Tag Archives: paris

Le Bristol Hotel

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A child of the 90s I grew up with this fantasy of Paris I found in movies. The hotel suite that perfectly frames the Eiffel Tower in its windows, bouquets of flowers and white walled gardens where fluffy white cats come to lay in the sun before evenings in little chic black dresses and dinners where each course comes with a wine pairing. I found that glamorous Paris I so long ago dreamed about at Le Bristol Hotel.

I have been lucky enough to find myself in Paris quite often, and from time to time I can be caught in a daydream of what it would be like to live in this city that captures my soul. When I come to Paris I mostly just take my camera and walk. Walk for days. It never gets old to me, I never run out of things to photograph or be inspired by. Never, not even when I stayed in the most lovely apartment, have I desired to “stay in”… that is until I stayed at the Le Bristol. Already as I write this at Charles De Gaulle airport the memory of our suite feels more like lying half awake in a garden day dreaming all afternoon.

There is not a single detail of this hotel, which opened in 1925 in the heart of Paris’s fashion district, that isn’t wonderfully glamorous and idyllically French. From the dazzling array of chandeliers to the 18th century Toile de Jouy decor, it is unapologetically luxurious. It’s no wonder it attracts the stylish clientele to match from movie stars to entertainers and (to my pleasure) fashion photographers. It even had a place in Woody Allen’s movie Midnight in Paris.

During World War II the Hotel Le Bristol became the American Embassy and even harbored a Jewish architect who would later design the stunning glass and wrought-iron elevator I described as what it must feel like to travel inside a diamond

Of course they have a beautiful spa, wonderfully opulent bars and restaurants tucked here and there around the hotel corridors, but it was what we discovered on the 6th floor that really took our breath away. A pool designed in the likeness of a large sailboat as imagined by Professor Pinnau, who most notably designed the yachts for the Onassis family, wrapped in walls of windows with sweeping views of Paris and most beautifully, Sacre Coeur. While the pool was a popular spot in the afternoons, it was early in the morning alone with the sunrise I found it to be one of the most peaceful places in Paris.

But perhaps the most surprising feature of this incredible hotel are the two fluffy white cats that live amongst the marble and roses. There is nothing more charming than having afternoon tea in the hotel’s garden with company of a furry little friend at your feet.

90 years after her opening here she stands, a lovely as ever….

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ESME VIE

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The elevator doors opened onto the fifth floor of the historic Rafael Hotel in Paris, most notably the place where Grace Kelly & Jacqueline Kennedy called home, and there sat this beautiful woman in a blush colored dress with an explosion of satin roses cascading over her shoulder like a vision of what women looked like so many decades ago. The woman was designer Julia Voitenko and like what all modern women battle with, she was searching for a wifi signal. Not knowing who she was at that moment of meeting did not stop me from showering her with compliments and inquiring about every detail before me. When she realized I was there to see her collection, was the moment I realized the collection I was about to see was hers and into the suite we went.

She walked me through the idea of the “new wardrobe” for the modern day woman where she needs only own a few pieces that can be mixed and matched to create a variety of classic looks, one in which Julia describes as “beauty made to wear”. Pulling inspiration from the 50s and 60s the silhouettes remain timeless and flattering to all body types while being hand constructed in Italy from the most prestigious Italian silk {something we know a thing or two about}.

In suite fit for a Princess, overlooking that dreamy view of Paris, I fell in love with ESME VIE and her idea of dressing for ladies.

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Paris Time

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For the past 4 years we’ve have the greatest pleasure of enjoying Paris in the fall. First with Esteé Lauder, then for MAC Cosmetics, following with Ralph Lauren and this past trip with CHANEL. I feel so fortunate to be able to shoot for clients who see the magic in this city of lights as much as we do. After work we always stay as long as possible to eat, drink, shop, get inspired and take epic long walks in the enjoyment of life. I’m happy to have french friends and favorite restaurants. I adore how things never seem to change here- the same woman sells me my favorite chocolates, the same waitress serves us that day’s seasonal dish, though this year her english is much better… which kind of makes me sad. Then there is always the thrill of discovering something new. The rooftop of the Raphael Hotel was enchanting. Dinner on the terrace of Monsieur Bleu with this sparkling view was so elegant. And the home stores where on. point. this time.

Standing under the watchful eye of time I looked out over Paris thought about the years that have passed and how one day I’ll look back on this time in my life and say… “now wasn’t that just magical.”

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Boulevard Chanel

A couple of days before we left for Paris we got a call from Chanel. “Karl would like a few photographers to participate in the show, and Kevin, since you’re already filming from the riser, would you be interested?” Sweats nervously.

“Of course, as long as it’s not public humiliation.” Assured this was not the case, I arrived at Paris’ Grand Palais at 6am for rehearsals, along with a handful of other photographers and waited for instructions. A very French stage director walked the models through a mock protest,  led by an enthusiastic Cara Delevingne, which would close the show. The photographers would run out from the sides to “cover” the protest and do our best not to trip over ourselves and each other while running backwards.

Everything went off without a hitch. The models rebelled and disregarded the prescribed protest chant in favor of their own. No one tripped, and it was all an unforgettable, once-in-a-lifetime, Parisian morning on Boulevard Chanel.



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