YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections


Body Is Willing, the Franc Is Weak


PARIS — The dollar is strong here, making the kind of bargains that American shoppers once enjoyed abroad again available. (Of course, we could point out that by the time a hotel room and plane ticket are factored in, a great European deal isn't too impressive, but why be a party pooper?)

High-heeled, strappy velvet sandals by Robert Clergerie are priced at $250 at Barneys, Neiman Marcus, or the Clergerie boutique in West Hollywood. In Paris, they sell for $180.

The first Parisian Oscar de la Renta boutique opened last week on the Rue Faubourg St. Honore. Glittering in the window is the short-sleeved version of Hillary Clinton's inaugural ball gown, going for 51,750 French francs, or $9,409.

Tourists more interested in sightseeing than shopping could mix the two on that fabled street, where Hermes has been headquartered for a century.

Two gargantuan watches, big enough to girdle the belly of a large horse, are suspended from the side of the building's second and third floors. The Harnais, a sport watch with leather strap introduced last year, was inspired by the brow band of an equestrian bridal.

Jean-Louis Dumas, the company's chairman and the fifth generation of the Hermes family to run the business, didn't have to fight local zoning restrictions to mount his arresting display.

"He's very proud of the watch design, and he has a sense of humor," Hermes representative Marion Davidson said. "No one else in Paris seems to do these kind of things, but 10 years ago he wrapped the flagship store in red ribbon to celebrate the launch of a new perfume."

What the Editors Wear: Fashion journalists are exposed to a dizzying array of clothes, so when a number of them actually adopt a particular style, it's a clear sign of a look happening. With balmy spring temperatures in Milan and Paris making coats unnecessary, stretchy, long-sleeved T-shirts of different colors overlapping each other--the hem of the underlayer deliberately hanging out--were paired with skinny pants or slingy skirts. Pioneered by Helmut Lang and popularized for spring in Calvin Klein's collection, the style can be improvised from whatever's in the closet. Our most successful combination: an Eddie Bauer ivory silk underwear underneath a sheer silk and cashmere Prada pullover in navy.

Stores We Love: We asked a plugged-in Parisian what the coolest shop in town is, and he pointed us in the direction of L'Eclaireur, in the Marais, the city's old Jewish quarter. The designers represented in the calm, open space--its stone walls washed in soft watercolor shades--form a roll-call of hip international style-setters: Dries Van Noten, Helmut Lang, Costume National, Missoni, Jil Sander, Ann Demeulemeester and the hot British team Clements Ribeiro.

As the store began to feel more and more comfortable, we realized that, from the glass cases displaying unusual housewares to the clothes arranged neatly by label, L'Eclaireur could have been our own Maxfield's Euro-twin. Maybe it's a big deal for a Midwesterner to come to Paris and find such a store, but for Angelenos spoiled by our savvy local retailers, it's no big deal. As Dorothy said when she got to Oz, "There's no place like home. There's no place like home."

Los Angeles Times Articles