French Designer Shourouk Takes Statement Jewelry to Another Level

Last night I had a really fun chat with French accessory designer Shourouk Rhaiem, who’s in town to fete the launch of her spring/summer 2011 collection tonight.

The event is happening at La Boutique, one of my truly favorite SF-meets-Europe boutiques, where owner Carole Harari has transformed the shop to look like a little piece of Rhaiem’s atelier in the chic Marais district of Paris.

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Paris Window Shopping, or What I call “Productive Jet lag”

The art of the drape at TG931, a Thai concept store in Paris.

It’s been less than 48 hours since I arrived in Paris, and needless to say, I’ve been experiencing a bit of  jet lag. I woke up at 4:30 a.m., and was relieved to discover my husband was having the same problem. We decided to forgo the tossing and turning and instead head out together for a brisk morning walk.

The end goal? Land at a boulangerie that would serve us freshly baked croissants and espresso at this unreasonable hour.

We wandered around the area near our apartment, the chic Marais neighborhood in the 3rd arrondissement (city district), with little luck in the way of finding breakfast. Most of the streets were still. Shops were closed, except for a butcher or two unloading the day’s supplies into their boucheries, and a few café owners, who were beginning to distribute colorful, wicker chairs and bistro tables onto the sidewalks.

But even at the break of dawn, it’s easy to keep yourself plenty occupied in Paris. In fact, empty sidewalks make for ideal window shopping in a city where store displays are an art form in and of themselves! Here’s a glimpse at what I saw on my morning-stroll-turned-fashion-scouting.

Sandro- French ready-to-wear chain with shops throughout Paris

More of Sandro--Scarves are a must at any time of year in Paris!

Zadig & Voltaire-- Another French brand with a look comparable to Rock & Republic. The new SF boutique "La Boutique" in Jackson Square has started selling a limited selection of its collections.

Fragonard-- This famed Parisian perfume maker sells alluring fragrances, candles, soaps and a small selection of clothing. The brand also runs the Musee du Parfum in the Opera district.

Pring Paris-- The weather is still brisk here (only about 35 F in the mornings), but spring/summer collections have arrived in full force. Heel heights are still varying at the extremes from four-inch platform sandals to open-toe ballet flats, but I'm already seeing the shift to more mid-height heels on the streets.

Stacked heel gladiator sandals at Pring Paris

Another perfumerie in the Marais with a playful cocktail themed display.

We eventually found coffee and croissants (framboise, or raspberry jam, and chocolat noir) at 7:30 a.m. Success!

Find Rare European Brands at New La Boutique

Courtesy of La Boutique

It’s not uncommon for San Franciscans to hear from foreign visitors that SF feels like “one of the most European cities in the United States.” Carol Harari, owner of La Boutique, l’Art et la Mode, is keeping that chic image alive with the opening of her new store and gallery in the city’s Jackson Square.

“I really wanted to make this a destination for European art and fashion,” says the Swiss-born Harari. “I want it to be a place people want to spend time—more than just another store.”

Though she worked as a former marketing and merchandising manager for H&M, in charge of opening the Swedish mega-chain’s Paris stores, you’ll be hard-pressed to find traces of fast fashion here.

Instead the lofty, two-story industrial space houses such hard-to-find labels as Baum und Pferdgarten of Denmark, Firma of Germany, and Collection 66 of Switzerland.

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