Sunday, March 30, 2014

Guerlain Creations

There are dozens more Guerlain photos to show you from my visit on Tuesday. A lovely thing was to leave with these surprise gifts. I tried to match the strawberry red of the lipstick #68 in watercolor...
Strawberries/fraises are out in full force in Paris starting with the 'Stonehenge'-sized Gariguettes in the Metro. Honestly have you ever seen fresh strawberries advertised in the New York subway?
It's probably too early to taste but they look so pretty and a sure sign of Spring.
Yesterday I spotted the first Frasier gateau in Storer's window on rue Montorgeuil.
Back to Tuesday's visit. Who knew Guerlain invented the stick dispenser? Before Jacques Guerlain came up with the idea everyone carried around little pots of color. We must indeed give thanks.
Our guide on Tuesday was Guerlain's inhouse historian. This fabulous large black onyx tortoise perfume bottle was recreated for the new opening.
If you can't afford the 45k price tag you could buy a somewhat similar chocolate tortoise at La Mere de Famille for a mere 13,50€.
Another heavenly special creation - this bejeweled giant bottle of Shalimar
For another whiff of exquisite gems go to the new exhibit at Musee Maillol of Le Tresor de Naples. I'll report on it soon...
I got more detailed photos of the Guerlain bee bottles in Galeries Lafayette yesterday
Looking up, the Belle Epoch ceiling is the perfect setting for bottles with the scalloped 'hive' pattern don't you think?
More hive pattern on fans from the new Créations collections.
Designed by the girls at La Maison Duvelleroy.
Another addition, silk scarves made of the heaviest gauge silk from Italy.
The Shalimar/Taj Mahal story is beautifully illustrated in this pattern.
Yesterday I was feeling brave or maybe just fed up with gathering papers for my upcoming visa appointment so I returned to 68 Champs-Élysées for a Flash makeup session to match my new gift 68 lipstick.
Head Makeup director, Olivier Eschaudemaison is world renown for his innovations and artistry. Why not get a little renovation myself..?
I was lucky to get one of Olivier's personal team members/equipe, Maxime to do me over.
And it took every brush in his makeup case.
*WARNING! ALERT!
Pictures of yours truly coming up.
You may want to scroll down fast.
Ooopla
Maxime did wonders with my eyebrows. I was advised to spend future Sundays practicing. Will do!
 Scented fine leather gloves (first brought to France by Catherine de Medici from Italy. Her italian chefs are responsible for introducing macarons to France!) are in the Créations Collection.  Top nez/nose/perfumer of the house, Thierry Wasser chose 2 perfumes for the glove linings: his La Petite Robe Noire and Mitsouko. I drew his portrait here and here. You can return in 6 months to refresh the scent.
By the way there are still some Guerlain #68 scented touches (paper perfume testers) and labels you can sew into your coat or dress available, if you hurry up and buy a subscription of PB monthly sketch letters on Etsy. And THANK YOU La Table de Nana for the lovely post on the sketch letters!
Last night while walking over the bridge, along came a bateau mouche lit up in #68 strawberry red! Who knew?

Friday, March 28, 2014

Lunch with Coco Jobard

You've heard me mention Food stylist AND Food writer Coco Jobard, also collaborator and creator of no less then 68 cookbooks! Yesterday I had lunch at her place in a village-like area in the 20th arrondissement.
 
It's known as the 'campagna of Paris'. I quickly got lost, calling out Coco's names under many windows and punching in her code on many doorways. Doesn't look like England?
 
Did I mention Bear came along? Finally we found the right place and it was full of birds.
 
I first noticed Coco because of her fabulously exotic necklaces.
 
I even tried to make my own out of candy...silly me ;)
 
When I found her stunning collection lurking in the bathroom out came the camera.
 
I'm sure Coco would love the new exhibition of Moroccan jewelry at the Foundation Pierre Berge
 
Back to FOOD. Coco is a superb cook if you've started following her blog and you should.
 
Bear was busy getting acquainted with Willis in the bedroom...ahem
 
What a wonderful kitchen Coco has! A rare sight in Paris where you're lucky if you have a bar counter and a mini-bar hotel fridge.
 
