Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Luxury and Style: Karl Lagerfeld Features French Antiques in New Chanel Ad Campaign

Karl Lagerfeld shoots Alice Dellal for Boy Chanel Ad campaign
French has always held a status of cool, of beauty, and of trendy. This season, Chanel proves just how cool and trendy by choosing to shoot their ad campaign for their new line of handbags in a lofty chateau, featuring beautiful French Antiques in the background. Chanel’s decision reminds us that French Antiques are timeless pieces that can only add a touch of luxury to any home. Luckily, we have plenty of pieces in our gallery that certainly fit the bill!

French Louis XV Rosewood Marquetry and Gilded Bronze Desk

The gilded bronze detail of the desk adds a distinctive character to the richness of the wood, making the entire piece altogether exquisite.

French Antique Napoleon III Mirror

A similar mirror is in the background behind London model/rocker/socialite Alice Dellal, hand-picked by designer Karl Lagerfeld to be the new face of Chanel.

Solid Hand Carved Regency Period Walnut Mantle

A Regency period console table adorns the back of this striking shot taken in a classic French dining room.

French Crystal and Bronze Directoire Style Chandelier

A beautiful crystal chandelier hangs over the setting of one of Karl Lagerfeld’s shoots for Chanel’s Boy handbag campaign.

French Louis XVI Hand Carved Armchairs

To the green armchair seen in the photograph, we have an alternate leather pair of gorgeous hand carved armchairs with the original leather.
In the very own words of the label’s founder, Coco Chanel: 
Fashion changes, but style endures.
She was referring to her clothes, but the same can be said for beautiful, classic french antiques. Our gallery has literally hundreds of items handpicked for their timeless appeal and great quality. 

Posted by Jean-Marc Fray French Antiques at 03:10:00 PM
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Thursday, May 24, 2012

Swedish Painted Cast Iron & Wood Garden Set

Just in time for summer! Keep it classic, keep it chic, keep it cool. A beautiful Swedish Gustavian garden set has recently arrived at our gallery. Each piece in the set is beautifully decorated with an intricate leaf pattern. This gorgeous painted cast iron and wood garden set from Sweden adds a high sense of elegance and is the perfect setting when trying to beat the Texas heat. Placed in the shade of a patio or in the middle of a garden, these wonderfully crafted pieces are a timeless and classic, and will add a touch of the European countryside where ever they find their home.

Visit our website to see more pictures of this set as well as to take a look at our other new arrivals!


Posted by Jean-Marc Fray French Antiques at 06:37:00 PM
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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

A Retrospective in Luxury: Louis Vuitton and Marc Jacobs at Les Arts Decoratifs in Paris

A current exhibit in Les Arts Décoratifs Museum in Paris has the fashion and luxury minded abuzz as the luxury giant, Louis Vuitton, along with its Creative Director, designer Marc Jacobs, are presented side by side in a retrospective exhibit showcasing the growth of the Vuitton brand from its debut in 1854 to its position today as one of the world’s most recognized and profitable labels. The exhibit explores the unique relationship between two men, one a luggage maker who founded the company over a century ago, the other, a designer in his own right who today serves the label as its artistic muse. 

The exhibit is divided into two floors. The first floor covers the history of the company, it’s origins and all the innovations and expansions it underwent for over a century. The second floor is adorned with elements introduced since the naming of Marc Jacobs as Creative Director. One immediately recognizes a distinct edginess in Jacobs’ designs, all the while keeping with the integrity of the label’s luxury and class, but with a touch of daring. The exceptional chemistry of two innovative minds manifests itself in this truly spectacular exhibition, combining function and fashion, history and art.

