Made In Paris
Discover the fashions created right here in the heart of the French capital
Bustling bistros, dignified boutiques, marvellous monuments and pictureperfect settings are all part of the familiar face of Paris that emerges to the eye, but behind quite a number of facades another story is being played out. Right in the French capital metal is being melted, leather is being tooled, gemstones are being set and silver is being smithed for the French capital is studded with workshops, studios, manufactures and even a factory. And in addition to the established houses and artisans there is room for the new as well with a host of manufactures and workshops and young creators emerging on the Made in Paris landscape. The oldest of them all is La Monnaie de Paris, the mint, which was created in 864 and has been minting coins for the past 1150 years and is today considered to be the last factory in Paris. It has been located on the Left Bank right on the Seine in a palatial building since the 18th century and has just re-opened after six years of extensive renovations and refurbishments and is now known as 11 Conti-Monnaie de Paris. The site was given the Living Heritage label, a mark of recognition of the French state established to reward French firms for the excellence of their traditions and know-how, in 2011 and here metal is worked, smelted, chased and
gilded. Visitors can discover the treasures in the manufacture’s collections as well as the workshops of the mint where some 150 craftsmen are at work minting decorative, art and collector coins, medals and decorations. The site also hosts temporary contemporary art exhibitions, events and performances and houses a boutique, a café and a gastronomic restaurant.
Weavers and dye-makers have been entrenched in Paris since at least the 17th century and today the crafts carry on in their historic Gobelins site where the arts and craftsmen of the state-owned Mobilier National and the Manufactures des Gobelins, de Beauvais et de la Savonnerie continue to weave fine tapestries and make dyes, mainly for the state and state gifts. It all began back in the 15th century when Jehan Gobelin created a dye works in what is now the 13th arrondissement of Paris where the underground Bièvre River flowed, reputed for its dyeing and colouring properties. In the 17th century King Henry IV established tapestry workshops in buildings rented from the descendants of the Gobelin dyers and the manufactory would become a leading centre of fine tapestry production. During the reign of Louis XIV goldsmiths, metal smiths and cabinetmakers were also installed inside the Gobelins. Today, the tapestry manufacture has a staff of 30 and 15 looms turning out between six and seven pieces annually. Guided tours of the tapestry weaving workshops are held on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at 1pm for which it is best to book in advance. There is also a gallery on the site hosting temporary exhibitions
Known as the jeweller to the queens, the family-owned house of Mellerio dits Meller has supplied jewellery to the European courts since the time of Marie de’ Medici. Today, Laurent Mellerio represents the youngest of the 14th generation of the family at the helm of the house, which is just over 400 years old and is possibly the oldest jewellery house in activity in the world. Specialists in high quality gemstones and made to measure pieces, the house’s jewellery creations, including the high jewellery collections, are still wrought today in their workshops in the heart of Paris above the boutique on Rue de la Paix and where on a daily basis the fashioning of pieces for the collections, for special orders, for unique pieces, repairs and transformations, are underway in much the same way as they have been for generations.
Silversmith Nicolas Marischael has been creating fine pieces in his Parisian studio for over 15 years now. He is the custodian of a savoir-faire that has been handed down through three generations. The intense knowhow of gold and silver smithing with chasing, welding at the forge and engraving has been perpetuated by the family since 1924, with the Marischael Orfèvre-Paris house possessing the EPV label, Entreprise du Patrimoine Vivant (Living Heritage label). Nicolas Marischael joined the family establishment in 1981 when the house’s workshops were still located in the Marais. Today, his workshop and showroom, frequented by collectors, museum representatives, antique dealers and individuals on a quest for state-of-the-art restorations and fine contemporary pieces, is found beneath the lofty arches of the Viaduc des Arts.
Paris was historically a perfume-making centre with the perfumers generally located between the Pont des Arts and the Pont Neuf. And nearby right on the Quai du Louvre, a small, luxury house of perfume-making has been established by Chantal Sanier, not far from those perfumers of yore. Her
Odeur de Sainteté, meaning scents of sanctity, perfumes renew with the traditions of old-fashioned perfume-making before synthetic molecules arrived on the horizon and so she elaborates her perfumes using only extracts of aromatic plants harkening back to the perfumes that were produced hundreds of years ago. The nine fragrances of Odeur de Sainteté have evocative names like Marie Madeleine (Mary Magdalene) or Etat de Grâce (State of Grace) and are bottled in blown glass flasks, which are made of amber glass that is used for medicinal preparations for the compositions must not be exposed to light. The house has a dedicated boutique in the Palais Royal but you can also make an appointment at the perfumer’s workshop on the Quai du Louvre.
Stéphanie Deydier has been fashioning one of a kind jewels in Paris since 2010. Working with precious materials in her studio in the heart of the Marais on Rue du Temple, she draws her inspiration from her travels around the world, notably to Asia. After studying law, art history and gemmology she began her working career in 2007 in Christie’s jewellery department. Diamonds, rubies, tourmalines, sapphires and aquamarines seemingly come to life in her creations. Among the unique pieces one finds in her Legends of Yazhou collection is a necklace with 20 strands of fresh water pearls held together by two Buddhas in onyx encircled with diamonds while violet sapphires pave a fan brooch enhanced with a pear-shaped green fluorite, the luminous stone that gave its name to the phenomenon of fluorescence.
For ultimate chic, a wedding dress made in the heart of Paris can be found in a studio/boutique tucked away in the 10th arrondissement of the city. The Maison Floret has been fashioning fine wedding dresses for a flourishing three years now and the designer, Sidonie Floret works with carefully selected aristocratic fabrics and materials like Calais lace, jacquard and Mikado silk. Two appointments are essential for a unique wedding dress to emerge with the initial visit an opportunity to discover the various styles and to define the shapes and fabrics for the dress, while the second is for taking measures and determining the modifications. These are followed by two fitting sessions and you need to allow six months for a piece that is already in the collection and at least 8 months for a unique piece.
The milliner house of Poupard & Delaunay has a workshop and showroom in the elegant Batignolles neighbourhood of Paris. The house perpetuates a unique ancestral know-how dating back to the end of the 18th century when a certain Napoleon Bonaparte purchased his famous bicorn hat fashioned by Poupard. Poupard & Delaunay was born in 1811 and in 2013 the Langlois family decided to give the house a new impetus while remaining faithful to the house’s savoir-faire and craft traditions. The house’s particularity is that its creations are numbered and brought out in a limited series of 10 pieces, and for the ultimate in exclusive, the house does made-to-measure pieces.
A closely guarded and new secret is found in northern Paris in the shoemaking workshop of Atelier du Tranchet, tranchet being the French word for a skiving knife, the tool that is essential for cutting leather. Christophe Corthay sculpts shoes for men while Christophe Algans sculpts shoes for women, all made-to-measure. The shoes at Atelier du Tranchet are fashioned from the finest of materials, python and crocodile, whose origins are strictly controlled and an entire skin or hide is used for a single pair of shoes, and the house’s patinas are suave, powerful and captivating. The taking of measurements and fittings are conducted exclusively by the two craftsmen with a made-to-measure pair taking anywhere between 6 to 9 months to be fashioned.
The Edgar wedding dress from the 2018 collection by Maison Floret (opposite page) and the Charles hat in bordeaux wool felt with a turquoise band from Poupard & Delaunay (above)