I am interrupting my vacation for this little bulletin. This is written direct from the island of Corsica, called Ile de Beauté for the amazing turquoise water and its unspoiled nature.
With my IPad and irregular wifi connection, I am trying to tell you about some interesting infos I received. Time Out New York just issued a special France story with "Best New York Spots To Shop for French Clothing, Beauty and Homegoods" In the July 14th édition.
POUR LA MODE
See photos and products at Time Out New York
Le Grand Strip
Formerly known as Fille de Joie, this recently renamed Williamsburg store is filled with racks of vintage duds that owner C.C. McGurr discovers largely on trips to France. The garments tend toward the funky and over-the-top (we recently spotted an ’80s crochet romper for $60 and a ’50s fur-trimmed evening gown tagged $220), and are organized by color. Head farther back and you’ll find yourself in a ladies’ boudoir, complete with a metal-framed bed, antique velvet couches, and a rack of vintage lingerie featuring such pieces as a ruffled cotton tank from the 1800s ($275), pink silk stockings ($35) and gingham bloomers ($65). Mention TONY for 10 percent off all purchases through August 15. 197 Grand St between Bedford and Driggs Aves, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (718-599-3525, legrandstrip.com)
Ask any chic French woman how she achieves that certain je ne sais quoi, and she’ll likely tell you that her closet is filled with well-cut basics in luxe fabrics. This pair of boutiques, run by Provencal native Ludivine Grégoire, will set you up with simple but elegant pieces from usually hard-to-find French labels like Maison Michel, Denis Colomb and Stouls. Expect a well-edited—though pricey—selection of effortless, timeless items, including Vanessa Bruno lightweight cardigans ($160), Carven sheer-front and striped-back tanks ($270) and Notify supersoft bell-bottom jeans ($260). Finishing touches include K.Jacques strappy leather sandals ($245), Stephanie Jewels delicate gold earrings ($145) and Nuxe lip balm for perfecting that French pout ($21). 172 W 4th St at Jones St (646-336-6576) • 1216 Lexington Ave between 82nd and 83rd Sts (212-249-4053) • boutiqueludivine.com.
Rue St. Denis
Before used garments were all the rage, French expat Jean-Paul Buthier opened his Upper West Side vintage boutique in 1990, which was inspired by his days of thrifting on Paris’s Rue St. Denis when he was a teen. The shop has since migrated south to the East Village, and it carries a large selection of dead-stock pieces that Buthier sources from recently closed stores and warehouses across France and the U.S. Guys will be happy to hear that 70 percent of the stock is men’s, so they can snag French plaid button-ups from the ’80s ($30–$45) and a ’60s three-quarter-length rain jacket ($135). There’s even a vast, meticulously organized suit room in the back, where you’ll discover a ’70s Pierre Cardin velvet style ($380) or ’60s double-breasted numbers ($340–$440). The double-breasted suits tend to be cut boxier than other items here, since they’ve never been worn, but one of the in-house seamstresses can tailor your purchase to your liking (starting at $20, hemming is free). Over on the ladies’ side, look for a ’70s Cacharel polka-dot blouse ($65), a ’40s embroidered blazer ($285) and a bevy of ’60s and ’70s Indian cotton flowing dresses ($85–$95). 170 Ave B between 10th and 11th Sts (212-260-3388,vintagenyc.com)
POUR LA BEAUTE
See photos and products at Time Out New York
Caudalie Vinothérapie Spa
This upscale haven combines two of life’s stress-relieving pleasures: wine and spa treatments. Husband and wife Mathilde and Bertrand Thomas founded the first Caudalie spa on their family vineyard in Bordeaux in 1999, and have since opened seven locations in other wineries across the globe (this location in the Plaza Hotel being the only urban one). Caudalie’s treatments often utilize grape seeds, stems or skins for their antioxidant and skin-firming properties; reap the benefits of Mother Nature in services such as the Crushed Cabernet scrub (35 minutes, $145), during which a mixture of grape seeds, honey and brown sugar is used to slough off dry skin, or the Wine Maker’s Massage (50 minutes, $185), in which you’ll be gently prodded with a traditional winemaker’s smooth wooden stick. Posttreatment, recline on the leather couches of the wine lounge, where you can nibble on assorted cheese from midtown bistro Artisanal ($18–$25) and sip a glass of bordeaux ($10) from the Thomas family winery, Les Hauts de Smith. Mention TONY for 10 percent off all services through August 15. The Plaza Hotel, 1 W 58th St at Fifth Ave, fourth floor (212-265-3182, caudalie-usa.com)
Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle
The grandson of Parfums Christian Dior founder Serge Heftler, owner Frédéric Malle worked as a fragrance consultant before realizing that perfumers had no creative freedom in the commercial world. In 2000, Editions de Parfums was born as a way for perfumers to create amazing scents without financial or creative restrictions. Malle doesn’t make perfumes himself but instead oversees a group of nine top French perfumers, who create whatever scents strike their fancy, such as Edmond Roudnitska’s Le Parfum de Thérèse (a tribute to his wife that smells of leather and fruits, $250) and Jean-Claude Ellena’s Angéliques sous la Pluie, redolent of rain ($180). The space was designed by French architect Patrick Naggar to resemble an Art Deco apartment, with fine art prints on the walls and some of the furniture that Malle inherited from his grandparents scattered throughout. In addition to 100-milliliter bottles of the fragrances ($180–$320) in their liquid form, you can also purchase any of the scents as a lotion ($85–$95) or shower gel ($70). Nifty rubber inserts that smell of freshly burned Indian incense ($105) will help freshen up your closet or sock drawer. 898 Madison Ave between 72nd and 73rd Sts (212-249-7941,fredericmalle.com)
Located on Paris’s ultrafashionable Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, the original L’Institut Sothys spa made a name for itself by offering luxe European-style facials, which are heavy on face and neck massaging. You can indulge in the classic deep-cleansing treatment (60 minutes, $115) at Sothys’s midtown location—the only one outside of Paris. Slip into a plush robe and sip a gratis cappuccino, before heading up the swooping staircase to one of the ten treatment rooms, where a full range of spa services—including an hour-long detoxifying mineral-and-salt scrub and body wrap ($135), and a Hydroptimale hydrating facial (75 minutes, $175) that features a moisturizing face mask—are performed. There are also a handful of nail stations downstairs for getting a spa manicure ($48), which is pricey but lasts up to two weeks. Mention TONY for 20 percent off all full-price facials through August 31. 37 W 57th St between Fifth and Sixth Aves (212-688-9400, sothyspa.com)
POUR LA MAISON
See photos and products at Time Out New York
This high-end Parisian brand has been hand-printing bedsheets, towels and tablecloths since 1927. Started by lingerie boutique owner Daniel Porthault and his wife, Madeline, the company was the first linens label to produce printed or colorful sheets, at a time when everyone else was making plain white bedclothes. D. Porthault now has an archive of 10,000 prints, including bold flowers, cheeky stars and country-inspired vines, which you’ll find on queen-size sheet sets ($950–$2,650), girly boudoir shams ($165–$275) and fluffy terrycloth towels ($140–$345). Those without très grand budgets can still snag simple embroidered place-mat and napkin sets ($125–$275), colorful cotton voile handkerchiefs ($40) and lavender sachets for sprucing up dresser drawers ($22–$55). Mention TONY for 10 percent off all purchases through August 13. 470 Park Ave at 58th St (212-688-1660, dporthault.com)
Think of this Parisian brand—which has 36 stores worldwide—as a French version of Crate & Barrel. The 40-year-old company carries a range of home goods, including lacquered end tables ($318) and suede storage boxes ($38–$58), but it is best known for its customizable window curtains that come in an array of punchy solids and prints, like a laser-cut bright stencil version ($138–$158) and a neutral linen style ($98–$458). You’ll also find pillow covers to mix and match, including an embroidered taffeta option ($46). 1162 Madison Ave at 86th St (212-327-2681, madurahome.com)
The son of a Better Homes and Gardens editor, owner Ramsey Marc has perfected the French country-cottage look in his well-curated home-design and gift shop. The cozy, worn-wood–floored bazaar is filled to the brim with items that balance traditional French-inspired decor and modern chic housewares. The majority of the stock is imported from France, including Sabre’s candy-colored acrylic flatwear ($5–$40) and Provence artist Heidi Caillard’s signature guinea hen sculptures ($129–$169). Everything else is either French-inspired or made in Europe, such as striped linen dish towels by Belgian brand Libeco ($13–$25 each) and Vancouver artist Sid Dickens’s plaster-covered collectible wood wall tiles depicting French iconography ($84). Mention TONY for 10 percent off all purchases (excluding Heidi Caillard and Sid Dickens items) through July 30. 140 Ninth Ave at 19th St (212-255-0022, maison140nyc.com)