I just got back from a solo sojourn in Southern France where I visited the magical island of Porquerolles from Godard’s film Pierrot Le Fou. Developed some film and already wishing to be back on salt-soaked rocks, dipping into the ocean frequently and forgetting this Paris heat wave. Those blues….
Louise Damas is another French designer that I fell in love with first via Instagram from the other side of the pond while I was living in Seattle. Paris has a traditionally minimalist jewelry scene and Louise caught my attention for the exact opposite. The jewelry designer creates bold yet elegant jewelry with clusters of gems and sharp stones against sleek metals. The colors combinations are distinct and neither feminine nor masculine, just pleasing.
I caught up with the designer here in Paris as she launches a new chapter in her life and business. After doing a popup with fellow Paris designer Claire of Fauvette, a leather bag and sac line, the two noticed how well their products did together.
We noticed that people would often buy my jewelry and Claire’s bags together. It was a perfect pairing. – Louise
What ensued, is the creation and opening of Atelier Couronnes, a concept boutique featuring Louise’s jewelry, Claire’s bags and a careful selection of other Parisian designers for home, bath, and body. Located right off of Republique on Rue du Chateau d’Eau, the boutique is part of a new design retail movement on a tiny, bustling street. Just down the blog is La Tresorerie and Cafe Smorgas.
Just three weeks old, Atelier Couronnes sits unassumingly in the middle of it all and the designers explained to me how they basically re-did their beautiful space from scratch – tearing up the floors, restoring the original molding hidden behind huge blocks of concrete (why would you cover up something like this!?), laying tile and busting out the back wall for a window and door to the gorgeous interior courtyard. They also built out a workshop just adjacent, so customers can have designs altered, custom-made, and more right there in the shop.
Enter the atelier and a world of calm and creation. Then, get involved with the details. The bags and jewelry in tandem are really incredible. Each corner of the store is a beautiful jewel-colored vignette of leather and stones. For more detail shots in digital head over here.
One more note: Louise has created THE PERFECT tiny gold hoop earring. I know because I’ve spent the better part of my twenties looking for this earring. She said, she was doing the same, and so she created it. You know, with the perfect weight, width and closure? It’s here and Louise wears them below.
– Hana Ryan (@hanaryan)
Marcela Gutierrez is the brilliant water color artist adopting iconic fashion images and creating other-worldly paintings. The photos of her hands against the paintings, or “works in progress” really have us blown away. There’s a little bit of mind-bending in a moment being captured on film and then brought back to life by hand – the same figure but changed. Especially given that Marcela’s work seems to leap out of the page eyes first. It’s both fantasy and hyper-real.
Also… these DIANA VREELAND images! Marcela created them to pay homage to the iconic fashion editor (in both watercolor and oil) and added her own touches to blur the lines between real and imagined life.
Gerard Gourdon of Mimilamour jewelry was one of Craft & Culture’s very first fans – the early adopter, as they say. From the time I began posting independent designers and finds on Facebook, some 4 years ago, there was Gerard liking and sharing what we did. This outpost friend and follower in France even took a copy of our first Ledger Magazine to an Earth, Wind and Fire concert in Paris and sent a video to show me C&C in Paris.
Well, fast forward some years, a wonderful online collaboration between us and Voila! C&C really is in Paris, at least in part, and I’m running around on Gerard’s home turf. Mimilamour has journeyed from a fledgling, innovative jewelry line to a full-scale boutique and international player.
In a very special moment, Gerard gave me a private tour of his brand new boutique on a brilliant little street in the 10th arrondissement right off Goncourt. Over Cambodian food down the street, we talked French artisans, statement jewelry and striking a balance. After lunch I snapped some photos in the shop.
What came next? I discovered Gerard’s newest (and amazingly cool) Collection Mimi by Mimilamour. This line encompasses everything Gerard loves: whimsy, one-offs, small editions, affordable design and having fun. The pieces are available exclusively in Boutique Mimilamour and will be celebrated Thursday, June 18 at one of the very loveliest Parisienne designer boutiques, Sept Cinq. Info on the event here.
Visit Gerard in person and shop Mimi and the rest of his beautiful creations at Boutique Mimilamour / 30, rue Jacques Louvel-Tessier 75010 Paris.
Jade Mellor is a long-time favorite Craft & Culture designer. The UK jeweler crafts wearable art from resin and minerals and this photo series is everything we love about her color theory, material expertise and match-maker brilliance.
Shop the new collection here.
You may have noticed the upward trajectory of Parisienne bag designer Olympia Le-Tan, who made a name for herself with embroidered story-book bags.
In 2009, she launched her eponymous accessories label, combining her two obsessions, embroidery (a talent she inherited from her grand-mother), and literature (a passion she shares with her father, French illustrator Pierre Le-Tan) to create one of a kind handbags and minaudières. The bags are handmade with love in France in very limited editions.
The designer opened her own boutique in Paris and is creating ready-to-wear collections but her Instagram and the detail-shots of bags + jewelry and other personal accents remain the true gem.
If you’re in Paris, make sure to visit her physical location:
Vestige is a brand new label out of Vancouver, Canada from designer and founder Aileen Lee. The brand is a brainchild of fashion and literature, growing out of Lee’s background in literature and desire to tell stories in a simple and wearable medium. The result? Wearable, chic, affordable pieces for the literary romantic in you.
Shop the eco-collection exclusively here.
The Portuguese lingerie line really exemplifies modern sustainability and a mindset that such products should be affordable. And we are loving their most recent photo shoot/art work by photographer Thalea MV and artist Matilda Hutchison.
See more here.