There is a grimy, pitiless aspect to Paris—the Mme. DeFarge knitting/blackened cobblestone/dying embers moment—that both contradicts the more recognizable
gilded molding/pastel bonbon aspect and manages, sort of
on the DL, to be equally if not more glamorous.
Like one of those slightly dank “living museum” displays within historic sites, the Astier de Villatte store in Paris has
a sort of rabbit-warrenish vibe. There’s a room in the back where there might or might not be some sort of primitive kiln; the floor might or might not just be packed, ancient earth. There are ancient wood shelves up to the ceilings, crowded with thin ceramics, all brushed in the brand’s milky, consumptive glaze.
You forget—until you’re signing your credit card bill—that you’re on the Rue Saint-Honoré, avec Hermès, Lanvin and the Hotel Bristol. Even though said bill is giving you some palpitations, as you sign it you see the scented erasers arranged in a big bowl and you have to have them as well.
And this pencil-that-looks-like-a-pen. (The erasers come in three scents,
all gorgeous. The Saint-Honoré is sort
of spicy and sexy.)
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