It was a delight to see that Merci‘s central space was dedicated to my favourite product designer, Paola Navone. On display until November 15th is ‘Out of Print’, a wonderfully eclectic selection of Navone’s printed crockery. So many beautiful things. I shan’t tell you what made it home with me as I haven’t yet decided what will be self-gifting and what will be Christmas gifting! Suffice to say a select few pieces from this amazing designer were purchased!
This is the second installment in our ‘Stylish Steals’ series of posts. Did you see the first one about the lovely Muji candles? Well, we now move on to a product that I first spotted in a River Island fitting room, looking rather stylish and innovative, and then saw again in Merci who actually sell this wonderful product. Nope, it’s not a hot Autumn fashion trend. In fact this post is about a wonderfully stylish light bulb!
This is no ordinary light bulb. This is the Design Museum’s ‘Design of the Year 2011’ award winning light bulb from Plumen. Aside from being visually incredibly pleasing, this bulb is also highly energy saving and lasts around 8 times longer than traditional bulbs. So its a win win for the aesthetic and the ecologist in your household. We bought a few for “Blink” Towers and they cast a really clean, bright light without that annoying warm up time of standard energy saving bulbs, so they come with our full stamp of approval too.
The Plumen bulb was created by London based company, Hulger in collaboration with industrial designer Samuel Wilkinson. Excitingly, the company is working on some new lines of bulbs to be launched in the coming months, as well as commissioning more lovely lampshades that perfectly compliment the genius light-bulbs.
You may think that the only reason to head to Rue Saint-Honoré is to hit Colette and all the other big name fashion boutiques. Well, I have news for you. After Merci and le Bon Marche, there is another store that I always try to get to when in gay Pareeee, and that’s the Astier de Villatte store at the Louvre end of Rue Saint-Honoré, just along from Cafe Ruc.
Its a tiny store and you could easily pass it by, but I urge you to search it out and pop in to this crazy little emporium if you are in vicinity. Aside from all of the gorgeous, milky glazed, artfully wonky, ultra stylish crockery, you’ll find their amazing scented candles and body products, alongside some quirky curios that change every time I pop in there. It’s always an inspiration, from the store windows to the tiny back room, stacked high with amazing platters and decorative ‘objets’.
If you’re not off to Paris but would still like to have a look at the Astier de Villatte range, then Liberty have a great selection.
For more on our travels, just have a look here.
This time around Merci was dedicated to celebrating Paris, and why not? In it’s very own creative and quirky way the stop was filled with gorgeously graphic, Paris themed displays. There were tables of city guides, Eiffel Towers all over the place, as well as all sorts of cool Paris maps. All tres fabulous.
For more from our travels, just click here.
The home and interiors sections at Merci is as inspiring for me as the fashion floors. This visit, Merci was showcasing some stunning trompe l’oeil style wallpaper that I fell hard for. Following on from the gorgeous Piet Hein Eek designed ‘Scrapwood’ wallpaper, the same company, NLXL, have collaborated with Merci to create a beautiful new line of wallpapers called ‘Brooklyn Tins’. This delivers the look of those stunning New York vintage interiors without the seriously hard work of cladding your walls with those embossed plates- if you can even find a source for them. I’m not completely sure this paper will work on my Victorian conversion, but if you inhabit a more spacious, well, space, then get thee Paris quick smart!
For more on our travels, just click here.
As always the highlight of my Paris visit is arriving at Merci. It’s always the first stop on my shopping agenda. I just can never wait to see what they are focusing their creative attentions on. The central atrium, as you walk in to the store, is an ever changing zone where they create mini sets to share their current obsessions with you.
This time around they were having an Audrey Hepburn moment celebrating her iconic 60’s style, surrounded by leopard print accessories and the movie ‘Breakfast at Tiffanys’ being projected on to one of the walls- with french subtitles which seemed to suddenly make it even chic-er!
For more from our travels, including more about ‘Merci”, just click here.
Its an exciting new focal point that we have noted over the past month or so, and our trip to Paris managed to seal the deal. The back is the new front, ladies and gentlemen. Its official. From the nape of your neck down to the top of your tushy. Whether a peak, a flash, a slash or the full reveal, its all about the back, baby. Its a really exciting addition to some otherwise simplistic silhouettes on many occasions. You see the front view and think “Well, that’s a perfectly nice, but rather plain, Tshirt/ shift dress/ blouse etc” and then you see the rear view and your heart speeds up and your pupils dilate. Its sexy, but in a whole new way. Its subtle, chic and really quite sophisticated.
So, we encourage you to put your back into it, back us up, don’t be backwards in being forwards. Sorry… ahem, we got a little carried away then. Just do it. Its sexy and you’ll look hot. What more is there to say?
So, as we mentioned in yesterday’s post, the colour statement in ‘Merci’ was just gorgeous. There own label offer consisted of stunningly simple, ultra soft Indian cotton and slubby, easy jersey pieces all in a beautiful tonal palette of red, pink and coral tones. There were flashes of neutral and khaki too, but the overall impression was of this gorgeous, almost sunset feeling collection of colours. The silhouettes were all really simplistic, perfect for their theme of ‘Urban Picnic’ which seemed all about indulging in a relaxed beach holiday vibe right in the middle of the city, from cotton poplin triangle bikinis, ruched cotton mini dresses, throw on T shirt dresses and easy fit kaftan style tunics.
