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Louis Vuitton - Alphabet Concept.

Vanessa Beecroft is the first artist to, erm, "expose" at the new super-swank Louis Vuitton space just off the Champs Elysées. The one that was cleverly covered by a giant LV valise for months as work was carried out.

For an artist where the model is at the core of her work it is an appropriate choice for the inauguration of the space. Downstairs too there is even James Turrell video wall. What is going on? The worlds biggest and quite nasty prefered brand of the champagne swiggin' nouves embraces the edgy art-world. A temple to consummation which incorporates a gallery too?

Vuitton say the artists' are totally free..... and Beecroft toes the party line. She says she was only worried about the context of the space, a shop, rather than a museum, but is happy that it's brought her work to a wider public.

For her it's apparently the realisation of a long held dream using the jeunes femmes nues to evoke Renaissance Italian pillars, classicism and beauty. The images of
models with their starkly dark or luminous bodies intertwined to shape the letters of Louis Vuitton's name are strangely beautiful, only Beecroft could get away with it.

In another part of the gallery she has photographed the models in little shelves where the overpriced valise usually go but the imagery is more disturbing, they look tired, bored or frightened and the use of ropes and ties lends a fetishistic feel.

Had enough? Have a go in in the elevators or "sensory deprivation lifts" by artist Olafur Eliasson. A security guard will accompany you, in pitch blackness. He told me the majority of people hate them. Kind of sexy all the same and you have 7 floors to get busy.

L'espace Louis-Vuitton.
Entrance on 60, rue Bassano, 75008

Jerome Dillinger chez Le Meurice

It was great to meet Jerome Dillinger who is the antithesis to the fashionista if ever I saw one. With just 20 minutes to go before his collection hit the parquet in Le Meurice the young Lyonnais was the epitome of calm and as he placed the finishing touches to his models. What struck me was how young they were. Having seen them gossiping and laughing back stage avant defilé , during the show they had the air of having delved into Maman's armoire. Earlier on they'd seemed no different to the French girls you see in Les Halles on a Saturday afternoon.

Richar René

At the Richar René show the models were normal people. Well normal "interesting looking" people. First I saw bellies, then bums, then realised they were not models but they looked hot! A couple sashayed down the runway with cigarettes and another with a glass of brandy. The biggest cheer was for an lady of a certain age who shook her ass with each step. In an elegant, French manner of course.

Ivana dress like that!

Assisting Viviane Blassel from TF1 (blogger with 360° Fashion) meant I was lucky enough to be seated in the second row at this week's Haute Couture shows.

My favourite today was Franck Sorbier's "Il faut cultiver notre Jardin". It was held in the Lido on Champs Elyseés. Inspired in part by the Stevie Wonder album "The Secret Life of Plants", the Amazonian models arose from the depths of the Lido on a green plinth surrounded by jets of water, exotic bird cries into a space transformed into a jungle; huge banana tree leaves paved the floor. The gowns were inspired by plants and flowers in a glorious concoction of colours.

I was right behind Ivana Trump (of course she was right at the front). She said she thought the show was "Magnifique, darling!"


Stopped by Kodjo to check out this newish "espace ré-créatif" which claims to mix it up with art, books music and fashion. Kind of like Colette on the wrong side of the tracks, Porte de Cligancourt.

Meeting Nigel Dickinson the old-skool roving photographer with motorcycle included was a treat. I was very envious of his voyages when I saw his website. I will have to find out if he will be going to the gypsy pilgramage at Saintes Maries de la Mer this year. I love that place.

Media as-fixiation

I staged an impromptu a one-woman performance/protest at Palais du Tokyo private view on Friday for the opening of "Notre Histoire". A protest because the free bar got closed after we'd been jostled within an inch of our lives for 20 minutes and just as we reached the tapes, gagging for a cocktail.

That was our punishment for actually having a look at the exhibition rather than heading straight upstairs with the rest of the blaggers.

When the public came in at 9pm the atmosphere was hotting up, it was like being in an adventure playground of art and there was genuine interaction with the works in the show. On good nights Palais du Tokyo is a giant art nightclub because you can smoke and drink all over the place. And such a treat to see the flights of fashion fancy so often lacking in the Faubourgs.

