In the 1920s the Seeberger brothers’ photographic images of the beautiful and wealthy people of Paris redefined western women’s expectations of themselves. Beauty became celluloid deep and available to all. An extremely lucrative market was born.
Since I was a teenager I have had a fascination, well to be honest, almost a fetish, with all things Paris. While I know it is cliché, I remain a sucker for most things Paris: high-end fashion, history, art and architecture, French language and culture. And to be brutally honest – even Paris-centric chick-lit (don’t judge me…).
Andy Warhol’s famous utterance best sums up the marketing of all things Paris:
- “Being good in business is the most fascinating kind of art. Making money is art and working is art and good business is the best art.”
While I understand that I have been profoundly pursued and persuaded by an unparalleled and persistent marketing campaign, I remain fascinated by the artistic myth of ‘Paris’. In this vein I appreciate “Paris” as a complex piece of art of which I want to own pieces.
The myth of Paris chic and French luxury goods are interchangeable. The very names of their mythical luminaries – Hermes, Coco Chanel, Christian Dior, Christian Lacroix, Yves St Laurent – are synonymous with chic, recognizable, and obscenely expensive artisanal luxury and elegance.
Today the Love Of My Life – LOML – just gave me my first Hermes scarf. And not just any random Hermes scarf. It was the one that I thought got away.
Last year we were walking through a fabulous antique market in downtown Genoa, Italy, and I saw a fabulous scarf, in the iconic Hermes orange box. The scarf had a sun design that was reminiscent of the hand of Piero Fornasetti. It made me smile. I wanted it.
Not being one to walk away from what I want, I asked the price of the scarf in extremely poor Italian. The vendor responded in even poorer English. Raising an astonished eyebrow in response to the vendors’ command of large numbers, I walked away from the stall.
As an ode to my voyage into Bloggsville, Internetica, LOML presented me with my first orange box. And in the box, surrounded by crisp tissue paper, was “the” Hermes Dies et Hore “Astrologie” by Francoise Faconnet (1963) silk twill scarf that I had coveted months ago. It didn’t get away. It was just being coy. What a flirt.
With my Hermes in hand I felt I had made a small, but significant leap into chic-dom.
I am now the gobsmacked owner of a another small piece of chic “Paris.”