Fauchon's "Mombasa" Christmas hamper
by Georgina Oliver
Happy Century !! *****
Enter 2000. Y2K or no Y2K... As of millennium night, the whole planet hits fresh start mode. Somewhere in France, some champagne-sipping bon vivant has been programmed from birth to be the first to say bon siècle!
At the turn of the previous century, an orange was considered a Christmas treat. Now, the skys the limit. What would you like in your stocking? A Mercedes Benz? Or, just a steel and gold fountain pen designed by Porsche (Faber-Castell, 850F)? Place de la Madeleine épicerie fine Fauchon proposes wickedly tempting champagne and foie gras-filled holiday hampers named after exotic Centurys Eve dream spots such as Capri (3,500F) and Bangalor (9,500F).
As the curtain falls on 1999, media coverage of human misery has never been so explicit, yet luxury is making a huge comeback. The marketing pitch? Its okay to think de luxe as long as the objects of your desire exude excellence of craftsmanship and unbridled creativity. No need to have a bad conscience because you cant resist the sequined version of Jean Paul Gaultiers signature sailor shirt (8,500F), a one-shot specially produced for Le Bon Marché's Editions Privées collection... Even rap-and-Rollex ostentation is fine, as an expression of urban attitude.
All that glitters...
Anyway, all that glitters... aint necessarily gold. At the La Samaritaine department store everything from scrumptious pre-creased silk scarves (525F) to a cheap-but-chic computer mouse (195F) comes with a shiny, futuristic finish
Part of luxurys rehabilitation process? Many upmarket brands
support humanitarian causes. The prestigious LVMH empire which recently inaugurated a corporate building in Manhattan
has backed a number of hospital research projects since 1990.
Among others: the Claude Pompidou Foundation, assisted in creating a center for Alzeimers sufferers .
Cool clothing labels have also started to develop strategies with a humanitarian edge. The Morgan boutique chain has enlisted the help of Adriana Karembeu the top model wife of a member of France's winning World Cup soccer team to represent its campaign in aid of the Red Cross anti-personnel mines effort. In Morgans Love Emergency ads, a photograph by Antonio Spinozza pictures Adriana wearing a white t-shirt stamped with a red cross. Short-sleeved option: 100F. Long-sleeved alternative: 125F. Order info: 01.43.11.40.60.
De-stressing the Planet
At the helm of Japanese beauty leader Shiseidos research & development operation, Dr Kumano is on a millennium mission to de-stress the planet. His formula? Smell good, feel good... Part of a range of cosmetics and treatments meant to liberate our brains naturally-tranquilizing endorphins, the Relaxing Fragrance line evokes rosehip tea. (Shiseido, Salons du Palais Royal, 142, galerie de Valois, 1er, tel: 01.49.27.09.09.)
Plunging into 2000
Endorphins sound great. But, there are a lot of adrenalin freaks out there, for whom entering a new century is more like a once-in-a-lifetime buzz. A collective bungy jump... The best place to try that? At the Viaduc de la Souleuvre, Hacketts Normandy-based site de saut à l'élastique, which fêtes its 10th anniversary next summer. (Reservations: 02.31.66.31.66.)
Titled En route vers l'an 2000, alternative tour operator Voyages 4As winter catalog is packed with offbeat millennium destinations. For art lovers, theres Barcelona sur les traces de Dali. For Green travelers, an interactive éco-trip to Brazil. For hard rock hardliners, a 3-day millennium party hosted by a small town in former East Germany, named... Wacken. But, dance and DJ addicts will zero in on Zurichs Energy Millenium. (Bookings: 03.83.37.65.99.)
Calling all Concepts
Niched on the first floor of Au Bon Marché opposite Yohji Yamamoto's stand 33-1 R-LAX is already plugged into tomorrow. Run by Ramdane Touhami, 24 and 28-year-old Alexandre Thumerelle, this minute concept space tells you what to read (Dazed & Confused, Wallpaper, CitizenK, Sleazenation...), what to listen to (from Ben Harper to zee French Touch) and what to wear (Kulte France or Hysteric Glamour t-shirts, with Ruvenfeder jeans equipped with nifty pockets, so clubbers neednt worry about credit cards and keys when dancing.
Where to dance the century away? At a non-stop 36-hour DJ jamboree organized by the Wake up! nightclubbin outfit (tel: 01.42.71.43.43) at lEnfer, 34, rue du Départ, 14e. Dubbed House of Legend, the first part starts on December 31 at 10pm. Then, follows an Ibiza-inspired after session named Space, which begins at 8am on Saturday, January 1, 2000... and continues throughout the day, before signing off with Cafe con Leche, a fantabulous 10pm-to-8am Saturday-through-Sunday finale.
At OPA, Offre Publique dAmbiance. Open daily from breakfast to 2am, this brand new Bastille bar boasts three levels: a dancefloor with a giant screen, a restaurant and, last but not least, a VIP enclave. (9, rue Biscornet, 12e, tel: 01.49.28.97.16.)
Heard of Winney? Probably not. Winney, not Winnie the Pooh... is the subject of a Winney Jubilee to be seen at the Colette concept store, from Dec 6-31. Featuring the kind of objects usually associated with merchandising, this fun millennium presentation consecrates a fictitious animated character, giving him an equally fictitious 1920s to the presentday cartoon anthology. In real life, Hollywood electro-pop band Sparks wrote the soundtrack of a film billing him as A Cute Candidate. Now, he exists. (213, rue St-Honoré, 1er, 01.55.35.33.90.)
A new millennium requires a change of lifestyle. Mobility of spirit... Aptly called Mobilité, a cosy showroom/gallery near M° Voltaire targets weekend browsers with a taste for teak from Indonesia and China. Open on Saturdays from 10am to 8pm, it exhibits furniture from the firms mail order catalog. A key feature? Folding chairs and extendable tables, suitable for small, city apartments. Among Mobilités customer services: made-to-measure based on your own designs, nationwide transport and another par correspondance exclusive... A fine selection of tea. (15, rue Camille Desmoulins, 11e, tel: 01.40.18.14.60.)
Imagine... Youre surfing on Hippy Chic. A fashion site. Your cursor lights on a listing titled The Precursors. Click on it... Theres no way the Renoma label wont be mentioned. Back in the 60s and 70s, Renoma contrasted sharp velvet jackets and satin shirts with funky gear, foreseeing a form of elegance thats bang on, right now. Till January 16, a timely retrospective focuses on Maurice Renomas 40-year career, finishing with a series of experimental photographs: his latest passion. (Centre Culturel, 22, rue de la Belle-Feuille, 92100 Boulogne-Billancourt, tel: 01.55.18.45.65.)
Morgan's "Love Emergency" campaign
© Morgan /Antonio Spinozza
La Samaritaine Mmicrowave
Hackett's bungy ballet
Voyages 4A's winter catalog
Renom's unmistakable style