Destination: France: Cannes
This colorful, corner boutique offers boho-chic home décor and a small selection of cottonwear for women and children. A tiny version of New York’s Roberta Roller Rabbit, there are printed pillows, throws, and cotton sheets lined casually along the walls and arranged whimsically in the back, such as in the claw-footed bathtub the shopwomen fill with a selection of sheer cotton curtains, in bundles of grass-green and eye-popping fuschia. On a recent July visit, there were blue women’s Chinoiserie-print cotton chemises by Thierry Colson (€230), boys’ fine-woven polos by Catherine Hammel (€180), white cotton dresses for girls, and children’s sandals by Collégien. As I browsed, a little girl in a yellow sundress walked in with her mother. While the owner and the mother chatted, they watched over the little girl together, who had immediately parked herself with pleasure beside the owner’s companionable terrier. This is a small and pleasurable family find.
The famous perfume house of Fragonard has branched out from just selling its scents with boutiques in a number of towns in Provence as well as in Paris that sell housewares and fashions inspired by the colorful textiles of the south of France. You can find fun bedspreads and pillows, beach cover-ups and bags in vibrant prints. Other branches in the South of France are in Grasse, Nice, Eze and Saint Paul.
On a small street between the Boulevard de la Croisette and the Rue d’Antibes is a resale fashion shop where many of the region’s most stylish women buy and sell designer clothes. Most of the pieces are so gently worn that they appear brand-new; some still have their original tags on them. Hermes bags and belts and J.P. Tod’s shoes line the floor beneath racks of Prada, Chanel and Missoni and vintage Pucci. Next door is a much larger consignment shop, but here the focus is on quality not quantity.
Le Grand Bazar
This fabulous multi-level shop on the city’s main shopping street is one of those rare boutiques where the owner’s curatorial eye will reignite your love for fashion. Diverse collections come together in artful ways and are set off by surprising accessories. Suddenly, you remember the joy of shopping and how it can make you see clothes and your relationship to them in a new and exciting way. You’ll find gorgeous pieces from Paul Smith, Matthew Williamson, Alberta Ferreti and many more but don’t come for the designer names. Come to see how fashion and accessories can elevate your personal style, whether you are looking for a major diva look (I would wager that Tina Turner has shopped here) or a more casual classic jacket or piece of jewelry that you’ll update for years by thoughtfully pairing it with other favorites. I can imagine Carla Bruni a.k.a. Mrs. Sarkozy shopping here too.
If Ahimsa is the Roberta Roller Rabbit of Cannes’ boutique shopping, then Manoush is the Betsey Johnson. This store (a popular French line) bounces giddily between women’s styles that are funky-, poppy- and gypsy-chic. The pink-walled store is bright and sugary, but the dresses and accessories have edge and all is in the name of fun and glamour. Most recently, Manoush gained rock star fame as Olivia Ruiz, the much-ogled French-Spanish singer-songwriter, wore its white petticoat dress with boudoir-red flowers on the cover of her latest album. Manoush is the uber-feminine jewelbox nestled amongst more sober fashion venues.
Calling all shoe-aholics. Mercedeh pays homage to footwear with unabashed ardor. Think Frederick’s of Hollywood for feet. You won’t find styles for the shy or demure but if you need show-stopping wedges in hot pink, crystal encrusted pumps or python boots with a pink accent, you are in luck. It’s a favorite stomping ground for ingénues, stylists and costume designers.
So Chic Concept Store
This new shop off of the Boulevard de la Croisette mixes fashion, housewares and gourmet food finds. The unifying theme seems to be a celebration of the feminine. Lingerie from Chantal Thomas mixes with Sonia Rykiel clothes, esoteric perfumes, velvet pillows and one-of-a-kind handmade purses. A massive chandelier and silver and black wallpaper add to the boudoir atmosphere. Upstairs is a small tearoom filled with Lolita Lempicka gourmet goods.
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