Famille Vuitton, 1888
The past century has immortalized Louis Vuitton’s iconic monogram branding, making the label a staple in luxury goods and high fashion. The French fashion house was originally founded in 1854 by Louis Vuitton as Louis Vuitton Matellier, a manufacturer of travel goods. As luggage makers, Louis Vuitton redesigned trunks from having round tops, to flat tops giving Louis Vuitton trunks the ability to become stacked with ease for long voyages. It is this innovation in design that put them ahead of the luggage industry at the time. Today, Louis Vuitton offers a great combination of materials, interpretations, shapes, design, and function that all began with a simple traveling trunk.
Louis Vuitton Flagship Store on the Champs-Elysses in Paris.
Due to the success of the design, many luggage manufacturers began to imitate Louis Vuitton. The previously popular round-top trunks were designed for rain water run off from the tops of luggage in between transit times during travel over water. Vuitton’s innovation to flat top and bottom trunks made them stackable and easier for mass transport. Louis Vuitton trunks were made with a gray trianon canvas  which was lightweight and airtight. Throughout the formative years of the Louis Vuitton company, however, in order to avoid straight imitations and counterfeiting, the look of their luggage would evolve to become the unmistakable monogram design the world knows today. Upon the introduction of the Damier pattern (shown above), Vuitton began placing “marque L. Vuitton déposée” inside each trunk to further foil any counterfitting efforts by off brand designers and competitors. 
Images from’s History of Louis Vuitton trunks
The exhibit currently open at Les Arts Decoratifs in Paris showcases a selection of original Louis Vuitton trunks, stacked in the way that made their travel friendliness capabilities so desirable. Huge displays of Louis Vuitton’s legendary trunks line the corridors of the exhibit, including a fully unfolded display of Louis Vuitton’s ingenious bed-trunk.
As the exhibit leaves history behind and moves toward a glimpse into the modern day state under the guidance of Marc Jacobs, a warning is posted cautioning visitors of the bizarre twist about to occur. While the previous displays and pieces pay homage to the founders of Louis Vuitton, the second part of the exhibit focuses on the reign of Marc Jacobs and his drastic new influence on the label over the last 15 years. Since becoming its Artistic/Creative Director in 1997, Jacobs greatly expanded the brand by successfully incorporating ready-to-wear collections for men and women as well as fashion accessories into Louis Vuitton’s product line, even transforming the iconic Louis Vuitton handbag by playing with different designs, shapes, and colors. While Louis’s floor was very much a retrospective of the brand’s history, Marc’s floor is more a celebration of what Jacobs has done with the brand during his current stewardship.
Marc Jacobs at Louis Vuitton’s  Fall/Winter 2012 fashion show
Born in New York City, Jacobs’ formative years were spent studying fashion at Parson’s School of Design. In 2011, Time Magazine named Jacobs in the Time 100 as one the of world’s 100 Most Influential People. He ranked 12th in Out Magazine‘s list of the Top 50 Most Powerful Gay Men and Women in 2011. Unpredictable and a bit provacateur, Jacobs has a habit of consistently scaring and stunning the fashion world, of shocking and inspiring awe at the same time. He has known great success with his own namesake line. As Creative Director of Loius Vuitton, Jacobs has been instrumental in transitioning the label from a solely luxury brand, to an accessible ready-to-wear, widely desirable symbol of fashion.

Entering the Jacobs part of the exhibit, the visitor catches a rare glimpse into the mind and imagination of this brilliant designer. A wall covered with videos and images of cultural icons and influences (all handpicked by Marc himself) includes vignettes of fashion icons, historical figures, and scenes from old films that all come together to form a very campy view into the mind of a true genius.

Further into the exhibit, many of the iconic looks that Jacobs has created for Louis Vuitton in the past are on display, including Kate Moss’ dominatrix outfit from Vuitton’s Fall 2011 show, worn by a mannequin on all fours with a panther’s head in a cage with golden bars, tapping into the slight insanity and tinge of crazy that makes Jacobs’ vision so unique.
Similar to the window showcasing Louis Vuitton’s iconic luggage, a wall  meant to imitate the look of a box of chocolates is used to display 53 of Marc Jacobs’ handbags. The rest of the exhibit carries the same eclectic tone, appropriately paralleled with the unique vision and strong innovations and statement it is trying to make about the progressive success that has been brought about by Marc Jacobs.
The exhibit runs from March 9 to September 15, 2012. If this summer you find yourself in Paris looking to see a wonderful thing, visit Les Art Decoratifs, and enjoy this wonderful show.
Posted by Jean-Marc Fray French Antiques at 02:22:00 PM
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Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Elsa Schiaparelli and Miuccia Prada: Impossible Conversations Opening at the Met

