Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Ritz, Paris Closes to Undergo 2-Year Renovation

The Ritz, Paris
This summer, the historical Ritz, Paris closes its doors to accommodate renovations due to be unveiled in 2014. The two and a half year long, €200 million endeavor is an effort to update the famous hotel after it failed to earn the designation of a “Palace Hotel” this year. The Ritz has always been known to boast old world Parisian luxury, but today it faces competition with more modernized hotel chains, such as Starwood Hotel, owner of the W Hotel chain, to name one. Many of the Ritz’s patrons fear that the historic landmark at the Place Vendome will become thoroughly modernized, but planners reassure their clients that The Ritz will remain a glamorous piece of timeless luxury as it has always been.

It is no secret that the illustrious and enigmatic Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel made her home at The Ritz Paris for over 30 years. Rumor has it that the fashion legend was present at 15 Place Vendome when it was liberated during WWII, under protection from political persecution. The photograph below is how Coco’s former suite looks today.

Coco Chanel at her apartment at The Ritz, Paris, 1960

The elegant look of this apartment can be accomplished and replicated with just a few key pieces.

French Directoire Pair of Hand Painted Bergères

A very handsome pair of armchairs provide a comfortable place to sit as well as two beautiful pieces of furniture to punctuate the boundaries of a charmingly decorated room.

French Napolean III Black and Gold Leaf Mirror

A grand mirror of impressive size is just what any room needs to complete a feel of opulence. This gold leaf Napoleon II mirror is positively charged with a savory old world charm.
Dining room at The Ritz, Paris, 1930’s

From the very beginning, The Ritz was ahead of its time. It was the first Paris hotel to have electricity on all floors, as well as bathrooms inside rooms. The Ritz provided luxury, convenience, and comfort. It catered to the highest class clientele. Once the private residence of the Duke of Gramont, this mansion-turned-hotel became a hub for Paris’ rich and powerful, effectively attracting international attention.
L’Espadon dining room at The Ritz, Paris; pre-renovation
The classic elegance of The Ritz, Paris is unmatched. The beautiful decor stays true to its traditional roots. In keeping with the aesthetic of authentic antique furnishings, a little bit of the glamour from the past finds its way into every room.

Elegant Pair of Louis XVI Gold Leafed Armchairs

 A subtle way to enhance the look and feel of luxury is with a great pair of chairs. This pair of 23 carat gold leafed armchairs exudes that air of high class elegance that is so deliciously classic. The intricate detail in the hand carved arms and legs is truly wonderful.

French Art Nouveau Period Alabaster Lamp

The ambient lighting of this lamp is absolutely wonderful and calming. The soft glow that comes through the smooth alabaster traces and illuminates the beautiful patterns in the hand-carved stone.

The Ritz played host to an exhaustive list of big name visitors. Besides Coco Chanel, The Ritz was a stomping ground for Jean-Paul Sartre, Marlene Dietrich, Greta Garbo, Charlie Chaplin, Simone de Beauvoir, Oscar Wilde, Truman Capote, Marcel Proust, and Ernest Hemingway to name a few.
Ernest Hemingway liberates The Ritz during WWII

Additionally, The Ritz, Paris has been the setting for literature and film. Both F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Tender is the Night and Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises were set in the hotel. In How to Steal A Million, Audrey Hepburn and Gary Cooper initiate their on screen romance at a Suite in The Ritz. More recently, Miranda Priestly and her assistant, Andrea Sachs, stayed at The Ritz during fashion week in The Devil Wears Prada.

A beautiful suite at The Ritz, Paris

Stepping through the revolving doors of the legendary Ritz Paris can only be described as magical. From its grand lobby and luxurious suites to its charming bars and elegant dining rooms, this historic landmark never fails to stir the imagination and enchant all who stay there. (Five Star Alliance)

As it closes its doors at the end of this month, many of the world’s wealthiest and most powerful will be holding their breaths for the unveiling in 2014. Until then, those that have love for this historic and majestic hotel will have to settle for accommodations elsewhere.

