Project Fait Sur Mesure: Update # 1
Part of an ongoing series- read the original piece here.
Just kidding! But day 1 of my Parisian textile adventure was a success!
Technically, this was my third attempt at fabric shopping in Paris. I first headed a week ago to the textile area in the 2nd arrondissement, only to learn that this is Paris's wholesale textile district; retail customers need not apply. I asked in what I can best describe as barely French for nearby retail shops, but no luck. Then a few days ago, I tried a retail fabric store also in the 2nd, but they didn't carry many silks. It was there I was tipped off to go to the Marché Saint Pierre in Montmartre for Paris's biggest selection of fabrics, which is what I did on Wednesday.
That is, not before stopping at a little specialty foods shop whose smell filled the street as I passed by on my way to Montmartre with a mix of spices and olives and baked goods, which instantly brought back memories of Cairo. I, of course, had to go in, and ended up chatting with the shopkeeper, César, about the days when Cairo bustled with Armenians and Greeks and Turks coloring its rich culture. I bought some dates, and he refused to accept that I pay for them.
Filled up in every sense, I continued on, arriving shortly thereafter at Dreyfus, the largest of the shops in the Marché Saint Pierre.
The store is huge, and overflowing with every imaginable fabric you can conceive of, including quite a lot of French linen. The right silk wasn't there, though, so I marché-d on.
Next, I stopped at Les Coupons de Saint-Pierre, right across the street, which sells remnant fabrics at discounted prices in fixed 3 meter lengths.
It was here that I stumbled on a pile of silks that were more in the spirit of what I was looking for.
I chose some black silk for a different project (a story for another time) and vacillated about some soft pink silk for this one, but it just wasn't "it" if you know what I mean! Onward!
I weaved (!!) in and out of basically every fabric store in search of their silk selection. I came close to buying some beautiful double-faced silk with a different color on each side, but still, it wasn't perfect. I decided maybe that was enough for Day 1, but not before quickly checking online to make sure I hadn't missed anything. It was then that I found a blog post mentioning Tissusmarket and their selection of high quality fabrics. It happened to be on my walk home, so I headed that way.
Once there, I immediately noticed the difference in the fabric quality. It's amazing how a really high quality material feels to the touch- sturdier silks feel so substantial; softer ones are incredible against the skin. Then I got the back story from Adina, a lovely women who helped me get my bearings in the packed shop. Tissusmarket buys deadstock fabric from luxury European fashion houses. She explained that it means the quality of their fabrics is top notch, but the supply is limited. Once they sell out of a fabric, there is no replacing it as it's often made exactly to a client's specifications for a given season's collection. Most of the fabric they carry is silk as a result, and all of it is made in Europe. She left me to roam, but not before slipping in that their business model was, in many ways, sustainable because it eliminates waste. Talk about knowing your customer.
And that's when I spotted the most sumptuous mint green silk! I wasn't expecting to end up with a color like this, but it was love at first touch! What I know about it is that it's a silk faille and was made for Lanvin and I love it. I also got a recommendation for a seamstress!!! To be continued! 😉