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Thursday, August 28, 2008

vivre le siecle

set of six hand decoupaged, artist-signed animal plates
E 110 at siecle

for the love of découpage

The ancient art of decorating objects by applying layered cut-out paper and enamel or laquer, découpage got its first major recognition and name (découper = to cut out) in France during the 17th and 18th centuries.

Because there are no stead-fast rules of decoupage and because it does not require any specific equipment, it is viewed by many modernists as a hobby... they could not be more wrong. I attempted my first decoupaged jewelry box when I was in 8th grade, and it was tragic. The varnish I used (or the ill application) made the colored images bleed together in a muddled mess much to my dismay... I admitted defeat and have barely touched the beautiful medium since.

Mostly due to my own failed attempts, I have a weakness for the illusive art... so I could not be more thrilled that certain connoisseurs have started a revival. While in Paris, I stopped by Siecle, the wonderful atelier of Philippe Chupin and Marisa Osorio-Farinha in St. Germain des Pres. The store is an entertainer's paradise... a mix of fine embroidered linens, horned serving pieces, and one-of-a-kind hand crafted decoupage plates and platters. As I gazed admirably at each item, I realized that the congenial man keeping the shop that spring day was M. Chupin himself... only in Paris would you have such an opportunity!

Recently, he has been diligently working on setting up an international website for the wonderful company, so most of the design work is completed by his wife and business partner Marisa Osorio-Farinha, who he met at the Ecole du Louvre in Paris. The company's name, which means century in French, reflects Philippe and Marisa's "eclectic taste for different cultures and times" is reflected in the varied style of their products. It really is a must for any well-versed international shopper. I fell in love with the exquisite plates and pretty serving sets packaged in purple and green silk boxes...

Siecle Paris
24 Rue du Bac
Paris, France

lacquer and horn salad set, $96 (tax free)

for the love of vivre

Vivre, a online and printed magazine of wonderful artisans, is the brainchild of "mail order magnate" Eva Jeanbart-Lorenzotti and the epitome of style. A unique selection of the finest in ready-to-wear, housewares, and fine art, Vivre redefines luxurious living purposeful shopping. There are no "filler" items... just pages and pages of unique and exquisite European luxury. A superb source of inspiration and wonder, even the Queen of England will wish she had a larger bank account while thumbing through the pages...

interview with Philppe Chupin in Vivre

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