Mr Propre Antibacterien packaging
© Procter & Gamble
Clean c'est cool
by Georgina Oliver

Springtime is spring cleaning time. And that’s just what this fledgling century is about to do... Take a feather-duster to fin de siècle spiderwebs. Throw out the clutter. And start afresh.
At the turn of the millennium, terms like “ethnic cleansing” gave the word “clean” a sinister connotation. Minimal dress codes were deemed dull... Now, “clean” stands for “Clean Slate,” which happens to be the name of the label behind Fiona Apple’s feel good album called “When the pawn...”.

Mr Clean

The symbol of International Women’s Day? “Mr Clean.” Seen in metro stations throughout Paris, Procter & Gamble-sponsored billboards announcing la journée de la femme (Mar 8) featured a blown-up image of Monsieur Propre. Posing as a body-built house husband?
Good news for germ freaks à la Michael Jackson: Procter and the Pasteur Institute are co-developing state-of-the-art household products, starting with a lethal range of disinfectants and disposable cloths called Mr Propre Antibactérien.

Spring Cleaning

Clearly, high tech domesticity is on the up. TV advertisements promote super-swift “magnet-like” mops called Swiffer. And Henkel France recently hosted a luncheon at prestige Champs-Elysées pavilion Ledoyen to introduce Svit, a revolutionary home dry cleaning kit, to be used in spin-dryers.


So much for the house-proud... House music has swept over Paris’ club scene like a tornado. Wherever you go, whatever you listen to – from ethno groove to jazzy combos – the squeaky-clean electro/techno sound pioneered by “French Touch” DJs is “in the air.” Closed last January, the What’s up Bar still produces CDs. Its latest release? A compilation titled “Residents.” Ambience!... (East West/Warner, all tracks in English.)

Beauty By Et Vous

The cleanest style space in town? Beauty By Et Vous, 25, rue Royale, 8e, tel: The très clean Et Vous clothing brand, plus three storeys of “less is more” chic, in the spirit of Purple magazine. Level 1: menswear. Level -1: womenswear. Level zero: fragrances, cosmetics, aromatherapy, skinhairandnail care.


An enlightened businessman with an eye for cutting-edge fashion and design, Armand Hadida, opened L’Eclaireur (26, av des Champs-Elysées, 8e, tel: two decades ago. The forerunner of over-clean concept stores like Colette, this tasteful multibrand boutique now boasts three Paris locales and a Japanese outlet. (Limited edition 20th anniversary t-shirts by Ann Demeulemeester, Martin Margiela, Maharishi, Comme des Garçons and Dries Van Noten.)

Minimal Eateries

On the food front, a couple of ultra-minimal eateries have just been launched. Philippe Starck’s Bon (25, rue de la Pompe, 16e), along with a Japanese haute cuisine den named Yen. Its specialty? Soba. Its designer? Hyper-sober architect Hisanobu Tsujimura. Equally purist: the tableware, by Ruiko Arabe. (22, rue St-Benoît, 6e, tel:

Glasgow Touch

A prime location for Scottish filmmakers like Dany (“Trainspotting,” “The Beach”...) Boyle, Glasgow has cleaned up its image. First seen at the city’s futuristic Lighthouse building, The Glasgow Collection of Millennium Products was showcased for a few days at the British Embassy on rue du faubourg St-Honoré. A fresh take on design: from Snowster snowboards to Concept Q, a prototype vacuum cleaner.

Cutting-Edge Shoes

To get le look clean right, there’s no power like the power of the right running shoes. Parisian fans of Brit footwear can now order their Acupuncture trainers via Internet, for the price they would pay in London, (
And, at Les Bains... A dazzling défilé/DJ night unveiled the pristine publicity campaign for Reebok’s “Classic Collection,” based on a series of black and white celebrity portraits by international photographer Bert Stern, including French rapper Passi.

Duchamp Attitude

Through June, on-the-pulse Londonners will hop on the Eurostar to visit the Marcel Duchamp show at the freshly overhauled Pompidou Center. Co-curated by British artist Richard Hamilton, “Eau & gaz à tous les étages” (“Gas & water on all floors”) spotlights key works bequeathed by the artist’s widow “Teeny.”

XSive Art

The opposite of clean? Neo-decadence. An unabashedly “XSive” trend personified by two exhibitions. Elke Krystufek’s “Hollywoodland,” at the CNEAI/Maison Levanneur graphics center on the Ile des Impressionistes in Chatou, till April 9, (tel: And self-proclaimed “Hermaphrodite twins in art,” Eva and Adele, to May 18 at Galerie Jérôme de Noirmont, 38, av Matignon, 8e, tel:

Café de Flore

The season’s most select cocktail? The launch of La Gazette de Saint-Germain-des-Prés’ second issue, upstairs at the Café de Flore. Vintage Moët à-go-go, laced with bons mots about the Latin Quarter’s much threatened village atmosphere. The magazine’s publisher, Catherine Valère, made a speech. As did YSL éminence grise Pierre Bergé... under the spell of Left Bank luminaries like Bertolucci muse Dominique Sanda. (St-Germain Médias:

Couture Hats

As Paris’ elegantes prepare to pick a hat for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, gallery/accessory shop Cerize is in the starting block with “Haut les chapeaux,” a flamboyant exhibition devoted to haute couture milliner Isabelle Fumagalli. (380, rue du St-Honoré, 1er, tel:

Crossed Wires

An “April fool” joke? Sadly, not. You have seen that penguin somewhere before... Wrongly attributed to Philippe Starck in last month’s CityScan, this wacky chest of drawers by Jus de Réglisse was exhibited at Court-Circuit, a young design fair held at La Villette mid-March. The next edition of this offbeat event? May 19 (3-8pm), May 20 & 21 (11am to 8pm), Espace des Blancs-Manteaux, 48, rue Vieille du Temple, 4e, 10F, kids free.

Fiona Apple CD portrait
© Clean Slate

Swiffer press kit

Concept Q cacuum cleaner
© The Glasgow Collection /Smith

Reebok ad
© Bert Sterm

L'Eclaireur T-Shirt

Eva and Adele
© Galerie Jérome de Noirmont

Meuble Pingouin by Philippe Starck
Conran/ Jus de Reglisse