My collection is neither uptown nor downtown, so I've called it Crosstown Traffic...," explained Belgian-born, Manhattan-based designer Diane von Furstenberg during New York fashion week, in an interview with Paris Modes the French cable TV production outfit that celebrates its 10th anniversary next month. Now at the helm of DVF Studio, an experimental arts and style atelier on the edge of New York's meat-packing district, this jet-setting "Renaissance Woman" used to host a literary salon in Paris, in the 1980s... And, her current catwalk creations capture a "city gypsy" spirit that's equally in vogue on both sides of the Atlantic. A far cry from real-life stereotypes such as the fortune-tellers on the Champs-Elysées... A newfangled tribe of faux "Business Class" gypsies will be traipsing across this capital's boulevards, this spring.
Suddenly, everybody seems to identify with gypsy attitude. What sparked the trend? The transatlantic success of The Gipsy Kings whose latest CD titled "Somos Gitanos" includes a strummed-up version of Bob Marley's hit "One Love," featuring The Boys Choir of Harlem? Or, the fad for baroquely musical movies set in the manouche milieu, along the lines of Tony Gatlifs Swing?
Where to get that swashbuckling bandanna & big belt "cosmo bohemian" look? One option is to scout around the flea markets for vintage attire. Alternatively, head for a multi-ethnic neighborhood, to check out its market stalls and cut-price solderies for cheap thrills. For instance, the Goutte-d'Or quarter (M° Barbès-Rochechouart). A stone's throw from its famed discount store, Tati, an entire street is devoted to a series of state-funded boutiques run by young créateurs de mode. Among these, Pélagique (6 rue des Gardes, 18e, tel: 01 42 52 02 58) specializes in floral, granny prints given a funky twist.
However, if money is no object zero in on the Christian Dior shop on avenue Montaigne. whose windows spotlight John Galliano's "VIP gypsy" styles. Then, scoot on to Voyage (56 av Montaigne, 8e, tel: 01 43 59 10 10), which showcases the glitzy-kitsch boho get-ups and customized diamanté jeans that turned Louise and Tiziano Mazziti's original emporium on London's Fulham Road into a vital pit stop for the "international set."
Sleeker than the mobile-hooked backpacking "urban nomads" first seen in the late 1990s, new millennium "crosstown gypsies" flaunt handheld digital "navigation" tools with full-color screens and tangy-hued clip-on faceplates such as Palm's rechargeable m515, now available around the world in English, French, German and Spanish.
Just out "Paris 09-Tendances" is a 90-minute DVD aimed at streetwise "townies" with upmarket tastes. Distributed by Wagram Music, this ground-breaking guide devised by media buffs Seb Janiak and Ksandra Cazanove highlights some 70 ultra-trendy, luxurious restaurants, bars, nightspots and shopping addresses throughout the city.
A cross of a beach shack in Goa and a Maharaja's palace with post-modern appeal, a neo-hippy restaurant/club has sprung up where you'd least expect to find it, in an arrondissement associated with well-heeled elegance... Imagined by nightlife guru Claude Challe whod already concocted an exotic DJ ambience at the Buddha Bar and entrepreneurial restaurateur Thierry Bourdoncle, Nirvana functions on several planes, from 8am to the early hours (4am). Stop by for breakfast in its orangery-like ground floor space that doubles as an open-air terrace, in sunny weather. Chill out next to the bar where tropical cocktails and spicy "wrap" sandwiches are served. Meet for a lunchtime tête-à-tête over "Nirvanesque" world food. Or for an altogether otherwordly dining experience sample the 100 euro gastronomic menu "reinvented" every evening (according to market availability) by the establishment's star chefs, Maurice Guilouët and Mette Christensen. State-of-the-art technology turns "Le Nirvana" into a transcendental haven, with its ubiquitous subtly modulated audio system, and computer-programmed lighting, offering no less than 17.7 million chromatic nuances. Meanwhile, last but not least... In the basement, a translucent dancefloor shaped like a vinyl disc spirals in and out, opposite a color-coded "wall of sound"/equalizer. 3 av Matignon, 8e, tel: 01 53 89 18 91
Another key "April in Paris" event is the groovy soirée scheduled at the Man Ray nightclub on avenue George V, to launch Davidoff Cool Water's upcoming marketing campaign streets away from the brand's connection with the whiff of luxury cigars... A high tech-equipped "concept bus" named "Dive into the wave" will tour Europe, boosting the image of this light'n'fresh men's fragrance via an interactive "road show." An opportunity for surf and snowboard aficionados to test Microsoft's X-Box game console, and take part in a grand competition co-sponsored by hip surfwear label Rip Curl.
France's next cultural season will be officially linked with Czechoslovakia. From May to December 2002 a whole series of nationwide events at the crossroads of everything from the visual arts and architecture to music, as well as films and photography will be promoted under the "Bohemia Magica" banner. In this context, the Lara Vincy gallery presents "Brand New Rubbish," a Harley Davidson-inspired video installation by Jiri Cernicky, a young Czech with an anti-consumerist outlook, May 16 to Jul 6, 47 rue de Seine, 6e, tel: 01 42 36 72 51.