Remember when I mentioned that I went to Paris last summer? Well along with Merci, the concept store, we had to opportunity to see and explore many other amazing things. One of them was: Ets Legeron, a flower atelier or artificial flower maker. They hand make fake flowers for most of the major haute couture designers such as Christian Dior, Givenchy, Emanuel Ungaro, Christian Lacroix and more. The coolest part is the dude who runs it is the founders great-grandson!
Mr. Legeron kindly showed us process of making flowers. It is an extremely delicate and time consuming process.
First, Mr. Legeron stretches out the silk on a frame with nails on the ends. They then brush startch onto it to make it rigid. Next they take it to a metal stamper and hand cut the silk into various petal shapes.
At this point he dyes the petals with the necessary colors. First he adds the color and then shade. He did a lot of blotting the get the color just right. Then the petals must sit overnight to dry.
Then we entered a room where four women were sitting around a table carefully shaping and creating all of the beautiful flowers. This is a very meticulous process. They use all kinds of tools to create different shapes: heat, wax, tweezers and more!
They finish the process by gluing on a metal wire and hanging the flowers upside down to dry. Then voila you have finished flowers (like the ones below).
In all honesty, this wasn’t one of the appointments I was that excited about. However, it ended up being one of my favorite places. Mr. Legeron was really funny (even though he had to have a translator translate his jokes from french to english for us). The best part was at the end, he took a box of random left over flowers, dumped it on the table, and said we could all take one!
Last Summer, I was fortunate enough to get the opportunity to travel to Paris on a study abroad-type program through my school. Through this program we had the chance to meet many different people who work in the fashion industry in Paris. This allowed for an amazing/awe-inspiring trip. Some of the things we did were: We visited a fashion forecasting House called Promostyl; we went to see Gaspard Yurkievich, Hommes Winter 2010 show; we met the designer of Jamin Puech handbags; we visited an artificial flower atelier Ets Legeron, who hand makes flowers for almost every high-end label; we visited Ets Pery and met the owner who creates and makes jewels for famous jewelers; we did a butt load of sightseeing, and so much more.
During one of our appointments we visited a new concept store called, Merci. What makes Merci so incredible is that all of the profits are donated to a co-op in Madagascar that supports young women. The founders Marie-France and Bernard Cohen, own a very successful children’s clothing line called Bonpoint. The line did extremely well. Once they sold the line, they decided to put their wealth to a good cause. They wanted to create a concept store that allowed them to continue to do what they love (work in fashion) but also do something that benefitted a good cause.
Unlike most shops in Paris, which are very small, cluttered, and claustrophobic, Merci is very open and airy. The entrance looks you are entering the front door of a house. It even has a fiat parked in the front yard! Once inside, the store opens up into a huge room with high ceilings and sky lights that illuminate the interior. The open space creates a lofty yet homey atmosphere. It has three floors with a room dedicated to each category of products.
It truly is a lifestyle shop. As you wander from room to room you will find: men’s, women’s, children’s fashions, furniture, home goods, office supplies, hardware, decor, an art gallery, a restaurant, ice cream shop, a flower shop, an Annick Goutal laboratory to create your own fragranes, and a coffee shop that sells second hand books. Honestly, what else could you need? Yet, somehow they were able to do all of this without creating a cluttered environment.
My favorite room was the charity books section. In one corner of the store there is a coffee shop that doubles as a library/book store. You can read a book while sipping a latte or purchase one for future use. All of the books have been donated so you could find a book in almost any language.
The best part is prices are actually reasonable. You can find anything from low end designers to high end, like YSL and Stella McCartney. In addition, Merci collaborates with high-end to designers to offer their goods at more affordable prices. This allows them to sell stylish items at lower prices while still making a profit to donate to Madagascar.
So next time you find yourself in Paris, you MUST check out Merci @ 111 boulevard Beaumarchais 75003 Paris. On that note, I wish I was back in Paris right now! More stories later…
In the meantime, check out more pictures of Merci below.
Lunch at the Cat and the Fiddle
What I’m Wearing
Purple Blazer – Zara
Corset Print Shirt – Miley Cyrus and Max Azria for Wal-mart (No I’m not embarrassed)
Jean Shorts – True Religion (my neighbor gave me that I cut into shorts)
Black Ballet Flats – Payless Shoes
Vintage Sunglasses – Flea Market in Paris
Pink Hair Flower – Forever 21
Yep. That’s how I roll.