The Best-Kept Boutique Secret in Paris
Fri 26 Aug 2011
A bird’s nest lamp from the Netherlands-based Ay illuminate.
With all the famous Paris shops and avenues, it’s hard to know where to find something unique. Where does one go for the off-the-beaten-path treasures? Over time some friends have shared their secret locations with me, places they love and can’t live without, and I’m proud to say that I now have my own! While most of my friends prefer to keep their shops to themselves to avoid throngs of people stealing their “it” dresses, shoes and decorative pieces, I can’t wait to tell you about my place.
I’ll go on record: I’m an IKEA junkie. If there were such a thing as IKEA-Anon, I would be in charge of the doughnuts, since I’d be at every meeting, no doubt. The clean lines and minimal style speak to me, but I fear I have crossed the line between clean and soulless. My home feels…empty. Style does not yet live here. So I vowed that I would use some of my extra cash to class up this joint, and bring a in little quirk to represent my own waked-out personality.
I’ve been on the lookout for shops that fit this criteria for…well, forever. When I do find something I fall for, it tends to be in the multithousand-euro range. To that, I promptly say, “Pffft!” and walk out of the pretentious store as any self-respecting nonmillionaire would.
Are there really places in Paris with awesome, original stuff that’s not going to bankrupt me? I was losing all hope when…
I FOUND ONE!
Meet Fiona Cameron, or “Fi,” as some of us call her (and, in my mind, “FiFi,” which I shall dub her once I’ve bought an obscene amount of objects and clothes and she just can’t say no). She is the proprietor of Storie. And one of those people who have a unique talent that the aptitude gods saw fit to skip when they got to me: style. I walked into her shop and immediately thought, OMFG. This shop needs to be in my house. The whole thing. Where’s a moving truck, I need one stat!
A “Sexy Biche.”
I fell head over heels for the original art, the chandeliers, the bowls, the creative pieces…it was all just gorgeous, and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on some of it. I ended up going home with a “Sexy Biche,” and I have to tell you, it looks just perfect, and I love it more than anything in my entire house. Can’t wait to go back and get more since there are also some very beautiful clothes that caught my eye as well!
But I’ll let Fi tell you about those things…
What is it about your shop that makes it different from the rest?
I’d like everything I have in the shop in my home. The shop isn’t just business. I couldn’t sell anything I didn’t believe in…it was a lifestyle choice for us, and I want to work with people I like and find interesting. We’ve got these gorgeous little waistcoats and scarves from a young British designer called Beshlie Mckelvie. She’s got such style and sensitivity for the materials she works with, I’d gladly put anything she makes in the shop. She works closely with women’s cooperatives in India and around South America, incorporating her designs with their craft. No one else in Paris is selling her stuff, so that makes us special… We’ve also got some really good art, because we’ve been lucky enough to cross paths with some fantastic artists: US artist Matthew Rose (collage/surrealism) lives just around the corner, we got on, and now we’re selling his work. I’m really excited about the exhibition of his work that we’ll be having at Storie later this summer. He works mainly with collage and recoup, so it’ll sit beautifully in with all the recoup/recycling we’ve done in the shop.
What’s the latest and greatest—what did you just acquire and are really excited about?
Aghh, so much nice stuff, as it’s just the beginning and it’s arriving every day…delicate porcelain buttons painted with platinum by Caroline Barnes. She’s based on the Jurassic coast in Dorset, UK. Her buttons clearly draw inspiration from the nature around her home—they are sublime. Or perhaps our lovely little reversible liberty-print bikinis by Pippa Jenkings, handmade here in Paris and inspired by 1960s St.-Tropez. Oh, or the small collection of organic silk dresses we’ve just received from EELD—again, handmade in Paris.
Storie carries ink-drawn postcards from the Paris paperie Picrobulle. Here, the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame.
Where do you find these things?
A fair amount are things we’ve picked up traveling and then gone back looking for a reliable source for the shop, like the textiles I bought on a trip to an area outside Jaipur in India, where they specialize in hand-printed fabrics. Or one-off bits and bobs from markets around Europe, or further afield places that I am not even trying to find again, as I am not sure it’d be possible. There are also lots of great design fairs around Europe; I did a two-day sprint around the mammoth I Saloni (Milan design fair) looking for inspiration as we were setting up. Many designers exhibiting there have far-reaching influence. It’s good to get an idea of what they are up to… Small designers who are just starting out also exhibit there.
What’s on your current “must scavenge for” list?
I’m obsessed by glasses, wine glasses, goblets… and I really like the ones you find in the brocantes, so I’ve always got my eyes open for pretty glasses I can put in the shop. Also linen, I love old linen… Oh, and boxes, nice old boxes or drawers in metal or wood—they are so useful. After months of searching I’ve finally found a nice old mannequin with a neat little figure.
What events are happening in the shop soon?
Lots coming up. We’re doing an exhibition with Matthew Rose this month (“God and Country,” August 30–September 30). There’s also an exhibition of cards by British artist Sara J Beazley… We’ll be making a space in our window for the hip online design store the Vitrine, and in October the Paris-based Must Tribe art collective is taking the shop over for a few days. I’ve got absolutely no control over what they’ll get up to so it’ll be interesting! Always open to creative collaborations, so step forward if you’ve got any ideas we might want to spread.
Tell her Shannon sent you, and happy shopping!
20, rue de Delambre, in the 14th Arrondissement.
Metro: Vavin (line 4) or Edgar Quinet (line 6).
Tues–Sat, 11 a.m.–2 p.m.; 3 p.m.–8 p.m. Sun: 11 a.m.–2 p.m.
Sara J Beazley