Wednesday
Jun222011

Get In My Closet: Between the Sheets Trunk Show & Interview


Above: Forty Winks, Between the Sheets items,  and Layla L'obatti (with the very same shorts 
I picked up for some seriously chic lounging)

Last weekend Forty Winks hosted Between the Sheets designer Layla L'obatti for an "intimate" trunk show.

How could I resist a chance to swing by my favourite local lingerie shop, meet the lovely designer and founder Layla, and take advantage of special discounts? In my opinion, the perfect activity away from the hullabaloo and parade traffic downtown. I also never miss a recommendation from my advisor at Style on the Couch, who continually steers me in the right direction when it comes to lingerie.

Ty (my chihuahua and shopping partner in crime) and I made the walk down to Harvard Square together, sipped some champagne, picked up a few frilly items, and had the opportunity to chat with Layla.

After studying at FIT and honing her skills at other intimates brands (Tommy Hilfiger and Nicole Miller), Layla decided to step out on her own with Between the Sheets Lingerie. The brand combines seriously chic and luxe deco inspired pieces for the lingerie minded, along with comfortable and cute lounge ware.

Layla was game to answer a few questions for us about the line and of course, go deep, with Five Questions with Mon Petit Chou Chou.

Because everyone is either a macaron or a cupcake person.

How did you decide to start designing lingerie?
I began designing lingerie in 2005 at the Fashion Institute of Technology where I studied fashion design and majored in intimate apparel. I saw my first vintage chemise at the museum there and it was love at first sight and I've been designing ever since. 

Starting your own line is such a leap of faith- how did you finally make this big decision?
For me there was this moment at my corporate design job where our head designer had left and I was left managing design for at one point three lines, and when I asked for a raise after a couple of months of proving I could handle the load my boss said he didn't know what I did. It was an eyebrow raising moment for me, but it gave me the push to have faith in myself. I thought "Why not do this for me instead". When we got our first press hit in Marie Claire and I saw my company's name I thought... I wonder if he knows what I do now- I know I do!

If you weren't designing what would you be doing?
I'm sure some sort of craft with my hands- painting, throwing pottery, or gardening are at the top of my list. 

Fabric you most like working with?
I love working with lace - it can be used as a trim or a fabric, and there are stretch and rigid varieties so it always proves an exciting challenge of how to honor one when I fall in love and decide to use it in a collection

Any sage advice to woman about buying lingerie?
Buy for yourself, buy what you will love to wear, your partner will appreciate the confidence you exude when you wear it no matter what the piece. 


5 Questions with MPCC:

Macaron or cupcake?
Macaron!

Favourite scent?
Lavender for the home, but my favorite perfume is Creed- inspired by Audrey Hepburn- light citrusy floral and not overpowering.

Last item of clothing you purchased?
Other than stealing my own BTS samples a Felina strapless from Forty Winks!

Product you could never live without?
Benefit's High Beam - I use it on my cheeks for that perfect glow all year round.

Top 3 songs played on your ipod?
At the moment I can't get these out of my head or off my playlist:
A Fine Frenzie - Electric twist
Florence and the Machine - Cosmic Love
The Bird and the Bee- My Love

Monday
Jun202011

Peter Lippmann for Christian Louboutin




I got goosebumps when I first saw the images that photographer Peter Lippmann produced for the latest Christian Louboutin campaign. Hauntingly beautiful. References to great masters and works of art combined with my drug of choice, beautiful shoes. This stuff is just so good, it makes me want to paint, create, and the obvious buy shoes.

Louboutin accomplishes a number of things with these ads. He reaffirms his "foothold" among the masters, quite literally, by placing his creations in the paintings of the masters. This year's campaign focuses on the woman and her shoe. They demonstrate that many different kinds of women can find their personal work of art in Louboutin. Genius. You don't just buy a red soled heel, you buy a work of art, not for your wall but for your feet.

This is not the first time that Lippmann, an American born still-life photographer working out of Paris for the last 15 years, has worked with Louboutin. A previous and equally artful campaign placed lovely Louboutin's in the mix with still life masterpieces. Whether your mood be confectionery, dark, classical or renaissance, they have the shoe for you.





