Posts Tagged ‘A Day in Paris


The Paris Summer Shoe Sale of 2004

Having earlier exhausted my trusty male assistant at the Paris Flea Market, (he not possessing the killer instinct or endurance needed for shoe shopping). I like a lioness on the plains of Africa set out to hunt. I ventured out alone as I did not have any women companions, nor gay compadres to continue this ritual, in the Mecca  of  one of the most important places on earth to shop for fashion. (Mind you Spain is good to.)

 Edie waving goodbye.

Edie Waving Goodbye to her Family to Shop.

The famous summer SHOE SALES are happening right now in Paris just before everyone leaves and the city for summer vacation. I have reserved a different kind of budget for this, a much different kind of shopping. (Ancient Rome’s markets kept appearing before my eyes). Armies of Parisian women of all ages, social rank, race, religion, attractiveness, political, intellectual and economic level – hit the streets this week to buy their fish.

 Paris is a living, moving art show.

Edie in front of the Eiffel Tower 

Edie in Paris.

It is all before you. Casual, funky, elegant, functional, sexy, chic, understated, tacky, sassy, unconcerned,  arty, expensive, political (yes, it’s possible to make someone shame or guilt with your shoes!). Powerful, outrageous or cute the women of Paris know what’s important and they don’t let you down. Everywhere you look, under every silhouette is the shoe you expect. I followed women all over – taking notes on the “way” they put it all together. African women, to find out where to get the best flats and low heels. Young intellectual middle class girls to see the new “Mary-Jane “, the coifed, elegant matrons (to get that pump I needed for that turquoise silk skirt I had scored). Latinos for sexy, Scandinavians for practical, and then the quintessential beautiful French girls, for every other type of shoe you NEVER would have thought was necessary yourself, but when you see these beauties wearing them – you shrug your shoulders and think “but of course how lovely !”

Edie shopping  

Edie shopping.

We battled together side by side at the sale tables, the ladies of Paris and I. I would like to say that my involvement was purely of research value, (me being in the “retail business”), and to experience the other end of the equation is so valuable …or understanding how to be “inspired to buy” so to speak, but I admit to you all that in fact …….I JUST HAD A GREAT TIME – and deliriously enjoyed my acquisitions. (This where I do some sort of ritual victory dance….and rush home and arrange the things AAAALLLLL over my bed gleefully stroking and trying things on- this is often the BEST part of this experience.)

Vive La Shopping


Edie and Family in Paris 2004

Ohhh… Paris and ShoppingWhat a place to perform this basic animal instinct of hunting and gathering. 

  One of my goals here in Paris, is to hit the fleamarkets, and hunt for treasures  for the Edie Hats renovation to start in January when we get back, and with Paris being the main inspiration of the design…we have a budget set for “Paris things”. Paris has always been part of my imagination – my “taste”. Even as a child and still to this day everything I gather around me tends to have a certain flavor, exactly like my mother.

Edie in Paris 

 It is the Edie Hats signature look. Richard and I are going to partner on the design of the store. We are very different. In battling out these differences we create balanced design. My vision is so visceral …explosive almost…and he sees so much more from a pragmatic or balanced view. We have always said we come from different sides of the Dionysian and Apollonian views – where they meet is where we meet. I have a picture of what it’s all going to look and feel like when I put it all together at the store, and that comes from feel and intuition. It stretches Richards limit when spend money with no actual drawn out plan – just what’s in my head. He (and we) need a spreadsheet. So a budget has to be arrived at. Through experience…he trusts that I somehow, understand the right combination of “real” stuff, and the mixed up – junky theatrical wizardry, that intrigues people about the store (and more importantly – interests them  to go inside).  

So in a very ordinary cafe outside the flea market, we talked colors, concepts, budgets (how long would it take to pay off what I spend as we were borrowing the money). Then….armed with all the info I could take in … we hit the endless stalls (for we were in the one of the  biggest flea markets in the world) I searched for the right pieces of “smutz” for the Edie Hats – Moulin Rouge look that we are after. Deep into the market we trek. Past all of the booths spilling forth every possible cheap copy of anything you can imagine. Piles and piles of African printed fabric, bad cd copies, and really really cheesy clothing. We ran the gauntlet past the badgering sellers of stolen goods, to the antique section. And here we find OLD, very pricey art and treasures; mixed in with very old and quite expensive junk. 

 Edie in the Paris Flea Market 

What I am after is the moderately expensive , really old junk. There was every possible perfect thing, that was drop dead fantastic. Five thousand euro for drapes that looked like they came straight out of King Louis’ bedroom, one thousand for a lamp that made you feel like you honestly couldn’t live the rest of your life, never seeing the light shine through that hand painted glass. Seven hundred (a real deal) for what appears to be an ornate 17th century can opener! There was furniture, statues, parts of walls, books, paintings, bowls, clothing….you name it!

There was the MOST BEAUTIFUL MIRROR for the store. It was huge and in a classic  Art Nuevo shape – undulating and at one point the wooden frame which was exquisitely carved came up into a lily formation, holding out the most beautiful glass lampshade painted by the Daume family (very famous family of glass makers in the last century) – and it was a mere 35 thousand euro!(Sigh…..)But what I am searching for, is the broken, dirty, and torn stuff, the pieces that FEWER of the world’s treasure hunters (or at least this is my theory) want.

 Paris at Night 

By that time our sons Isaac and Nick were royally bored ,and ditched us for the Place Pompidu and places beyond. (Richard wishing he could – I’m sure, as following me around as I poke, prod and pull things out from under others, can be excruciating.) But he persevered bless him, (of course there were also things of such beauty to him, that he was stopped in his tracks many times, and at one point he was actually considering buying a small mirror!)


A dusty, dirty, tattered piece of wine colored “stuff “,  that looks like I’ve had it on the wall of the store for years. I yank it out – and YES it’s in TERRIBLE shape! After much talking, and nattering, and me showing WAY too much that it’s  perfect and I love it,  we strike a deal for a piece of fabric that probably hung over a fireplace in a castle , in the late 17 hundreds. This guy supplies the movie designers (these sources are no secret among designers around the world, like the movie Moulin Rouge)… he knew exactly the effect I am after, and pulled out some other stuff for me to look at.

  The deal was finally done, and we dragged the garbage bags of dusty booty (worth 400 euro) back across town on the subway. And except for one mishap in a subway entrance where I got trapped, and a very kind young African man helped me through, we got home hot, tired and thirsty.


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