Its fall, the leaves are turning, the skies are grey and E is packing up for her sophomore year at college in the US. Being Parisienne, an important part of getting ready includes stocking up on local fashion and today we had a date to shop. E, my hard working, very reasonable, responsible teen suggested we head to the Faubourg St Honoré (cue in the sound of a stereo needle scratching across a vinyl lp). Yes, we’re talking that infamous street that is home to the likes of Dior, Gucci and Chanel. Had she fallen on her head? Did we need to see a doctor? I decided that she had meant “window” shopping, which sounded perfect to my bottom line, so we headed out the door, a trendy lunch & Other Stories in our future.
Lunch was lovely. But today I’m here to tell you about & Other Stories. Yes, its on one of the most expensive, trendiest streets on the world where 3000€ is considered normal for a coat (cashmere, Gucci, it looked divine) and boots are rarely designed for walking. And yes, it is in a gorgeous, light filled space with a glass enclosed stair case and plenty of space. The customers carry handbags with a pedigree. But a quick look at the price tags and I looked at E with new found respect. Beautiful, genuine leather handbags for under 100€.
The designs were fresh and original, the fabrics often authentic silk, wool or leather. The staff was present and friendly. So friendly, that I asked the very charming Danielle in the cosmetics section where we had landed.
& Other Stories, she was delightfully proud to share, is the latest project of the Swedish H&M chain. Exclusively for women, the shop has clothing, but really focuses on cosmetics and accessories. High quality cosmetics with a conscious. They have a recycling scheme for used bottles and offer customers a 10% discount for participating. And original accessories made by serious designers. I think there were at least 6 pairs of shoes that had me whining, “I, want”! Wooden heeled shoes that would look perfect with a sober Jil Sanders tunic, or laser cut leather boots that were crying for Alaïa.
The prices for everything were on par with what they’re asking for the entirely less fashionable, synthetic fibre clothing at the grungy Monoprix up the street from our home. And was a wonderful afternoon, and we ended it by indulging in an onctuous hot chocolate next door chez Jean Paul Hévin. Ain’t life sweet?