In the mean time, visit our gallery for a few luxury pieces for your own home, or our website to check out our new arrivals. Whether you’re in Paris, New York, or Austin, there’s always a way to be “putting on the Ritz”.

Posted by Jean-Marc Fray French Antiques at 10:51:00 PM
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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Chanel’s Genius, Karl Lagerfeld Presents “The New Vintage”

It was a an old fashion(ed) revival! Karl Lagerfeld, the genius behind luxury couturier Chanel, presented a newly refined idea of the term “vintage.” He described the show as…
“what it was not, and it could be what it has never been before.” 
For active buyers of couture, there is an increasing demand for the one of a kind and truly unique as larger clothing chains are now able to deliver well made and chic pieces to a mass market. Couture has to fight back to continuously one-up these chains by turning up the volume on their garments.
To further describe the his concept, Lagerfeld was quoted saying:
“‘New Vintage’ is a proposition for something that could last — at least I hope so,” he said. “This is the same attitude, the same spirit, the same name, same concept — but something for our time.” 

New Vintage somehow has the capability to be a step forward, and a look back, both at the same time, empowering timelessness as an epitome of a strong sense of direction when it comes to concepts of fashion and design. Drawing inspiration from Chanel’s archives from the 30’s, 50’s, even from the 80’s, Lagerfeld juxtaposes decade upon decade of iconic fashion, creating a truly unique look.


As it often happens, the aesthetics that rule fashion are not distinctly in service to fashion. Lagerfeld’s concept of the New Vintage is widely applicable also to home decor. Interesting takes on furniture shapes, architectural lines, uses of varying fabric, and experiments with mixing various materials in a single piece make furniture chic and cool. 

As Milan Fashion wraps up, leaving Chanel to bask in the praise for their new collection, we’d like to follow suit and show off some of the vintage pieces we have in our gallery.

Vintage Armchairs with Leather Upholstery

An incredibly handsome pair of Italian armchairs like these would definitely add an effortless element of cool to any room. The strong geometric presence that shape these chairs brings 50’s chic to its former glory. The soft, high grade Argentine leather shows off their top notch upholstery. Beautifully French polished legs add a high gloss sheen to these amazing chairs.

Vintage Chrome Brass and Glass Cocktail Table 

This gorgeous table seamlessly blends vintage and modern in one spectacular piece. Circa 1950, this piece is highly aesthetic with its strong lines. The metallic provided chrome and brass give it a very modern feel, despite the fact that it is decades old. But regardless of its age, this table carries a wow factor in both looks and the great condition it has been kept in. Simple, beautiful, contemporary, this is a piece that goes with pretty much everything.


Rare Jean Charles Chrome and Brass Bar Cart, Signed

One of our wonderful new arrivals! This unique bar cart is a very rare find from Maison Charles. A piece from the 60’s, this bar cart bears the signature of J. Charles, the main creator of Maison Charles furniture in the 1960’s. Both chrome and brass parts boast beautiful patinas. This cart is the perfect size, and the casters make it easily mobile – great for entertaining.


Pair of Black Leather Chesterfield Club Chairs

The French Club Chair has a timeless and honored history. Originally found in clubs all around France and England where men gathered away from home, these chairs have a been long-standing testament to luxury, comfort, and relaxation. This luxurious vintage pair or armchairs don’t just look great, they are unbelievably comfortable. Each one is a perfect place to relax after a long day. This stately pair is in excellent form. Each chair is on casters, making them easy to move about when planing on re-arranging a room, but won’t shift when sat in. A bold statement in black.



A great aspect of this idea for a New Vintage is how highly conceptual the final products are. Many of the pieces in this new collection combined high romance with trendy vibes. Classic Coco elegance meets Lagerfeld innovation.

As always, the attention to detail found in every piece of Chanel Haute Couture is staggering. Fine furnishings come with the same stamp of quality and workmanship. Intricate in every detail, the best and most beautiful pieces are always the ones done by the most skillful hands.