This reinterpretation of classical art appeals to me on such a visceral level. All art has been done before. You are influenced by someone, somehow, whether you acknowledge it or not. No where is this allegory more apparent than in fashion....where designers often rely on the work of previous masters for inspiration (or more blatant copying as the case may be with the Forever 21's and H and M's of the world).

The Lippmann photos immediately called to mind the master of ironic reinterpretation, Cindy Sherman, woman of a thousand faces. She was is certainly one of the most famous, clever and decidedly feminist artists to re-appropriate the work of the masters for mass consumption. Sherman's History Series positions her in many roles, as photographer, designer, make up artist, subject and as Judith, beheading Holofernes, and Carravaggio's Bacchus.



Images: Cindy Sherman

They evoke a reaction and isn't that what art, good design, clever ad campaigns 
or fabulous shoes should do?

Friday
Jun172011

On Shopping in Paris

Paris is truly a city after my own heart. Culture, gourmet food, beautiful architecture, and of course, all the shopping. You know I would be lying if I said I didn't partake in some of the cities bounty.

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Antique shops, used book stalls, rare book stores, clothing stores, and galleries abound. We had a petit giggle at Maison du Poupee, for the obvious reason, though it translates roughly as a "doll shop", did some window shopping and even found a little bit of home, abroad.

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A stop at the new Hermes in the Rive Gauche (the first one to open on this side of the Seine after 183 years on the right bank!) was mandatory.  The new store is over 15,800 square feet of stunning design and breathtaking luxury. The newest outpost of Hermes took up residence on the site of the Art Deco Lutetia swimming pool, a 1935 landmark, and what was home to one of the cities oldest swimming clubs. Expect more on this incredible space and what I took home later. This store requires an entire post devoted to it.

Check out my Tumblr for some cool images of Hermes iconic home design from the new store.

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Just a hop, skip, and a jump up the street from Hermes is the grande dame of department stores in Paris, Le Bon Marche. Often regarded as the first department store in the world, the name translates as "the good market" or "the good deal".  Originally founded as a small store, the current space was commissioned by Louis Auguste Boileau in 1867. Louis Auguste's son continued to run the store and building, even consulting with the company of Gustave Eiffel for components of its construction. A final touch up and expansion in the 1920's give us the masterpiece and house of worship of all that is French fashion.

Above, my first stop, obviously my beloved Isabel Marant. I wandered my way through Vanessa Bruno (debating a sparkly tote), Paul and Joe (adorable print dress perhaps?), and ended up in Erotokritos, where I bought a dainty shirt with skulls all over it....sure to make an appearance some time soon with more details about this new brand discovery. After shopping, drooling over things I couldn't afford, and lunch at the in store cafe we were off.

Image: Laduree

After sending husband back to the hotel with some bags, I took the metro up to the Champs Elysees to meet the fabulous Milla, of Not Just Another Milla, for tea and pastry at Laduree. The Fleur d'Oranger Religieuse to be exact. Delicieux!

Milla and I made our way down the Champs Elysees post tea, had a lovely chat, and popped into a few stores. One store I did not need to go into was the one EVERYONE was dying to see. What could the source of these crowds be? All the photos? A traffic jam on the Champs Elysees people!

Why, it's Abercrombie and Fitch of course. Complete with requisite cute models and brand ambassadors milling around out front. They do seem less sporty and slightly more hip than the American AF elite if it's any consolation. It would seem that AF (which I am loathe to admit I actually worked for out of high school) has taken Paris by storm. I was shocked to see even Ines de la Fressange mention it in her book Parisian Chic: A Style Guide, when she praised their t-shirts for fit and comfort. Hell hath frozen over.

The irony....I go to Paris to soak in the chic and all they want is the American collegiate prep I long to keep buried in my employment past.

Wednesday
Jun152011

Ann Taylor Concept @ Chestnut Hill

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Above: The new "Ann". She likes chic separates and whoa, can we talk about the jewelry? I NEED everything snake and turquoise in my closet.