Outside of the BlackBlock shop where the graff artists always are we got tanked up on Asahi at 2.50 a can, (subsidised?), and we went back to see some of the choice parts later.

That's when I was buried in the Wang Du paper mountain but a security guard was worried I'd be asphixiated and pulled me out.

It was an incredible feeling, like being buried alive and hearing the funeral take place above ground, feeling the earth (or rather shredded Le Parisien in this case) hit the coffin lump by lump, and the voices get slowly more distant.

It was great to see others following suit later, it gave the guards something to do. Normally I feel sorry for them, they always look so bored.

Carbonne 14

I love hearing about French popular culture that I missed out on as a kid. A friend recently shared this site with me where you'll find key broadcasts from cult 80's radio station Carbonne 14 such as "30 millions de voleurs" which gives advice on how to commit credit card fraud and retail theft amongst other things...Luckily someone has captured them onto cassette tapes for our enjoyment and as a way to better our colloquial French.

Screw the diet

There's too many bizarre taste sensations on the chocolate scene these days:

Jean-Paul Hevin Les chocolats au fromage. The shop also has a cool Salon de Thé - great for a lunch entre copînes, it's not too expensive. Patrick Roger New kid on the block - his ganaches are flavored with lime, basil, jasmin, quince and Szechuan pepper corns.

Delicabar at are offering foie gras au chocolat at Le Bon Marché.

La Maison du Chocolat The "Sevillane" collection features 5 flavor combinations: lime and grapefruit, apricot and lavander, raspberry and wild flowers, melon and port, passion fruit and coriander.

Difficult third Fatwa

From schnews - Broadcast last Tuesday on Al-Jazeera, Osama Bin Laden's latest release "On your knees infidel, before the wrath of the mujahadeen" has been slammed by industry critics as disappointingly 'samey' and having a 'derivative' feel. Although eagerly awaited for over a year it has already been compared unfavourably to earlier undeniable classics such as "Hostility toward America is a religious duty" and seminal sleeper hit "America, the power of Allah will turn your Empire to dust". One jihadist pop picker told SchNews "It only seems like yesterday that Osama's call for the faithful to rise up and obliterate the Great Satan was just so fresh and 'edgy' but what started in a blaze of originality in the early 90s has just spawned a host of imitators and now it seems as if everyone with a camcorder and an RPG launcher is in on the act. Perhaps like Bowie in the Tin Machine years he's become stuck in an artistic rut or maybe it's just that difficult third fatwa but I personally preferred his earlier stuff while he was still political". Osama's agent said he was 'disappointed' by the projects reception and was working at an undisclosed location on a forthcoming greatest hits compilation which he hopes will 'crack the all important American market'.

Avoid politics or religion

I realise that this quaint old British tradition is not really observed here. Not that I ever observed it anyway but I've come to see it's merits. Looking forward to meeting the "Dutch writer" promised by the host of a recent dinner party, I am disappointed to find he's a right-wing Danish-American. And worse, I remember on two occasions being stopped in the street by him (rue de Charonne - Fete de la Musique '03 and rue du Buci before Christmas - I have a good memory) and having to escape from his lecherosity. Thankfully due to the colour change to my hair, he didn't seem to remember having harrassed me.

He soon launched into a right-wing tirade (subject of his book) - point being only Fox TV is telling the truth these days in the US and all French journalists and media workers are corrupt. Iraqui's are just lovin' it (the occupation) and I must a communist if I disagree. Along with ALL French people.

I had to leave. I hadn't met someone so right wing since I left my parents home!

The next day I apologise to the host for the "oral jousting". His reply amuses, and repulses me;

"He is worth knowing better. Of course he has to act his age, but his brain works better than that of most Frenchmen of his age I’ve met (and of many Americans too, by the way). In addition, he is physically handsome, in a modern Viking style, with a spectacular haircut. And don’t forget that the Danes conquered Scotland at some point, and the Scots themselves went over to dominate Ireland."


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