Marie-Renée Otis, artist in residence in Paris,
Fellow of the Council of Arts and Letters of Quebec
The Tenth Week


Madame Bijoux (Mrs. Jewelry)

Until now I’ve described the beautiful scenes of Paris. I must have specified those were the touristic boroughs of Paris. Rapidly there is a change of picture when one moves out of town.

For instance I went to Villejuif (we could translate this suburb’s name by Jewstown). This is 20 km from downtown, but the subway goes that far.

I wanted to visit the fashion accessory maker Madame Bijoux, aka Dominique Fille. Among other things, this artisan made the jewels for the famous French movie La reine Margot. My first contact was by email, “her” answer indicated the way to her company facilities, Domo-Costumes, theater costume provider.

So I looked for a red house on Rohri street in Villejuif. Well, the decor is like a standard dull suburb in Canada. The only evidences that I wasn’t in North America were the cafés, the slate roofs and an outdoor public market. But not at all a charming market full of colors, fruits and vegetables. Rather an ordinary market, retailing goods like in a Dollarama or 99-cent-only-store. Finally I found the red house on the narrow street in question, as big as a church!

I asked to see Madame Bijoux and guess who personified the lady, Mohammed Gasmi, a man! He explained to me that the real Madame Bijoux, Dominique Fille, passed away a few years ago. Mohammed and Dominique had founded the company together. When she died he decided to keep going.

Nonetheless, he invited me to visit the premises.

Never, never, never I have had seen as much clothes in the same place: clothes of all sizes, all colors, of all historical periods, of all styles for theater plays, shows and movies. Also there are fur coats, trousers to dress an entire army, tons of shirts, ties, shoes, hats, dresses from floor to ceiling.

In addition to the ready-to-wear clothes, there are fabrics, special accessories, laces, threads, ribbons and jewelry for the confection of more costumes. In the jewelry department this is the same scenario: boxes, crates, cases, cabinets, lockers, chests full to bursting.

How can someone find something in this orgy of accessories?! Very impressive. Apparently the classification system works. Costumes and accessories are actually rented for movie productions and they come back for being methodically tidy.


Mohammed Gasmi wearing a mask

A glimpse of the storage system at Domo-Costumes'


One of the jewelry from La reine Margot movie,
made by Dominique Fille

 
The purple gown of the La reine Margot movie




The purple gown and the necklace,
 the complete outfit,
 minus the actress Isabelle Adjani
Cécile Boccara

Cécile Boccara’s boutique is located on Passage du Grand-Cerf (something like: The Path of the Large Deer...) and is specialized in accessories.

The Passage du Grand-Cerf street offers a special ambiance. This is a narrow alley lined with little boutiques and open door workshops. The day light reaches us from the 4th floor. A glass roof covers this former standard street. Some boutiques lead to basements or upstairs, allowing more workspace and storage. This place is enchanting, I could spent the whole morning just looking at the showcases.

I didn't meet Cécile Boccara in person, instead, her collaborator welcomed me.
Cécile Boccara’s workshop designs ethereal jewelry and tiaras. They are made of rhinestones, peacock feathers, sewn pearl laces, flowers as delicate as butterflies. Every confection is feminine, fluid and so pretty.

Madame Boccara is famous for her collaboration with the Haute Couture designer Christian Lacroix.

www.cecileboccara.com

https://www.facebook.com/cecile.boccara

The Passage du Grand-Cerf street




The Boutique’s front door



Tiara from Boccara’s collection, around 168€ (245$ CD)


 
The same tiara in the location of the source of its inspiration



The making of jewelry in Boccara’s workshop


Open House of Rima Eslammaslak, from Iran

Rima teaches the Arts at the University of Tehran, she’s a photograph artist, so for her open house she exhibits... photographs, of course. I was particularly attracted by a marvelous horse head’s photo.

The Rima’s exhibition installation was meticulously coordinated. Her little apartment was plunged in total darkness. One at a time she turned on the light over each of the 8 photographs of the exhibition. With the result that the visitors had the impression they were simultaneously the viewers and the exhibited objects. When the bulbs flashed, it was like if the horse glanced at us.

One of the visitors was a lady from Greece, a professional Art critic. She lives in Paris nearby and she likes to visit artists’ open houses at Cité international des arts (where I live).
She can’t help herself, she has to share her critic comments with the artists that she visits.



A Rima Eslammaslak’s artistic photo,
 a mix of the use of two dimensions and three dimensions,
 the photo camera is a real object.



 

The photo research and the translation are made by Lucie Daigneault

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