Elsa Schiaparelli and Miuccia Prada

The Met is getting ready to unveil its new showcase. A collaborated exhibition of two of the fashion world’s most innovative women and most daring designers is scheduled to open this fall. The Met’s Spring 2012 Costume Institute has staged an imaginary conversation between these two iconic women, born over six decades apart. The exhibit promises to pay homage to their vision, their creativity, their tenacity as artists, and their ferocity as two of the fashion world’s most powerful women.

One has to sense the trend of history and precede it.

~Elsa Schiaparelli

When I design, my personal interests are my primary focus, my personal interests in life, in society, in culture. But I’m always conscious of the cycle of fashion… For me, it’s important to anticipate where fashion is heading. 

~Miuccia Prada

Italian designers Elsa Schiaparelli and Miuccia Prada are to be featured on the same bill via the newest installation of the Met’s Fashion Institute. This exhibit will present itself as an imaginary conversation between these two female fashion titans. The Met exhibit will explore the inner feelings of these women through their creations, through their own words, and through their lives. According to curator, Andrew Bolton, both women used fashion to provoke . . . “to challenge normative values.”
A glimpse of the upcoming exhibit

Judith Thurman of the New Yorker describes the exhibit’s tone as “invincible female self-possession.” Both of these women, though they lived in vastly different eras, became pillars for the power of women. Neither woman bowed down to the status-quo, rebelling their entire lives against  societal norms, breaking rules, and inspiring awe from those close enough and and lucky enough to get a real glance at their tenacity, and smart enough to understand comprehend their vision.

Left: Schiaparelli cape/Right: Prada coat

The imagined conversations between these women cover not only fashion, art, politics, values, women, and creativity are all featured subjects. Over 80 pieces will be featured from Schiaparelli’s collections between 19201950, and from Miuccia Prada’s collections from the 80’s and onward.

The pieces will be organized around seven themes, each housed in a separate gallery: Waist Up/Waist Down, Ugly Chic, Hard Chic, Naif Chic, The Classical Body, The Exotic Body, and The Surreal Body. Each theme juxtaposes one designer alongside the other as a way of resonating vibes between two vastly different eras.

From the Met website:

“Waist Up/Waist Down” will look at Schiaparelli’s use of decorative detailing as a response to restaurant dressing in the heyday of 1930s café society, while showing Prada’s below-the-waist focus as a symbolic expression of modernity and femininity.

“Neck Up/Knees Down” will showcase Schiaparelli’s hats and Prada’s footwear.

“Ugly Chic” will reveal how both women subvert ideals of beauty and glamour by playing with good and bad taste through color, prints, and textiles.

“Hard Chic” will explore the influence of uniforms and menswear to promote a minimal aesthetic that is intended to both deny and enhance femininity.

“Naïf Chic” will focus on Schiaparelli and Prada’s adoption of a girlish sensibility to subvert expectations of age-appropriate dressing.

“The Classical Body,” which also incorporates “The Pagan Body,” explores the designers’ engagement with antiquity through the gaze of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.

“The Exotic Body” will explore the influence of Eastern cultures through fabrics such as lamé, and silhouettes such as saris and sarongs.

“The Surreal Body” in the final gallery will illustrate how both women affect contemporary images of the female body through Surrealistic practices such as displacement, playing with scale, and blurring the boundaries between reality and illusion as well as the natural and the artificial.

Curator Andrew Bolton with Vogue Editor Anna Wintour at the opening exhibit of Schiaparelli/Prada

The exhibition will run from May 10 thru August 19. If you’re in NYC then, make sure to stop by what is sure to be an incredible collaborative product.

Posted by Jean-Marc Fray French Antiques at 06:10:00 PM
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