Spring is just around the corner, and we’ve been preparing for a busy dress up season, starting with Clockwork Alchemy next week, then London, Bath, Tombstone, Germany, Paris, and a few Victorian Balls in between. Be sure to book your next gown or corset ahead of time, our bespoke slots are filling up for the year!
Today, just for something different, here’s some artwork from circa 1889 that features fashion and the Eiffel Tower. 🙂
Montmarte is a fascinating area of Paris and it also is a major fabric shopping center and so we were naturally attracted to the area. Montmarte is a bit of a hike from where we were staying in the 8 ème Arrondissement but we were able to easily travel there via the Paris Metro.
Our first stop was Les Coupons de Saint Pierre, a stop that was purely by chance- yep, we were taken in by the window displays. 🙂 A note about fabric shopping in France- much of the fabric is sold in the form of coupons which are 3-meter pieces (usually) and in fact, this seems to be the predominant method of selling and many stores only sell fabric this way. However, one can find places that sell by the meter. Les Coupons is one of those places that only sell by the coupon; for our purposes this can be an issue since we usually need dress lengths for our fabric.
Next, we took a look at Marché Saint Pierre, one of the largest fabric stores in Montmarte. Featuring six floors of fabrics and notions, this is a good place to start your fabric search. Unfortunately for us, there was really nothing that stood out as a “must-have” but if we lived locally, this would definitely be a “go-to” fabric store.
We then found these interesting fabrics in red, copper/bronze, and blue-green at La Folie des Tissues:
Finally, we found this exquisite silk lampas at Karin Sajo Collection:
This store is small but features an exquisite selection of specialty fabrics that will work for a variety of projects. It’s not cheap but it’s definitely worth it. 🙂 Finally, just for completeness, we also visited several specialty shops outside of Montmarte but they had nothing that was practical for what we do.
So how’s the fabric shopping in Paris? Overall, from our brief visit, it seemed that there wasn’t as great a selection as we found in London and what we did come across had a limited selection outside of the more common fabrics that one can find anywhere in the world. I suspect that there’s probably a lot of specialty shops that we missed and so we’ll certainly be more alert on our next trip- there has to be more out there, especially given that Paris is the center of haute couture. 🙂 Au revoir!
One of our major goals on our Paris trip was to pay our respects to Paul Poiret so a trip to Cimètiere Montmarte was definitely in order. Commonly acknowledged as the King of Fashion, Paul Poiret enjoyed a colorful career as a couturier in the early 20th Century and is credited with both paradoxically eliminating the confines of the corset while at the same time introducing the hobble skirt. Unfortunately, while Poiret was a fashion innovator, he was unable to adapt to the profound social and economic changes that were brought about by the First World War and gradually his fashion designs fell out of favor. Combined with an inability to management money, Poiret’s fashion business ultimately failed while at the same time going through a nasty divorce. As the years went buy, Poiret faded into obscurity, only kept financially afloat by his various friends including the designer Elsa Schiaparelli, ultimately dying on April 30, 1944.
We were able to locate the cemetery where Poiret was interred and it seemed like a fairly easy task to locate his final resting place. However, in reality, it was a lot more difficult and as things turned out, he’s interred in a family tomb bearing the name “Boivin.” We’re not sure of the exact family connection but its location was consistent with what we had researched online and with some close examination of the tomb’s inside (not easy since it was dark inside), we located his gravestone/commemorative marker. It wasn’t easy getting a picture of the marker because of the grill covering the tomb’s window:
I have to say, it was quite a moving and sad experience visiting Paul Poiret’s tomb- it’s obvious that it does not get many visitors and it’s located in an obscure part of the cemetery far from the entrance. It’s sad to consider that for being one of the most influential couturiers in France that he died in obscurity, almost forgotten, the product of a long-dead age. Well, we like to think that at we remember. 🙂 Next time when we visit, we’ll be sure to bring flowers.
As an aside, Cimètiere Montmarte is a fascinating cemetery located in Montmarte in the 18e Arrondisement of Paris and it’s the final resting place for many famous individuals including military figures, authors, actors, artists, and musicians, as well as regular people, and it’s a quiet oasis in what is normally a very busy and noisy city. Also, for some reason, it’s also the home of a large number of black cats and crows- go figure. 🙂 If you ever get to Paris, the cemetery is definitely worth a visit.