Musée Yves Saint Laurent

If the Dior exhibition on at Paris’ Les Arts Décoratifs was right up your street, then the recently opened Musée Yves Saint Laurent is not to be missed either.

The museum is located in the legendary hôtel particular at 5 Avenue Marceau, where Yves Saint Laurent designed his collections for almost 30 years, from 1974 to 2002.

Around fifty designs are on display, alongside sketches, photographs and videos.

Visitors can see the haute couture salons, where clients would be welcomed by after collections were presented to place their orders, as well as the studio where Saint Laurent worked.

Musée Yves Saint Laurent, 5 avenue Marceau 75016


Hermès: Les Mains Sans Sommeil

The Hermès Les Mains Sans Sommeil (The Sleepless Hands) exhibition on at Paris’ Palais de Tokyo is so wonderfully weird, I went to see it twice in one weekend.

It showcases the work of the nine artists that took part in the second cycle of the Artists’ Residencies programme of Hermès’ Fondation d’entreprise. These chosen few, who were mentored by leading figures on the contemporary scene, were able to discover the artisan skills used at Hermès’ workshops, with work created during this time showcased alongside other works by the same artists.

From spoons to shoes via a shop of nightmares, this must-see installation will definitely leave its mark.

On until 7 January at Palais de Tokyo, 13 avenue du président Wilson, 75016.

Hermès celebrates Leila Menchari

If you haven’t yet been to the free Hermès exhibition at Paris’ Grand Palais, make sure you fit in a visit before it closes on 3 December.

The exhibition celebrates the work of Leila Menchari, arguably France’s most famous window dresser, who was responsible for creating the flamboyant window displays of Hermès’ flagship store at 24 rue de Faubourg Saint Honoré.

Dazzling in Dior

“How much does one of those cost?” and “Will I ever be rich enough to afford one?” were the questions that immediately sprung to mind as I salivated over the haute couture gowns on display at the Dior exhibition at Paris’ Musée des Arts Décoratifs (on until 7 January).

Called Christian Dior, Couturier du Rêve, the exhibition celebrates the 70th anniversary of the House of Dior, showcasing more than 300 couture gowns created between 1947 and the present day.

Most of the pieces on display have never been seen before in Paris, coming as they do from Dior’s heritage collection.

Looking at the exquisite craftsmanship and stunning designs, it’s not hard to see why Dior has dressed royalty, first ladies and maybe one day (in my dreams)….Isabelle Andover?

Paris Dark Side tour

IMG_3018.jpgDespite having lived in Paris for many years, there’s still so much about the city I don’t know. So with Halloween fast approaching, my friends and I decided to book ourselves on the Paris Dark Side Tour to see a few sights not in the guide book.

Our tour guide was Justine, who, armed with her history degree and bags of enthusiasm, dug up lots of interesting facts about Paris, the French revolution and writers like Marquis de Sade, Victor Hugo and Jean Paul Marat.

We visited the site of Paris’ first cemetery, the city’s morgue (which apparently used to attract up to 40,000 people gawping at the dead) and learned about the non-Disney version of Victor Hugo’s Notre-Dame de Paris (The Hunchback of Notre Dame). Then it was off to Hotel de Ville, where public executions took place, and on to Place des Vosges, where Justine read us a passage from Peter Weiss’s play Marat/Sade. We finished up, quite fittingly, at Place de la Bastille, the birthplace of the French Revolution.

And once the tour was over, we decided to book ourselves onto the pub crawl, which was also organised by Sandemann New Europe Tours. Because you can take the Brit out of England…

The Dark Side tour is running up until Halloween, so make sure you don’t miss out.

Le Grand Musée du Parfum–Paris’ perfume museum

6D5C3899-BFFD-45FA-95DE-0130CE4A65AFYesterday I went to Le Grand Musée du Parfum, Paris’ recently opened perfume museum that should be on the to-do list of any perfume lover.

Located on the French capital’s rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré in a townhouse that previously housed the headquarters of Christian Lacroix, the perfume museum takes visitors on a multi-sensory fragrance journey. Fragrance enthusiasts can learn about the history and the science of perfume, and all about the role of the perfumer.

You can smell different perfume notes and selected scents–a special mention goes to Frederic Malle’s Portrait of a Lady composed by perfumer Dominique Ropion, which might actually be my new favourite fragrance.

Perfumes are available to smell and buy in the gift shop, as are various books on fragrance.

Le Grand Musée du Parfum
rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré


Belle in Balenciaga

This weekend in Paris was the 33rd edition of Journées Européenes du patrimoine (European Heritage Days), where sites open to the public across the capital included ministries, embassies and Hôtel Matignon, the official residence of the French Prime Minister.
Being a bit of a fashionista, I opted to visit the new head offices of French group Kering, which owns brands including Yves Saint Laurent, Gucci and Alexander McQueen.

Located at 40 rue de Sèvres in Paris’ 7th arrondissement, the new head offices of Kering and Balenciaga is the site of the former Hôpital Laennec and is classified as a ‘monument historique’.

In the chapel there was a contemporary art exhibition from the Pinault Collection, while in the Balenciaga showroom some iconic pieces from the fashion designer were on display.

We also got to peek at the office waiting area, which was as luxurious as you might expect.

All in all, a great visit that made me want to indulge in a bit of retail therapy-lucky then, that the Le Bon Marché department store is just up the road!