Antique Spanish Hand Painted Fir Mirror

This impressively sized mirror boasts a beautiful floral detail that is completely painted by hand. Quite a bit older than vintage, this piece was originally made in the 1900‘s and has survived the tests of time. Age has only made this antique beauty even more desirable


Fabulous Murano Glass Chandelier by Cenedese

Similar to Lagerfeld’s use of 3D floral detail in his current collection for Chanel. Created by one of the best glass blowers in Murano, Cenedese is historically one of the most important and highly respected glass maker in Venice. This piece serves a testament as to why. With a reflective main structure, this chandelier is a sphere covered in hand blown glass flowers on every surface. Each meticulously made flower is a masterpiece on its own. Put together, they create a charming and beautiful fixture. This chandelier is completely exquisite. A true work of art.


Spectacular Black Murano Glass Chandelier from Italy

Also hand-blown and imported from Italy, this piece is hauntingly beautiful, bathed in black, and covered in leaf and flower detail. The use of unconventional black glass makes this a truly unique piece. The chandelier is visually stunning and in person, is of impressive size. Definitely an eye catching show stopper.



Comparing high fashion and fine furnishings side by side reveals exactly what makes these luxury items so desirable. When a piece is made by hand, it is automatically one of a kind. Pieces such as these become status symbols and people want to have them. Whether it’s a Lagerfeld original from the latest Haute Couture show, or a great antique piece from our gallery at Jean-Marc Fray, vintage will always be in demand and in style.

Posted by Jean-Marc Fray French Antiques at 10:48:00 PM
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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The New Boys of Summer: Splashes of Color from Fashion’s Top Houses

This year, Milan Fashion Week was overrun with bursts of brightly hued suits, metallic tones in vibrant washes, and fabulous features of color. Grey economic times have been hitting hard, but Italian fashion house Gucci has chosen to respond with an array of colors for their upcoming Men’s Collection in Milan. A first look at a selection of beautiful suits reveals Gucci’s bold ideas about transforming an established look by introducing vibrant splashes to each ensemble.

Gucci is not the only house jumping on this wagon. Burberry (above) has also launched a line featuring brightly colored metallics. Designers like Salvatore Ferragamo, Donatella Versace, and Miuccia Prada, are illuminating this season’s menswear with bright yellows, bold blues, scorching reds, and other whimsical summer tones, making their collections much more playful and interesting compared to other more drab and conservative choices. It seems as though this summer, fashion houses are willing to take further steps forward by making bolder moves, and putting out louder choices. So far, they are receiving a whole lot of attention and very positive feedback from the fashion industry’s most demanding consumers.
The same principles can be applied to home decor. This gorgeous painting was created by local Austin artist Meredith Pardue. The Ornaments of Grace IX, as it is titled, showcases bursts of color. A piece such as this would break the tedium in a uniformly decorated space. The variation and possibilities in design themes and ideas are absolutely endless! One of the wonderful things about decorating is the flexibility one has in being able to express their creativity. In that sense, fashion and decor share a bond in both application and as forms of self expression. Check out what vibrant colors the coming season has to offer!



The suit above is part of Gucci’s new Spring/Summer collection, this striking jade suit reminds us the waters of the Mediterranean, as well as pieces we have in the gallery


Gorgeous Pair of Murano Sea Green Glass Lamps


The unique hue is reminiscent of the Italian coast and is similar to the sea green color of this pair of lamps in our gallery. Their interesting shape are a point of intrigue. Their slender figures are both impressive and graceful.




Donatella Versace’s collection is an homage to Rome’s gladiatorial past. Inspired by the use of color by The Memphis Group, she juxtaposes an eclectic palette onto the grisly history of the sport. Sea foam pops up once again, but the coat worn by this male model is synched by a gloriously blue belt. The color is absolutely stunning, especially with the golden accents.