Italian Saltimbocca was cooking. It tasted like I haven't had since Italy.
 
Plus an aubergine tomato gratin and also sautéed red peppers. Miam miam
 
We were joined by designer Sarah who brought the lovely flowers
 
I was asked if I would like to eat off the Georges Sand plate? Yes please.
 
And a Japanese coaster with a little rat artist painting...how appropriate.
 
For dessert I got the radish plate, one of my favorite French vegetables.
 
Coco made irresistable crispy biscuits called 'Les Seches', her mother's recipe and on her blog here.
 
To go with the biscuits first of the season cut-up Gariguette strawberries with a touch lemon rind and sugar - perfect. And a perfect Springie lunch. Bear wanted to stay.
 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Guerlain du 68

Yesterday was one of those floating-on-air days even though it was raining cats and dogs and grey as can be in Paris. Richard and I got invited to see all the new changes at 68 Champs-Élysées, Guerlain's flagship store and 4 years in the making. You really must visit if you come to Paris. It's like an aromatherapy treatment from the moment we entered the door.
"Luxe, calme et volupte".
 
We got a tour from top to bottom
 
One of the icons of Guerlain is the sun king symbol from Versailles.
 
The building is heritage designated with at least 17 different marbles represented on the ground floor. This is an original display from the first days of the Guerlain shop in 1828.
 
A special promotion of make-up sessions for 3 weeks were going on, on the ground floor but next week flowers and a green lawn will come out for Spring.
 
The wrought iron banisters are original. You have to look at every detail in this building or you'll miss so much beauty.
 
On the top floor is the very private spa institute.
 
Bear insisted on coming along and would have liked to take all the massages and custom treatments right then and there.
 
The room is full of orchids, another symbol of the Guerlain mark.
 
A giant orchid sculpture is in the private makeup room upstairs. Guerlain has a long history of collaborations with artist like Diego Giacometti and Christian Berard. The salons display both perfumes and many artists works.
 
The next floor down is the perfume floor totally redone since I last visited. The fabulous American architect/designer Peter Marino was in charge of creating all the changes.
 
Reflective walls contain niches with a constantly changing display of historic artifacts. Did you know Guerlain's first products were soaps? Jacques Guerlain went to England to learn the art of soap making.
 
This perfume box illustrates Paris in the early days of Guerlain. Their first shop was on rue de Rivoli, but their factory was by the l'Arc de Triumph in what was then farm land. To make deliveries to the shop they had to pay a tax to enter the city limits!
 
Each object has a story to tell. This perfume was created as an homage to Diaghilev of the Ballet Russe.
 
His famous bow tie became the shape of the bottle. Guerlain still has ties to the Bolshoi Ballet.
 
This doorway was designed by Christian Berard of strips of fabric though from a distance it looks like paint and much like the stage sets he designed for Diaghilev's ballets.
 
On the same floor a huge perfume room. You choose your perfume and colored ribbons to go on the iconic Napoleonic bee bottle. Guerlain is celebrating the 160th anniversary of le flacon "aux abeilles" released in 1853 and made for Empress Eugenie. Bee hive patterns are subtly incorporated throughout Guerlain's headquarters.
 
However does one choose?
 
Many artworks were created for the new renovations like these giant metal bees.
 
Bear liked the new children's perfume in a bear bottle.
 
A brand new restaurant/tea salon has opened down on the lower level called The 68 and designed to look like the doorway upstairs by Christian Berard. The teas are blended to match certain perfumes within a seasonal context.
 
The chef of The 68, Guy Martin has seasonal pastries I thought you'd want to see.
 
Naturally a special perfume, Parfum du 68 was created for the grand opening by head perfumer, Thierry Wasser. This is the spray and Richard and I were given a bottle. It's absolutely lovely.
  'The  scent, floral and woody, plays off the contrast between warm and cool spices and harmoniously blends everlasting flower and rose in a unique floral duet. A bouquet of heliotrope and benzoin envelops the fragrance, leaving behind a trail that is irresistibly Guerlain'.  
Bear is quite taken with it and refuses to let it out of his sight. If you subscribe today to the sketch letters I'll include souvenir Guerlain paper touchés scented with the new 68 perfume. Your letter will smell out of this world I promise.