Rue de Turenne, Marais: The Coton Doux
My favorite store on this old strip of man’s fashion, Rue de Turenne, is called Coton Doux. It´s a man’s shirts store, or better said, a man’s OUTRAGEOUS shirt store, or as the French would say, a store for ˜chemises extraordinaires. It does sell some shirts and items for women but once you walk in it becomes immediately clear that most of the merchandise is for men ONLY and all are sufficiently outrageous: men’s shirts for about half the store, men’s PJ’s, neon colored men’s ties and men’s scarves, men’s boxers and briefs, (which are only sold with carrying ˜pochette or bag so that, should it come to pass, you can show your girlfriend or guy-friend, the morning after, that you are a proper man after all, in that you carried an extra pair of briefs or boxers haute finition in stylish little bag, just in case you were allowed to sleep over). How about that for making a first impression?
At perhaps 15 square yards in size, Coton Doux is an absolutely incredible place. And even though the place is not a designer house per se, it prides itself on â€˜haute finitionâ€™, which means that on the ladder of fashion, it ranks somewhere between ready-to-wear (pret-a-porter) and actual ˜couture or design. In other words Coton Doux offers a personalized and especially designed finishing touch on standard manâ€™s items like shirts, boxers, briefs, scarfs, and ties (the only real woman-only item in the store is the so-called etiquette which is a quite sexily shaped woman’s PJ (low cut) with the original design of a man’s PJ as a blue print)
But it is not the real thing until you see haute finition live in front of you at Coton Doux. It’s not so much the outrageous variety of designs on the man’s shirts that bewilders (the oddest shapes & patterns from the very mundane (circles, stripes, & checkers) to the round-out hallucinating (defying my powers of description unless this would become a doctoral essay in shirt design), but the combination of the outrageous variety in design with a beautiful and personalized individualized touch.
In one birds-eye-view three second look one will notice the most improbable colors, prints, and designs possible on ANY collection of shirts one has ever seen together. You like a lady bug shirt on yellow cotton with the inside of the cuffs or collar in deep purple? How about a fire-truck design or, better yet, just fire ladders on your shirt but finished with tiny black buttons and tiny button holes with a brightly colored stitch.
Damian Hirst like skulls in tiny circles shaded on the spectrum between blue, red, and purple.
Mundane cats in black on white but seated in some various very obnoxious poses.
Stamps with the (young) Queen of England. Telephone booths or street signs from different large cities around the globe. Retro coffee brand marketing as a design. Wine labels. Post-modern pop-art cartoon characters. Cars, but only beetles, fiat minis, and other small cars. Retro radio-casette tapes. Of course butterflies.
And now for my favorite item at Coton Doux: a white cotton shirt with tiny blue five-pointed stars.
As if someone would have plucked the stars from the American flag, in the exact same shape of stars, and painted them navy blue, and then pasted them by the hundreds, the thousands perhaps, on one single shirt. And that is of course only the design. Because it is the finishing touch the haute finition which is just marvelous, outrageous yes, but marvelous nevertheless: A star-sprangled shirt with tiny pearly rosy buttons double-stitched in kryptonite-green Ouch! The kind of green that lights up your room at night if you have a vintage radium watch. The kind of green you can see with the corner of one eye when you least expect to see it. The glow-in-the-dark-post-nuclear-catastrophe-filmed-at-night-with-a-hand-held-camera-horror B-movie type of green. It’s outrageous. But it works! It rocks HAUTE FINITION the fashion equivalent of High Definition. Only on the Rue de Turenne! Only at Coton Doux. NO TECH NECESSARY.
For more information visit the Coton Doux Website, at http://www.cotondoux.com. They have five stores about the same size in Paris with the main one on the Rue de Turenne and they ship DHL and FEDEX within France within 48 hours.
Posted by: Sandro