Valentine’s Day in France

As a child I was introduced to St. Valentine’s Day at school like many other American kids. The entire class would run around the room placing colorful valentines and small bits of chalky heart-shaped candies (that our mothers had bought for us at Woolworths) on each other’s desk. This developed into a more serious ritual in the seventh grade after I developed a crush on a boy named Robert O’Kronley. Much to the embarrassment of this 12-year-old boy who scarcely acknowledged my existence, not to mention my teacher who watched me with disapproval, I offered a hand-inscribed card and a heart-shaped box of chocolates to Robert. Later, in high school, after receiving my first satin Hallmark card and heart-shaped box of Whitman’s chocolates, I discovered Valentine’s Day was even more fun when you played by the rules and let the boys do the offering.

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An American (designer) in Paris

Fashion focus: Patrick Kelly, Peter Kea, Gregg Snyder and John Arthur Speight, April, 1992

There was a time when Americans never dared think of selling clothes to the French. After all, we were always considered to be lacking in taste, particularly in our dress. As times and attitudes have changed, fashion has become more international, less localized. The spectacular success of the late Patrick Kelly, for one, has lured others to test the waters this side of the Atlantic. Currently there are Americans working freelance, as assistants, and these four entrepreneurs who’ve dared to start their own businesses. Continue reading “An American (designer) in Paris”

Place Vendôme… All That Glitters

A series of 17th-century buildings, dotted with gargoyles and fitted together in a symmetrical octagon, serves as a backdrop to one of the most dazzling areas of Paris: Place Vendôme. Under the watchful eye of Napoleon, perched high atop a 144-foot bronze column, the world’s most coveted gems are transformed into extravagant trinkets for the world’s rich and famous personalities. Spellbinding names like Boucheron, Cartier, Chaumet and Van Cleef & Arpels all boast of a rich and opulent history that has withstood the test of time and continues to flourish, much like the centuries-old square itself.

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