Category Archives: france

Dries Van Noten Inspirations

The best part of spring, besides the warmer weather, are all the new shows and exhibitions that are opening. One of the chicest is Dries Van Noten: Inspirations at Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris on view until 31 August 2014.The first exhibition devoted to the Belgian designer “takes us on an intimate journey into his artistic universe, he reveals the singularity of his creative process which he illustrates with his various and numerous sources of inspiration.” On view are pieces from his own fashion archives mixed with pieces from the artwork and textiles from the archives of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, photographs, videos, and music. There is even inspiration from his beloved gardens which can be seen in the March 2014 issue of Vogue magazine in case you can’t make it to Paris. But if you do make it to Paris, make sure you stop by his exquisite boutiques for even more design inspiration. Unfortunately the accompanying book Dries Van Noten by Pamela Golbin and Hamish Bowles won’t be available in the US until April. Another reason to book a flight to Paris. 

Dries Van Noten Fall/Winter 2008

Dries Van Noten Fall/Winter 2009

Dries Van Noten Fall/Winter 2006

Dries Van Noten Fall/Winter 2010

Dries Van Noten Paris Boutique

Dries Van Noten Paris Boutique

Dries Van Noten Paris Boutique

Dries Van Noten and his Airedale terrier Harry. 

A look from his recent Fall/Winter 2014 show. 

Dries and Harry in the garden. 

Garden images via Juergen Teller. 

A French Feast

There is nothing I love more than finding a photo that leads you down the rabbit hole of discovery.  I came across an image of a French room that turned out to be from a Vogue Living Australia feature on French entertaining tips from cook and author Jane Webster.  Jane is Australian and visited France with her family each year until they decided to buy and renovate a Chateau in Normandy. This led to the publication of two books, cooking classes, and tours of the area.  I just ordered her books At My French Table: Food, Family, and Joie de Vivre in a Corner of Normandy and French Ties and can’t wait for them to be delivered.  I also can’t wait to see if I can visit this extraordinary chateau when I get to France. 

Photos by Sharyn Cairns 


We all know decorators have beautiful homes but I think it’s the antique dealers who have the most interesting.  I recently came across the home of architect Philippe Thelin and decorator Thierry Gonzal who also own a showroom in Tours, France called Mis’en scène. I couldn’t find the original article from AD France where these photos appeared but sometimes I photo is worth a thousand words. Enjoy. 

Cartier: Le Style et L’Histoire

One of the biggest treats during my last trip to Paris was attending the preview of Cartier: Le Style et L’Histoire exhibition at the Grand Palais. I think we all know Cartier for their Love bracelets and chic watches but you will be amazed at the breadth of the 600 pieces of jewelry, objects, watches, clocks that are displayed in context with dresses, advertisements, photos, engravings, and even magazines. I was especially proud to see many American patrons represented such as Marjorie Merriweather Post, Barbara Hutton, and Elizabeth Taylor mixed in among the queens and princesses. You may think that I’ve shown you everything in the exhibit in this post but this is just the tip of the iceberg.  Every time I thought I saw the most beautiful and glittering piece possible, I would turn a corner and see something even more breathtaking.  I encourage those of you in Paris to attend Maison & Objet and Paris Deco Off and even the couture shows to make time for this once in a lifetime exhibition. 
Grand Palais
Salon d’Honneur
21 Avenue Franklin Delano Roosevelt
75008 Paris, France
On view until 16 February 2014

The beautiful Queen Maria of Romania and her Cartier tiara.

The chicest sewing accessories I’ve ever seen! 

The wall of watches. 

The necklace that made my jaw drop!

Make sure you look up at the light show. 

Marlene Dietrich and her chic gold Cartier jewelry. 

Majorie Merriweather Post

Marjorie and Deenie

Loved this video of Elizabeth Taylor receiving a diamond and ruby Cartier necklace next to a pool. The actual necklace is below. 

Ac Cartier broach lent to the exhibition by Queen Elizabeth II.

Cartier jewels belonging to Princess Grace of Monaco. 

Sword designed by Jean Cocteau and fabricated by Cartier

Photos by Heather Clawson for Habitually Chcic

Palette Cleanser

I hope you all had a great holiday. A great last minute Christmas present for me was finding the new January/February 2014 issue of Elle Decor on the newsstand.  It’s the International Issue and my favorite home featured was a 19th-century house in Normandy designed by Franz Potisek.  I won’t ruin it by posting photos from that feature but I did find some pics from Franz’s own apartment in Paris.  I think they are from a few years ago so I hope we see another look at it soon. 

Chic, Le Sport

Christmas came early to Habitually Chic. Yesterday, I received a copy of the book Jacques Henri Lartigue: A Sporting Life.  In French, the title is Chic, le sport ! which obviously, I find amusing. I was first introduced to the book at a press preview at Hermès whose 2013 theme for the year was “a sporting life” which was inspired by the photos of Lartigue. The book was a collaboration with Actes Sud who produced a gorgeous volume with not only photos but of the drawings and journal pages of the peripatetic photographer.  While I have seen many of Lartigue’s beach photos of sun kissed skin on the Riviera which also populate the book, I hadn’t seen his winter sports photos, some of which I’ve posted here. Many are from Megève and Chamonix where the skiers and skaters wore wool instead of moisture wicking techo fiber jackets or helmets for that matter. Their skies were probably wood too. No wonder Hermès was inspired. 

