I’m excited to introduce our new Rome Antiques Diva Guide, Désirée Marie Townley, vintage fashion, couture and costume design and makeup artistry expert, and author of the popular blog THE CUT AND THE CLOTH. In addition to leading Rome antiques and vintage shopping tours, Désirée will be a regular contributor here on The Antiques Diva® & Co blog. With her trained eye for detail and world travels, she brings an artistic perspective to sourcing antiques and vintage fashion. If you’re attending our 5th Annual Paris Flea Market Champagne Brunch on Jan 21 (and I hope you are!) You can meet Désirée and some of our other Diva Guides in person. If not, book an Italy antiques buying, vintage fashion or design inspiration tour! Today Désirée is sharing a few tips she learned 1st hand for chic and stylish touring in Paris.
Chic Packing for Paris
Paris is its own cliche… full of things you have seen in movies and read about in books. There is a reason that descriptions and images of these streets are so widely used- this is one of the most incredible cities in the world. The more familiar the city becomes to me, the more I love her. It is impossible for me to be bored or hungry here.
To increase your pleasure of traveling to any city, I recommend engulfing yourself in cinematic and literary references to the culture. For Paris, I recommend:
• Watch: Paris Was a Woman to fall in love with the history of Paris in the 1920’s
• Watch: Midnight in Paris directed by Woody Allen, for fun
• Read: A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway because it is a classic
My sister had recently turned 30, and as a gift, my parents decided to bring her to Paris to meet me. I had to give her something memorable for such an important birthday so I sent a box containing a Chanel handbag with a note that said, “The French respect Chanel. Meet me in Paris with this bag on your arm”. So she did. My whole family did.
DREAMING OF A TRIP TO ITALY?
BOOK AN ANTIQUES, DESIGN INSPIRATION or VINTAGE FASHION TRIP
Dear Diva Readers,
Les Merveilles de Babellou. And if you should happen to feel generous, you can send any of these lovely pieces to my flat! And by the way, Les Merveilles de Babellou has so much more than just Chanel pieces—peruse their website for some seriously drool-worthy vintage goodies!ome people may think that I’m difficult to buy for, but the truth is, all I want for Christmas (or any time of year!) is vintage Chanel! Check out some fabulous pieces offered by one of our favorite vintage fashion source in Paris,
Now let’s talk prices! What’s it cost to buy vintage Chanel?
A timeless Chanel bright red quilted patent leather bag decorated with a CC clasp and a silver metal shoulder strap chain interlaced with red leather. Simply perfect! 3800 Euro
These Chanel clip earrings made of gilt metal and adorned with blue, red, and green glass paste cabochons would be perfect for the holiday season! 530 Euro
Chanel by Gripoix atelier, a necklace made of several rows of faux pearls with an arabesque element in blackened gold metal with multicolored cabochons and four chains of red glass beads. A true stunner! 3800 Euro
Chanel by Gripoix atelier, a demi-parure consisting of a pearl necklace with a centered brooch and a pair of clip earrings both in golden metal and blue and green glass paste. 3500 Euro
A Chanel transparent resin bracelet encrusted with black and green tweed, small CC logo and a silver metal chain interlaced with black tweed. 850 Euro
Merry Christmas, and as Coco might have said “May All Your Christmases be Stylish and Chic!”
The Antiques Diva®
Dear Diva Readers,
My dear friend Catherine, a social media expert and content curator, and I have known each other for ages. We lived in Paris together back at the start of the millineum and have been shopping the world together ever since. She was with me when my I first developed my passion for Chanel and so I was so excited when she emailed me recently to say she was lucky to be gifted a vintage Chanel camera bag for Christmas. It was everything she was looking for….
- black lambskin
- quilted patent leather
- gold chain strap
- front outer pocket with CC logo
- inside zip pocket
The bag was perfect for life in the city: the right size to hold a wallet, smart phone, keys and lipstick. Not too big or heavy, waterproof for year-round walking the streets of NYC. And it would fit easily inside her LV shopper carry-on when traveling.
She had been coveting the purse for several weeks, but with the holidays coming it wasn’t the time to buy herself a gift. But Santa’s helper must have whispered in her husband’s ear, because on Christmas morning the little black bag was hers! All Hers!
