Fashion designers must cover the art world; it's our job. My latest trip to Paris, the "City of Love," was all about art, and I met my blog partner, Sue Bloomberg, who came prepared with a list of must see galleries. I would keep my eye out for fashion.
Paris is a dream in the summer, never hot for too long; cool breezes in the evening and beautiful young couples that look gorgeous even from behind. They kiss on street corners, in doorways, on the riverbank and they especially kiss at breakfast in the corner cafes, saying goodbye before going off to work. Kissing is a big part of Paris life, especially in the summer.
We began our tour at the Dries Van Noten shop on Quai de Conti and we fell in love with the most perfect coat for fall. The shop was so charming I want to move in and live there. Clothes, books, shoes, bags and deep couches with new patterned African inspired pillows all welcome you. Dries is an artist from Belgium, a great tailor who makes clothes that are both classic and modern yet very wearable, which is not an easy task.
Sue had never been inside Dries as there are no shops next door, only the Acadamie Francaise, with its glorious golden dome. The coat she tried on resembled one that I designed in the seventies -- but Dries's new coat was belted and had a modern sleeve with a surprise pleat, very Balenciaga. This man can sew! Sue had to have it, and also found some soft leather boots, with a new modern art sculpted heel. This shop is a must not miss!
We began our art gallery tour at the 208 Gallerie on Boulevard St Germain, where you are greeted at the front door by a large red dog by another Belgian artist, William Sweetlove. His oversized plastic animals are in modern entree halls all over Europe. Inside Galerie 208 are more of Sweetlove 's affordable "Lego" plastic art pieces in the same neon colors that are hot for fall fashion -- especially rouge, electric orange, pink and chrome yellow.
We found this blue eyed beastly leopard on an acid green ground, the work of Austrian Helmut Koller, the "master of neon," in the Galerie Dumonteil on Rue Universite in St Germain de Pres. There are paintings of oversized wild animals, hippos, elephants all with neon eyes, and electric colored grounds, similar to the summer prints in the fashion windows.
Sue loves animals and is soon opening an animal shelter in her New York countryside. I also rescue animals on my north Florida farm, so animals in art are important to visit for both of us. The Grand Palais had just closed a first ever entire exhibit on Animale -- their meaning in the history of art and their profound impact on human life.
The cheese plate delivered by our French waiter was the best in Paris, six different cheese and crusty fresh baquettes, accompanied by salade Nicoise and chilled rose, similar to the expensive Whispering Angel rose we had the night before at 21 Rue Mazarine. Lunch at the Compoir Turenne at 70 Rue de Turenne was quick, inexpensive and embodied all that Paris has that no other city can offer -- perfect food, perfect light, architecture, and happy faces of people in cafes, enjoying life. Artists walk by all day holding paintings. It is the perfect place to meet one!
We discovered in the Rue Debelleyme in the 3rd arrondissement, galleries, fashion, cafes and courtyard architecture to dazzle the eye.
Dresses on the new boutique, Rue Debelleyme are right out of the futuristic Wong Kar Wei movie, 2046, that won an Oscar. I loved the robot-woman from the film's dream sequence and here she is in a bias cut multi gold zipper dress.
Voyage, Voyage by left wing German artist, Daniel Richter at Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, 7 Rue Debelleyme is a study of man's struggle in eternal time, a new symbolic-expressionist artist whose work also combines the neon colors for fall fashion.
It the courtyard at Thaddeus Ropac Gallery I saw the sign of the studio of Adam Kimmel, the son of my friend, the painter Claudia Aranow. Adam, whom I met at two years old, recently held his men's wear fashion show in the Ropac gallery. It is a large and beautiful space for art and fashion.
The Galerie Perrotin 76 Rue de Turenne around the corner had a magical only in Paris courtyard with a surprise sculpture and a special show inside. After seeing the overwhelming work of Farhad Moshiri's Fire of Joy show, we had to leave the art scene. It was a hard art act to follow.
Farhad Moshiri lives in Teheran and studied art in LA and lived there for 12 years. Farhad went home to Iran to find beaders and sewers to do his oversized paintings that are entirely beaded by hand. His prices are already in the $200,000 range, which is a great start for a thirty year old, with a concept and a technique that is impossible to match (as he has all the great sewers). To see his work is to want to own it, and have it hang in your glass loft room with big white walls and bright colored 50's modern furniture.
After God and Einstein we needed tea! One of my favorites is the cafe on Rue de Roi de Siècle in the Marais. They create new pastries all the time; this week it is pistachio cake with caramelized pears. After tea and cakes we strolled over to the place de Voges, the oldest square in Paris from 1605, where we bought glorious teas in tins at Dammann with Sue buying her favorite Assam Tea and myself stocking up on Rooibos, the red bush tea that I fell in love with in Namibia.
We crossed the Seine at the Pont des Arts at sunset, and I photographed the lover's keys that you too can attach when you come to Paris.
Vicky Tiel began designing clothes forty years ago in Paris and still owns a boutique there. Her NEW Collection for HSN is available on TV and online, her couture at Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman Marcus, and her perfumes are carried in Perfumania. Her memoir, "It's All About the Dress: What I Learned in 40 Years About Men, Women, Sex, and Fashion" was published by St. Martin's Press in August 2011.