April 13, 2018

Putting on the Ritz

The Ritz Paris reopened its grand doors two years ago after a whopping four-year renovation, and it's now decided to sell off 10,000 pieces of furniture and objets d'art that no longer suit its shiny new decor.

The hotel has enlisted the help of auction house Artcurial to host an exhibition, The Ritz Universe, which of course I could not miss. With hubby by my side we took our lunch hour to browse through the various lots up for grabs.

Curated by Vincent Darré, the self-proclaimed Dandy, individually selected each piece from the Ritz’s archives, actively entering into the aura of mythologisation that the hotel exudes. ‘I let my imagination run free with this project,’ says Darré, ‘I conceived of it like one would a film.’ While his principal inspiration is ‘the way Paris would have been perceived from the other side of the Atlantic by Americans during the 1950s’, Darré has also produced a series of watercolour illustrations of each lot, as well as various hand-painted wallpapers which provide thematic Cocteau-esque backdrops to each suite of the exhibition.

We swooned over one highlight after another as we walked from room to room but the first bathtub ever installed at the Ritz Paris must have taken the prize as most extraordinary object on auction with an estimate of between $1,900 and $3,000.

Items from the Windsor Suite – where the Duke of Windsor and Wallis Simpson holed up – are also up for grabs, though they’re likely replica, and guide prices start from just $50 for some lots. A gilded bed on which Audrey Hepburn lounged in the film Love in the Afternoon, and a bedboard and lacquered bedside tables from the Coco Chanel Suite got my imagination going.

So let me just relax on crescent-shaped ochre velvet bar sofas from the Ritz bar pretending to be Coco Chanel and drift off into la-la-land as all this luxury is making me feel slightly light-headed!

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