Français Chic

France is traditionally associated with fashion houses, original design, haute cuisine, fine wines and cognacs. While the luxury market, like any other, is subject to economic factors, makers of high-class goods feel confident.
A major world market player, "LVMH Moët Hennessy — Louis Vuitton" (or simply LVMH), displayed growth of over 16% in the first quarter of 2015. Maria Afonina took a look at the novel and the new from the world of French luxury.

Stamps With Love

Jean-Charles de Castelbajac

French designer Jean-Charles de Castelbajac has created a series of love-themed stamps for the French postal service. Stamps depicting "eskimo kisses", nose to nose, were launched especially for February 14, and are available now. The white background of the square stamps is decorated with flowers and hearts (for letters up to 20 grams in weight) and stars (for those up to 50 grams). Stamps occupy a special place in French cultural life. It is not the first time the French Post has employed the skills of a talented designer. Other luminaries such as Yves Saint Laurent, Chanel and Lanvin have worked with the postal service.

The Art of the Bikini


July 5 is unofficially the International Day of the Bikini — a commemoration of the exposed midriff, two-part swimsuit. French engineer Louis Réard first presented the mini-swimsuit in 1946. Ever since, this fundamental part of a woman's wardrobe has been exciting both designers and menfolk alike. French brand Eres has been designing luxury swimsuits for over 40 years.

Million-Dollar Cat

Karl Lagerfeld

If you don't make money from your cat or your goldfish, then what is the point? According to Karl Lagerfeld, the art director of Chanel, his cat, Choupette (lit. "little cabbage"), earned 3 million euros modelling for a car calendar and a line of products by the Japanese brand Shu Uemura in 2014. Drawings of the cat and Karl Lagerfeld adorn clothing and accessories from the "Tiffany Cooper for Karl Lagerfeld Capsule Collection."

In fact, they've already written a biography of Lagerfeld's darling, "Choupette: The Private Life of a High-Flying Fashion Cat." Patrick Mauriès and Jean Christophe Napias reveal the intimate daily details of the Burmese beauty: exclusive clothes, haute cuisine, a private jet, maids, gadgets and toys.

Bistro on Wheels


Specialists for the Peugeot Design Lab have unveiled a restaurant on wheels, Le Bistrot du Lion, a food truck based on a customized van with a matching trailer. The trailer unfolds into a full bistro with a well-equipped kitchen. Customers can be served at folding tables with umbrellas. In addition, the van comes with a sound system and a 46-inch screen.

The first chef of Le Bistrot du Lion is the talented Sven Chartier, from Saturne and Le Clown Bar. See the food truck and try the chef's dishes at EXPO 2015 until  October 31.   

Fashion Comics


Fashion house Dior has put out a comic book, "Jeune fille en Dior." The English edition is titled "Girl in Dior." Artist Annie Goetzinger drew the comic, which follows a fashion critic named Clara. Through the lens of the young journalist's acquaintance with designer Christian Dior, the graphic artist tells the story of Dior's 1947 Paris debut, which unveiled the silhouetted "new look" in a furor of full length skirts, tightened waistlines and "Bar" suits. 

She could have told Christian Dior's life story, but her main interest was fashion and the world of Dior from 1947–1957, Goetzinger said.

A Luxury Suite in the Sky

Air France 

Since the end of 2014, Air France has offered well-heeled guests a new luxury suite on board planes between Paris, Dubai, Jakarta, New York and Singapore. On B777-300 planes, those flying Air France's La Première class will have a suite of four separate rooms. In each suite, a comfortable chair transforms into a full sized bed, measuring 2m by 77cm with a futon mattress, pillow and a large Sofitel My Bed blanket. Each headrest is decorated with the winged seahorse, the emblem of Air France.

Suites are equipped with the latest generation of entertainment systems. The menu for passengers is developed by a Michelin star chef.

Watches for Patriots


At the end of 2014, actor Gérard Depardieu unveiled a watch collection to the public designed with Cvstos under his supervision. The range of watches bares the moniker "Proud to be Russian." Despite the controversy surrounding Depardieu, the watches continue to be a hit among buyers, judging by sales figures. The luxury watches are made from steel, titanium and French red gold. The limited range is available now, including in Russia. True, few can afford these watches — the most modestly priced timepiece runs for over 1 million rubles. While the patriotically named watches are designed with men in mind, there will soon be a separate range for women as well.

Not Only Handbags

Louis Vuitton

Louis Vuitton continues to enslave the hearts of fans with its novel projects. First, designers for the company presented a touring "Ballerina's Trunk" to Diana Vishneva, and made a customized case to carry the FIFA 2014 World Cup. Next was the announcement of the opening of the world's first Perfume Bar in Berlin, where flavorful cocktails are combined with aromas of famous scents. One of Bernard Arnault's most ambitious projects was the opening of the Fondation Louis Vuitton arts center in Paris. On June 2 as an extension to the "Keys to a Passion" exhibit, the second wing of the art center will open with the "Music / Sound" display, where works by Philippe Parreno, John Cage, Marina Abramovic and others will be shown.

Tea by Designer


For the occasion of his solo exhibition at the Grand Palais, Jean Paul Gaultier has developed a collection of teas with Kusmi. The collection features two black teas: Prince Vladimir, a blend of Earl Grey, citrus, vanilla and spices; and Anastasia, a combination of black tea, bergamot, lemon and orange blossom. The Jean Paul Gaultier tea boxes are decorated with white and blue striped sailor jerseys and tattoo art. This limited collection of tea especially for designer Jean Paul Gaultier can be bought at the Grand Palais for the duration of his fashion exhibit — until August 3.

In fact, the Kusmi tea company has Russian roots. It was established by Pavel Kousmichoff in 1867 in St. Petersburg. After the 1917 October Revolution, the company relocated to Paris.

Plates with 3D Images


At the Maison & Objet exhibition in Paris, Hermès presented its new collection of plates under the title "Voyage en Ikat." The French set of dishes are decorated with Eastern designs in 3D. "Ikat" refers to a complex process of dyeing and weaving techniques native to Indonesia.

The entire "Voyage en Ikat" collection is produced and painted by hand in Limoges, France.

Russia - France 2015
Russia - France 2015
Welcome to Russia-France business supplement, devoted to strengthening bilateral relations between Russia and France.
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