Saturday, November 28, 2009

Camarena Photo

Chris "Cam" Camarena is a photographer with not only a great name, but great talent. He has an amazing gift with portraiture-which stems in part, I think, from his open and friendly attitude with all sorts of people from Brooklyn cops to sassy NYC chicks to Ecuadorian Indians. People are drawn to his good energy and therefore are not afraid to let the guard down and allow him to let his skills with the camera fly. He seamlessly fuses the worlds of fashion and contemporary photography- moving comfortably between the two without any compromises. Cam works in the genre of "street photography," capturing the essence and soul of his Brooklyn neighborhood, or his travels around the world, but he has also done studio shoots, where he styles his models in goofy get ups including his latest series of staged "athletes" perfectly posed but with unsightly cuts/blood/bruises. You can see his portfolio on his website,

Friday, November 27, 2009

Paper goods

I realized I never blogged about Intaglio, an amazing printer (imprimerie) in Batignolles and now just opened on rue de Fleurus in the 6th. Intaglio does custom cards, stationary, business cards and invitations for all occassions (we had our wedding invites done there), as well as selling individual cards for the holidays, new year, thank you's, etc. They also have a selection of cards which have recipes for madeline's, chocolate cake and other French specials, and little boxes which look good just as objects if not used to offer a small something to someone.

They do engraved press as well as regular printing and though they can do the traditional cursive style, their overall look is bold, graphic, contemporary design. Their website is very helpful, showing the range of colors and typefaces possible if you are creating invitations. I highly recommend checking out their holiday cards this year which I saw decorating their vitrines the other day. If you have any attraction to paper goods you will be drawn in like its candy.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Discovered: Shirley Craven

Browsing around the Librarie 7L the other day I saw this book about British textile designer, Shirley Craven and Hull Traders, the post-war textile company she served as leading art director and designer for about 20 years. She started working there in 1961 and stayed until the end of the business. Her designs are big, bold, colorful abstract designs, very much grounded in the spirit of abstraction in the post WWII years. The designs are very rhythmic, at times painterly, using inventive motifs and aesthetics that would become more mainstream by the late 1960s-70s.

Hull Traders was in itself and interesting company-fusing collaborations with painters, sculptors among designers. It was known for innovative concepts and designs. It's heyday was in the 1960s and you can feel the vibes of "Swinging London," in many of the patterns they produced. For more information see: Hull Traders

Friday, November 20, 2009

Tereza Vlckova

An exhibition of photographs by Tereza Vlckova, a young artist from Czechoslovakia is on view at Galerie Lefebvre. This is the first contemporary exhibition for this gallery, which specializes in French Art Deco. The furniture and paintings from the early 20th century have been cleared away for these colorful and engaging photographs. On view are a selection of images from four different series she has been developing over the past several years; the title of the exhibition, "A Perfect Day, Elise..." takes its inspiration from the Lewis Carroll classic, Alice in Wonderland. The images portray young women jumping, flying or running in a landscape in the countryside, the same landscape photographed by the famous Czech photographer, Josef Sudek. The figures seem ethereal, like apparations in their own fantasy. In another series she photographed young twins, standing side by side, again placed in a nature, although it feels an artificial nature. Something seems off, almost creepy the way the young children, identical including their dress, stare out at you. For a more recent body of work, Vlckova photographed her young cousin, wearing a bathing suit in a landscape, with llamas. The colors are super artifical and saturated, a la David Lachapelle and Pierre and Gilles, but the provactive yet innocent impression of the work calls to mind Sally Mann. You can the references to other, older photographers including Anna Galskell, Justine Kurland, and that mid 1990S Yale Photography school aesthetic, as well as Rineke Dikstra and Loretta Lux with the twin photos, but the work is not derivative. Vlckova clearly has her own voice and will no doubt continue to engage and entice us as she moves forward. 15, rue Pre aux Clercs, 75007. Tues-Sat. 11-6pm

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Astier de Villatte

I stopped by Astier de Villatte yesterday thanks to the recommendation of my friend, Emilie. What a beautiful shop- a visual escape from the city. The interior is all wood and country home like, but the home of a super creative spirit. The store is filled with variation of their trademark ceramics, white glaze over a gray earthenware which slightly shows through. Plates, glasses, vases, bowls, etc. Also on hand were gorgeous notebooks and calendars, candles, and a selection of beautiful decoupage plates and paperweights from NY based designer John Derian. The impression leaves one feeling dreamy and creative. 173, rue st.honore.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


First ever deux frontieres sale! Well, basically I was doing a clean out of the shoe closet and I have had these great pairs of high heels which my life no longer provides for, perhaps sadly, because I do love these shoes--I hate ebay and instead of going around to the depot-ventes in Paris I have decided to try and capture an interested party via the blog. They are both in good condition--Not ever heavily used. The Gucci's have a little fraying at the toe and the Lulu's a little on the heel/talon do to (i think) stepping into a grate...not important.
Check them out!