We hope that these shots inspire you as much as the face to face experience inspired us. We have tried our best to express the colours through pantones, but nothing quite compares to the varied base cloths, textures and finishes of the originals.
The pantone colours that we have selected to express ‘Merci’s offer are pearl (pantone 17-2601 TPX), freckle (17-1424 TPX), rouge (19-1557 TPX), burgundy (19-1726 TPX), tomato (17-1558 TPX) and apricot (13-1013 TPX).
For more inspirational colour palettes, just click here. Enjoy!
Another billet doux to ‘Merci’ for being the inspirational centre of the retail universe as far as we are concerned. If you haven’t read or heard about ‘Merci’ before, do have a look at our previous posts. Every time we pop in, its a brand new experience as the themes, layout, focal points and product all switch- but overall the mood is still the same- beautifully designed yet functional products for you and your environment, with a touch of humour and lots of personality.
This time, the theme of the store was ‘Urban Picnic’ and this translated as lots of gorgeous tonally dyed, soft Indian cotton and slubby jersey own label womenswear, from bikini’s through to slouchy T-shirt dresses, mixed with easy accessories so that you could be perfectly outfitted when using all of the innovative outdoor cooking and eating products on sale, creating a beachy, holiday vibe right in your own garden or your Parisian townhouse balcony if needed. More of that in our post tomorrow on the gorgeous colours we saw on this visit…
The charitable ethos of this store draws you in, but the product and the creative vibe is what keep you coming back, and back, for more. Every corner you turn is filled with the most beautiful things. We hope these pictures help to share our experience with you.
For more posts about our inspirational travels, just click here. Enjoy!
Twitter came up trumps when we were intrigued to see that someone or something called ‘Little Doodles’ had decided to follow “Blink”. Upon some investigation we came upon a really beautiful website and blog. We do absolutely love stumbling upon a new source of inspiration, and we thought it was only fair to share that inspiration with you too!
Little Doodles are the creations of London based illustrator Kate Wilson. Whether it be the clasp of a quirky handbag being sported by a fashionista on the streets to the perfect cupcake in a patisserie window, the little details that often pass people by play the biggest influence on Kate’s work. Having worked for a range of clients including Marc Jacobs, Marie Claire, The Guardian and our favourite Parisian store, Merci, Kate’s illustrative subjects are diverse and wide ranging with all things bejeweled, nature, fashion and the cute and kitsch playing an integral part of her work. We particularly like her very fashionable animals…
Tell us about your current design crush
Oh so many different crushes at the moment! I’m being drawn towards hand rendered typography (the cheekily named book “Hand Job” by Mike Perry is wonderful) and pattern design at the moment. Jonathan Saunders and Mary Katrantzou being two of my favourite designers whose use of surface design is spectacular. Jewellery design is also a huge interest of mine so I’m constantly on the look out for pieces that are unusual. I’m loving everything at Kabiri and have long been an admirer of Solange Azagury Partridge.
Do you think creativity can exist in the fast fashion womenswear market?
Definitely, fashion is so fast paced that sometimes it’s hard to be creative when trends are so quickly picked up into the mainstream. But that certainly doesn’t stop wonderful designers to keep striving at doing something new.
Which comes first for you, personal style or trends?
For me it’s personal style. There’s nothing quite like reflecting yourself in the way you dress but inevitably I think trends filter in to this. Even if you do follow trends it’s always great to add your own little twist to them.
What are you currently working on and how is it shaping up?
A variety of personal illustration commissions (I get a lot of requests for customized little birds!) as well as some freelance jewelery design which is always a nice departure when I want to have a break from the illustration side of work.
What or who are your longest standing design influences?
Paul Smith is always an inspiration to me (his book is sitting open on my desk as I type) because of the way he injects his own personality into everything he does.
How would you describe your design aesthetic?
I would say it’s quite personal and delicate. I’ve often been told that it reflects how I look (I’m of Kylie proportions height wise!) so I suppose everything I do is on a small scale. The thought of drawing on a huge canvas rather than a teeny sketchbook is quite daunting! I like to have a handmade quality to my work and love the idea that people want to keep it because it makes them smile.
When you can’t get your creative wiggle on, is there somewhere that you go to that’s guaranteed to get your creativity flowing again?
The V&A wins hands down every time. So much to see under one magnificent roof plus the courtyard in summer is the perfect spot for a bit of people watching in the sun.
What’s the best thing about your job?
Being able to do what I love as a job is incredibly fulfilling. I’m very lucky to be in the position that I get to indulge my creative side for work. The fact that it makes people laugh and smile makes me very happy indeed!
Who would you love to work with, past or present?
I’d love to collaborate with some more fashion designers, also I think everything Katie Hillier does is fantastic. I’m really keen on branching out into jewelery design so to see how someone like Elsa Peretti or Coco Chanel went about creating their pieces would be fascinating.
Any favourite websites or blogs, aside from “Blink” of course!
I love browsing through fashion and design blogs, it would be difficult to narrow them down! I actually really enjoy finding a beautiful blog, and then coming across it at a later stage after not reading it for a bit. It’s like rediscovering something special.
I feel most creative when…
I’m roaming the streets of London, people watching, picking up magazines, popping in and out of shops and then coming home with a head full of inspiration.
Thanks for the great interview Kate and please keep us posted on whats going on with you. We’ve added a link to the Little Doodles blog on our ‘recommended blogs’ section, so we’ll be regularly dropping in there too!