or a tasteful mix of high tech but if you ever need an example of Kitch, THIS is the place to seek, by joining Starck on his psychedelic trip.