“We were heading out for dinner, and I decided it was a good night to try out my new bag. The bag looked stunning against my black and gold coat: as a shoulder bag. The chain strap was simply too short to use as a cross-body, the purse rested snugly above my waist. Living in the city I strongly prefer the convenience of a cross-body purse, easy for hands-free walking, subway rides and carrying groceries home.
The next few days I did some online research and discovered Mautto, makers of purse straps, replacement straps and handbag accessories. After studying their prices and photos, I ordered a 12” strap extender made of gold chain and black leather with mini hooks. $31.00 less 10% first-time customer coupon, for $27.90 shipping included. Express delivery is available starting at $12.99.
Because I decided to travel after I ordered the strap extender, I emailed Lynette, the owner of Mautto, and changed my shipping address. Lynette couldn’t have been nicer or more prompt with her response: perfect customer service.
The strap arrived in less than 2 weeks (with another 10% discount coupon), and I easily attached it to my Chanel chain strap with the tiny gold hooks. The length is perfect: my cross-body now rests comfortably on my hip. And you can barely notice where the strap extender attaches to the original chain strap.
I have a myrtille blue Louis Vuitton Speedy bag and have been searching to find a matching strap; unfortunately LV discontinued the myrtille color a few years ago. I’ll be purchasing my strap from Mautto – with the 10% discount coupon!
The Mautto website is easy to use with lots of pictures and examples of their custom straps and extenders. A blog, photo gallery and tips make it easy to pick your best solution from the literally hundreds of combinations possible – Mautto has dozens of colors, metals, hook styles, and accessories to choose from. They also provide custom solutions to your designer bag strap dilemmas.”
At The Antiques Diva & Co we love vintage fashion and we love repurposing items to fit modern day living!! What an excellent idea Catherine shared! How are you repurposing your vintage fashion items?
The Antiques Diva®
Dear Diva Readers,
ere at The Antiques Diva & Co, we often get tour inquiries from clients who want to purchase a piece of “Chanel history.” Of course our Paris Diva Guides know all the hot spots to score vintage Chanel garments or jewelry but they also know the classic haunts that Mademoiselle herself would frequent. As you’re out and about shopping for vintage Chanel in Paris you can’t help but sashay past some of these landmarks while meandering from vintage Chanel shop to vintage Chanel shop. One such place on our Must See Diva Guide is 31 rue Cambon, Chanel’s apartment above her flagship store. While not open to the public, from time to time – on mega VIP occasions – we’ve been admitted entrance. But even if you’re just walking by you can almost smell #5 in the air as you look up to her window from the street and imagine Paris as it was decades before… After all, not much has changed.
If you’re as enchanted by Madamoiselle as I am I want to share some photos and a bit of history about Gabrielle Chanel’s private apartment. One might picture a chic black and white flat, something similar to a classic Chanel suit. But the rooms above the Chanel store reflect anything but simplicity. Coco lived large. A smart mix of color and pattern saturate the place. The apartment is infused with rich details including shelf after shelf of leather bound books, most with red accents in the bindings. Black lacquered furniture and Chinese screens mix nicely with French antique pieces, allowing East to meet West.
Symbolism is another prevalent theme in this private residence. The camellia flower was an important symbol to Coco Chanel perhaps because it represents purity and longevity in Asian culture. She kept ears of golden wheat near the fireplace. One might think this strange—until you know the meaning behind it. Wheat symbolizes prosperity and wealth, things that Chanel had not grown up with, but rather worked her way to.
These themes have continued to work their way into collections and ad campaigns even to the present day. Since Karl Lagerfeld took over the House of Chanel, he’s been incorporating Coco’s inspirations. For instance, his Spring-Summer 2010 collection featured golden wheat ears on belts, jewelry, and was embroidered on garments.
Whether you’re designing an outfit, a room or simply looking for inspiration, Coco Chanel certainly offers plenty of ideas through the time capsule that is her apartment. I suppose one lesson here is that our experiences and aspirations influence our surroundings, and our surroundings, in turn, inform our work. Whether you’re a diehard Chanel fan or not, strolling the haunts of this iconic lady is something that should definitely be on your to-do list when visiting Paris!
If you would like information on booking an Antiques Diva Paris Flea Market Tour or Vintage Chanel Shopping Tour, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Antiques Diva®