GUCCI's: Size 7.5 Price: 50 Euros or $75

LULU GUINESS: Size 38: Price: 50 Euros or $75

Prices may be negotiable--especially if you want both of them!

The lowdown: If you are in Paris-free hand delivery-- If you are in the USA and can wait until the holidays I will ship them from California for free...otherwise I will need to charge shipping. Please email me at or leave me a comment if interested. More pics can be sent as well.


How much am I loving my new Adonde ceramics? A lot. I first came across their designs at a great boutique in williamsburg, ny called MC&Co, and then came across them at the Bon Marche during our wedding registry outing. This was exciting and I wanted to put all of their ceramic dish collection down on the list but it was clearly not the most practical idea--although I may end up slowly adding on as the time goes by. Their products are all about modular configurations-lids, bowls, vases, plates, cups, pots that can be interchanged, stacked on set alone and just look great. When I finally googled them I was sort of pleased to learn that they work on my street in Paris! I walked by of course, but no storefront, so it must be tucked away in the building. very random however. We are happy to now have this ceramic teapot and two mugs as well as a salad bowl all in the creamy sandy tones. Adonde is the brainchild of a Spanish-French design duo: Javier Gutierrez Carcache and Laurent Serin. They also make wooden utensils, funky wooden vases, a great fruit bowl, and clearly the spanish influence, a hammock. They sell worldwide. Check it out.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Anna Rivka-Jewelry

I came across Anna Rifka's new boutique at 67, rue Vieille du Temple, at the end of summer. I loved what she had in store, but had perhaps unfortunately, already bought what I was going to wear for my wedding and could not justify another purchase at the time, so I saved her catalog for future reflection. She had just moved into this space, from rue Condorcet in the 9th. The look is very 1920/1930s-- a bit art deco mixed with pre-raphaelite, but not overly romantic. She mixes the right combination between a more hard edge/urban look with antique aesthetics. Using metals and semi-precious stones, her designs are quite lovely, and handmade in Paris. Her prices, very reasonable for the quality. Frankly, I have not come across many jewlery designers in this city who have made a big impression--At the big stores you see a lot of the same and prices that are way off the charts, or specifically meant to be cheap and fun. Where is the middle ground? Perhaps here, with Anne Rivka. Go have a look.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Denise Colomb

Part of the Hotel de Sully, a beautiful hotel particulier in the 4th, just off of rue St. Antoine, is an off-site for the Jeu de Paume. Tucked off to the side from the beautiful garden is a two-level space devoted to modern/contemporary exhibitions. It was my first visit actually, when I went to check out the photography exhibition of vintage photographs by Denise Colomb taken in the West Indies between the late 1940s-1960s. Colomb, a French photographer(1902-2004) was invited by poet and politician, Aime Cesaire to come to the West Indies for an "ethnographic mission" organized for the centenary of the abolition of slavery. The works are all in black and white except for a slide show at end of the show that shows some work transfered into color in the early 1960s. Colomb does not exoticize nor pity her subjects, but presents a fairly straight forward portrait of life for the citizens of Martinique and Guadeloupe, and the dispartity between the vestiges of colonialism and reality of living on a remote island. It was interesting to see the difference between an image in black and white and then in color. One of her later images captures a woman nude, sitting in the ocean. In b+w, the image is powerful for the isolation, the simplicity of her form and a sense of innocence in nature. In color, you see the skin tones of the bather set in the crystal clear blue waters and you cannot help but think of all the tourist posters splashed around town for cheap flights to the island. She is not a sexy, posing model at all, but she has been replaced by one in today's advertising world. This exhibition coincidentally falls almost a year after the strikes and violence that shook these very islands for a few months, which makes one wonder how developments have been made between the countries in the post-colonial world.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Liz Deschenes-Sutton Lane

On view at Sutton Lane Gallery is an exhibition of work by New York artist Liz Deschenes. The series, titled Right/Left, presents four large photograms, the results of leaving photo sensitive paper outdoors during the night. After the exposure she applies a layer of silver toner to create a slightly reflective surface that resembles an antique mirror or the results of some chemistry experiment, which in a way, these works suggest. At first glance, you have a hard time gathering what it is you are seeing. You almost get an urge to wipe the surface to see if it changes. The usual skepticism with abstraction kicks in and then quickly dissipates when you learn the techniques and practice of the artist.

Set in the tiny, gray and white space of Sutton Lane, the show looks very elegant, timeless in way. It is simple/minimal work, while also engaging. Deschenes has a way of manipulating the photographic process of development, or post-picture taking (here no camera was even used), and pushing the boundaries of what this medium can represent. Man Ray brought the use of the photogram to a sort of acceptable medium/mainstream but Deschenes is taking it to another level. This seems certainly to be a fitting abstract art of the 21st century. On view through November 28.