Italian Cerulean Blue Murano Glass Chandelier



The blue of Donatella’s belt looks almost identical to the blue boasted by this charming Murano chandelier imported from Italy. Hanging in our newly acquired space at the Jean-Marc Fray Gallery, this fixture is truly remarkable in the way it bursts with an easy air of cool and chic


Italian Pair of Cerulean Blue Murano Glass Lamps

With the many one of a kind pieces we have in our gallery, the unique beauty of Murano glass doubles with this pair of gorgeous lamps in cerulean blue with flecks of 23k gold blown right into the glass. Colored by the same blue as a clear sky, punctuated with the gold of a bright shining sun, these lamps really are imbued with the spirit of the summertime.


This masterfully color-blocked outfit by Salvatore Ferragamo, features a bold choice in yellow. Fun, fluorescent, and definitely a head-turning eye-catcher. A statement this strong in fashion can be replicated in decor with the right pieces.

Italian Murano “Avventurina” Glass Sputnik Chandelier



A truly dynamic piece! This golden gem of a chandelier is an absolute stunner! Each rod extends beautifully from the chandelier’s reflective brass structure. 


Vintage Mazzega Murano Glass Chandelier



This particular piece hangs with several interlocking glass pieces, forming a cascade of geometric, iridescent glass. Each piece was carefully hand crafted. Each individual glass piece is stunning, and appears to change colors depending on angle and lighting, making it a truly unique and one of a kind piece.


Amber and Crystal Murano Glass Chandelier



Each uniquely shaped glass part of this massive 5 tier chandelier was hand-blown by the skilled masters of Murano in Italy. This remarkable beauty is an absolute showstopper. When seen in person, the chandelier is truly impressive. No doubt, this is the perfect statement piece.




The suit above is also from Gucci’s new collection. It’s becoming apparent that boldness and color are what drive the new looks they’ve come up with. This very smart looking pinstripe suit would be a great addition to any wardrobe.


Pair of Amber and Tea Murano Glass Sconces by Venini



And this pair of fantastic sconces would serve to beautify any home. There is no denying the resemblance between these and the above image. The bold stripes made by alternating dark and lighter hues provide a wonderful contrast in each piece, providing ambient lighting, with just a enough edginess in the design.


Pair of Venini Murano Glass Wall Sconces



This alternative, lighter colored pair of sconces, similar to the style above, is also by Venini. This two-tiered, pair of crystal and amber sconces boast the same beauty as their darker counter part. The color of these sconces is similar to the Amber and Crystal Murano Glass Chandelier.


Gucci, Jil Sander, Prada


These sharp looking suits designed by Gucci, Jil Sander, and Prada are boldly sporting a wonderful burgundy color. Simple, yet elegant, they bring to mind of a pair of lamps in our gallery.


Amethyst and Crystal Murano Glass Lamps



Hand-blown amethyst and crystal glass come together in perfect harmony in these gorgeous lamps. The dark, ox-blood hue of the wonderful amethyst spheres are segmented by cut crystal glass rings. These lamps come in a pair. As the old saying goes, two are better than one. 


Ferragamo runway, Milan


All over Europe’s hottest runways, color is making a comeback and reclaiming the summer. Colors evoke the feeling of the sunny season. In Texas most want to keep the heat out of their homes, but that’s no reason not to bring in the same pizazz when it comes to decor.


  “Bang Bang Universe” by Meredith Pardue



The world’s best designers are doing it to their clothes, try out the summer splash in your home!

Posted by Jean-Marc Fray French Antiques at 04:06:00 PM
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Thursday, July 05, 2012

French Restoration Period Hand Painted Buffet

French Restoration Period Hand Painted Buffet



Another piece with tons of soul. If objects could talk, this one would most certainly tell some interesting stories. Crafted in the 1820’s, this French Restoration period fir buffet is hand-painted and silver-leafed with the original iron forged locks still in place upon the wonderfully aged double doors. A perfect piece for a kitchen or dining room where people gather and conversations flow…

Posted by Jean-Marc Fray French Antiques at 01:34:00 PM
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