Today we take a mini-break from my adventures in France and return to current day Boston for a post in two parts: part 1, shopping & part 2, shopping spoils in action. Gone two weeks abroad and I come home to a whole new Ann Taylor in my back yard at Chestnut Hill! Quelle bonne surprise!

The Ann Taylor that lived in Chestnut Hill for years received a full face lift and fashion forward makeover. It's like Ann's younger, slightly more fun, and slightly more chic sister moved in- giving us the debut of the first new Ann Taylor concept store in the Boston area.

This breath of fresh air is part and parcel of a "brand rejuvenation", coinciding with the appointment of CFDA member Lisa Axelson as head of design in 2009. The new store layout and decor is simply refreshing- crisp white backdrops and cascading crystal lights allow the clothing to really stand out. I arrived to music, cocktails, cupcakes, and crowds, crowds, crowds. I also had chance to meet with the delightful Becky Zemon (Manager of Marketing and Strategy for Ann Taylor, pictured above announcing the winner of some fab prizes) about the new "Ann" to get a personal tour of the new space.

Low and behold, one glass of champagne later, I walked away with a fabulous black silk romper. It is light as air and comfort to the max. Did I mention it was also an additional 40% off the already marked down price? Probably the only way it made it home with me after all my French shopping.....

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Above: Ann Taylor jumpsuit, YSL tribute sandals, J Crew necklace, Forever 21 bracelet and belt.

Monday
Jun132011

J'aime les Macarons: Pierre Herme

Immediately upon arrival at our hotel in Paris, my husband and I set out to explore our new neighborhood- on the edge of the Jardin du Luxembourg, a stones throw from the Pantheon, in between the Latin Quarter and St. Germain des Pres in the 6th arrondissment. Home away from home.

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Armed and loaded for serious shopping. Can you believe I got this skirt at Forever 21 for $12.99?!

I have been to the Jardin du Luxembourg before, but never came cross the Medici Fountain. Only in Paris will you keep coming back to the same beautiful places and discover something different every time. Built in 1630 by Marie de'Medici, widow of King Henry IV of France and regent of King Louis XIII, it was moved in 1864 from its original location to where it now rests. It's a beautiful monument of Italian mannerism and influence in the heart of the Rive Gauche.

Before our afternoon of shopping could commence, we needed an immediate stop at Pierre Herme, 72 Rue Bonaparte "the jewelry shop" boutique, to fuel up on proper sustenance: macarons and sugar.

Interestingly, Pierre Herme got his start not in Paris, but in Tokyo, where the original Pierre Herme opened at the New Otani Hotel in 1998. The first Parisian location followed in 2001 and then subsequently the brand continued to expand with a second Parisian location opening in 2004. His empire is now truly global, shipping everywhere, ever growing, as is his reputation for creating to-die-for confectioneries.

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Miam! I Heart PM! J'aime les macarons!

Having already sampled the macarons of Laduree a few times, I was eager to see how these compared. I went immediately for my favourite flavour, caramel, as a baseline for my taste test. What do you think the verdict was?

In my delicious research, I found the Herme macarons to be larger, slightly more substantial, a bit more enterprising and bold with flavour- the clear winner in my humble opinion. Don't get me wrong, I would not turn my noes up at a Laduree macaron, but I think I prefer Pierre Herme of the two. They are like mini-hamburgers of sugar and delight (is it sacrilege to describe them that way?). Have you had both? I am eager to hear some additional feedback on this sugary debate!

Most important, where should I go next on my macaron tours?

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My spare box of macarons for later!

Husband sided with me in the macaron taste test. Though he was not amused at the price for such a petit box of macarons: 25 euros (about $37 dollars)! In my mind, money well spent and a scrumptious way to kick off our stay in Paris, no?

72, rue Bonaparte
75006 PARIS
Tel : +33 (1) 43 54 47 77
Open Monday to Sunday, 10 AM to 7 PM
Saturday, open to 7:30 PM