Simplicity in Saint Germain

Veranda posted pics of this apartment in the Saint Germain neighborhood of Paris on Instagram and now it has me even more excited to rent an apartment next year. It also makes me want to order a new sofa upholstered in a blue/black linen fabric.  I love how all the dark accents and gilt frames pop off the light walls. I’m also surprised that nothing was hung above the bed.  But sometimes it’s nice to leave a place for the eye to rest. I’m sad to say though that I think the designer, David Gieseman, passed away in 2011.  He had been born in Ohio and lived in New York City before moving to Paris in 1977. I would like to think that he’d be happy to know that others are thinking of following in his footsteps and still admiring his lovely apartment. 

Photos by Joel Laiter

Maison Jean Cocteau

I’ve been having serious post-Paris depression since returning from my trip.  While London was fun, Paris will always have my heart.   I’m more resolved than ever to spend a few months there next year, especially since it will mean having more time to explore.  I did however manage to see a lot on my latest visit including Maison Jean Cocteau in Milly-et-Forêt with Cartier. Jean Cocteau was one of the first people to wear the famous Cartier Trinity Ring and Cartier also helped finance the restoration of Maison Jean Cocteau with Pierre Bergé, the President of the Maison Jean Cocteau.

“[It was] the house which was waiting for me.  I am living in this retreat, far from the bells of Palais-Royal. It gives me an example of the absurd magnificent stubbornedd of the vegetable kingdom,  I rearrange the memories of former countrysides where I used to dream of Paris, as later I used to dream in Paris of taking flight. The waters of the moat and the sunshine reflect on the walls of my room their false shimmering marbles.  Everywhere Spring is jubilant.” – Jean Cocteau, The Difficulty of Being

Jean Cocteau took refuge at his home in Milly-et-Forêt from 1947 to 1963.  It’s a modest house only a half hour from Paris that was originally one of the out buildings of the chateau that sits behind the moat beyond the garden. The pale grey color of the shutters perfectly plays off the limestone walls and you can see Cocteau at the house in many pictures below. You will also see how the leopard clad study has influenced a multitude of present day designers.  Cocteau was friends with Madeleine Castaing who had a hand in the design of the rooms and arrangement of objects.  Many pieces were given to Cocteau as gifts from famous friends such as Coco Chanel but also picked up on his travels.  As many of us do today, he collected and mixed what he liked no matter if they were priceless antiques or silly souvenirs. 

I’d like to think that Jean Cocteau was one of those creative people who could not be corralled into just one medium and that might partly be the case, but he was born into a very bourgeois family where he was expected to learn to draw and play music. Cocteau was not only a writer and artist but also a filmmaker who collaborated on music and design . He was friends with some of the greatest artists of his time which can be seem in some of the portraits that hang in the gallery spaces by Amedeo Modigliani, Pablo Picasso, and Andy Warhol. 
There is nothing more inspiring than stepping foot into the home of such a creative person as Jean Cocteau and I thank Cartier for this amazing opportunity. 

Jean Cocteau and Marlene Dietrich in 1947. 

The main drawing room with Madeleine Castaing wallpaper or fabric walls. 

The gold starburst above the mantle was a gift from Coco Chanel. The Chinese bronze deer were a gift from Francine Weisweiller. 

This is the uniform Jean Cocteau wore to receive his Académie Française award in 1955.  The sword that he had Cartier design for the occassion is being exhibited until February 16, 2014 at the Cartier: Le Style et L’Histoire exhibit at the Grand Palais in Paris.  More on this later. 

The canopy bed is going into a file for my future children’s room. 

A pencil drawing of Coco Chanel by Jean Cocteau from 1930. 

Andy Warhol portraits of Jean Cocteau. 

The view outside from the stairwell.

The chateau behind the property. 

Photos by Heather Clawson for Habitually Chic

Chic in Paris: Hotel Bourg Tibourg

I will say that I was shocked at the size of my room at the Hotel Bourg Tibourg when I checked in but the point is that you’re in Paris and shouldn’t really be in your room anyway.  The hotel which is part of the Costes family of hotels, which means all the same amazing smelling amenities and candles burning, definitely grew on me during my stay.  It’s got a great reputation among the chic set and it’s in a perfect location. I just love this photo shoot that they use for their post cards. Just wish I could pronounce the street name better so the rude French taxi drivers would know where I was going each day. But that’s Paris for you. 
Hotel Bourg Tibourg
19 rue du Bourg Tibourg
75004 Paris FRANCE

I paid for my own room in this hotel and was not compensated for this post. 

Christmas in Europe

While everyone in the US is gearing up for Thanksgiving, Europe is in full Christmas mode.  The decorations in Paris were particularly beautiful and I look forward to seeing more when I go back on Friday.  Ladurée on rue Bonaparte above just finished their decorations. I just arrived in London today and what I’ve seen so far seems a bit flashier.  But in both cases, it has me very excited for the holiday season and to go to the flower market when I get home. 

Ralph’s in Paris

Bulbs in the Marais area of Paris.

Christmas trees and car at Merci in Paris. 

Regent Street in London. 

The beautiful flowers at Liberty of London.
All photos by me via Instagram