Rue de Turenne Part II

Part II

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?

Coton Doux

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 ‘haute finition’, 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 man’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.

Coton Doux

Mundane cats in black on white but seated in some various very obnoxious poses.

Coton Doux

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.

Coton Doux

And now for my favorite item at Coton Doux: a white cotton shirt with tiny blue five-pointed stars.

Coton Doux

 

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

Rue de Turenne

Part I

Rue de Turenne, Marais

I only first noticed the street when a camera man started following me when I was dressed up to go to work. I was wearing nothing special, just a man in black with black shoes, a casual pin-stripe Mexx jacket, a white shirt, a burgundy tie, and dress pants. So why did he follow me this camera man on the streets of Paris, in the Marais of all places no less? It made no sense — I am neither famous, nor well known, nor well connected and I am not a notorious lawbreaker –I have no scandals to my name so what was happening?  They were filming me like story-hungry paparazzi, but why?

It is a not a well-known street in Paris but it is in the Marais district, to be more specific in the old Jewish Quarter of St Paul and the street is called Rue de Turenne. If you went to Wikipedia you would only see a couple of monuments and a few hotels particuliers (old private residences) on the street, but something belies our modern virtual information because this rather unknown street, is very markedly and rampantly home to the largest collection of man’s clothing stores perhaps ON THE PLANET.

In a stretch of three blocks, in less than one mile, you will find the following kaleidoscopic variety of man’s pret-à-porter (ready-to-carry/wear), factory outlets, distribution centers, shops, tailors, retail stores, home brand manufacturing & brand name outlets, maisons (house brand stores), and one maison de haute finition, and yes, a single house that CLAIMS to be haute couture — a traditional designer only making individual & personalized collections. There are around 60/65 different outlets MEN ONLY and I listed as many as possible below, however I am sure I have missed some you´ll just have to visit in person.

It is well possible of course that Hong Kong, Milan, London, or New York have a larger collection of man’s clothing stores: But they are never going to be THIS concentrated in one small area; I highly doubt it; not on the stretch of half a mile like this. 

On the Rue de Turenne man’s suits go for as low 60 euros even though a more regular price is advertised ubiquitously on the street as between 140 and 200 euros.  Again, pret-à-porter, ready to carry it away, ready-to-wear, you walk in, give your measurement, and you walk out, and it is a good buy, you walk away content and happy.  Clothing repair is possible in every third or fourth store, and what is surprising is the low number of real tailors.  There is only one or two and to play a Where-is-Waldo with the list below, I challenge the fashionistas to find the one real tailor on the list.  And of course many of the stores are having clothing repair services or in house tailors. Many are just outlets or franchises, and there are two corner-anchor stores on both ends of the mile (Zadig & Voltaire on one side and IZAC on the other), but a large number indeed are original clothing manufacturing maisons houses who most certainly must have attracted all the other stores to come to the street to begin with. They were there first. Yet, no designers, no haute couture, no luxury, just pret-à-porter, a great place to be for the average man who likes to dress well, an average guy like me.

So what is it in the end that brought all these stores and outlets together on this small strip in Paris? To be short, I asked one of the store owners, who owned a store with its own brand name, a real clothing manufacturer of man’s clothes. Apparently some centuries ago when there were many Jewish tailors coming to the district from Eastern Europe, this is how it started. The tailors set up shop in the street because this was the heart of the Jewish quarter of the Marais.  Later many other brands other than just house brands started to set up shop, attracted by the concentration of quality of man’s clothes.  Then came franchises.  Corner stores.  Flagship stores.  Factory outlets.  Distribution centers.  You get the rest.

What is sad however is that the current economic crisis seems to have severely affected the sales in the street and seems to have sapped the energy and life out of it not completely of course, but the street seems notably affected.  A few stores are empty, and a few are closed, I listed below which ones.  The majority of the stores seem to be scraping by, you can tell by the faces of the people who work there, and few to zero tourists or others appear to come to the street on a regular basis so that probably most business is done by sales online or distribution to far regions around the globe. However, if you want a local shopping experience, stay away from all the touristy shopping areas, instead help these smaller shops out and visit Rue de Turenne.

So there you have it, the camera crew that one sunny day was doing a shoot for some or one of these brands, and I bet you they were looking for an average guy, dressed up well, while he happened to be walking in front of one of the stores. Probably for some commercial shoot; there are many in Paris all the time.

Rue de Turenne Rue de Turenne

Rue de Turenne

To be continued:  Part II A la recherche (in search of) a star-sprangled shirt on the Rue de Turenne.

List of stores/brands on the Rue de Turenne:

  • Aless Andro
  • Zadig & Voltaire
  • Pepe Jeans (London)
  • Vito (Lagerfeld, Hugo Boss, Cerruti)
  • Azzaro
  • Cotton Doux (Paris) Haute Finition (shirts)
  • XOOS (shirts)
  • B.garbo (shirts)
  • Palenzo
  • Cotton-Velours (Diesel, Tommy, D&G, Armani, Cavali, Marlboro, G Star)
  • Alless Andro
  • Walry (leather)
  • Melchior
  • Claude Riviera (outlet)
  • Alphi
  • FC Diffusion (fabricant / outlet) (E.khanh, Montana,  Lanifico Cerruti)
  • Linco (distribution / outlet)
  • Brzoza
  • Ceci est un tailleur
  • Jean de Sey
  • Kotazo
  • Guy Laurent
  • La Boutique
  • Mag One (Haute Couture hmm)
  • Zakoya (XXXL)
  • Kost, Azzaro
  • Malone (Joe?)
  • Barberini
  • Mac Lennon
  • Itris
  • Ray Club
  • Elios (Rochas, Azzaro, Ferre, Laroche)
  • Shakapour
  • Simon’s
  • Zed By (closed)
  • Massimo Boni (fabricant/manufacturer of parkas)
  • Julien (shirts, closed)
  • Woodfield
  • Brazzi (empty)
  • Plazza
  • Sam Daniel
  • IZAC (empty)
  • Ferre
  • Lâ Homme du Marais
  • Matt (sporty)
  • Yves Dorsey
  • Meynal
  • Virtuose
  • Virtuose
  • Marco Belli
  • Franck Michel
  • Giacomo
  • Portofino
  • Oscar
  • Diffusion (Cerruti, E.Khanh, Zegna – outlet)

Posted By: Sandro

Tausche Store Front

Tausche is a German company that makes messenger bags for men. ¨Tausche¨ is actually a play on words- ¨tauschen¨ – to change – and ¨Tasche¨’ – bag.  This name explains the concept of the company as they create multifunctional bags with interchangeable covers.

Basic Tausche bag and coffee

These bags are functional and easy because you simply unzip the cover and rezip the new one on. Two covers are included with the price of each bag, and you can always order new covers. There is a large range of cover options that can be appropiate for business, travel, leisure, etc. Bags come in various silhouettes, (there is a backpack style too!) and sizes. Various inserts are offered as well. The product is made with a polyester fabric that´s virtually unbreakable, and resists day-to-day wear and tear. All products are handmade in Germany.

Tausche Cover Options 2 Tausche Cover Options 1

The bags usually run around 100 euros, of course varying according to size.

This is a great product that combines true functionality with interchangeable style. Every guy can use a versatile messenger bag-as a briefcase, a school bag, an airline carry on…the possibilities are endless. Wearing a Tausche bag can be a great way to express your personality too. Change your cover based on your mood!

Tausche Yellow Cover

For more information or to shop online, visit the Tausche Website, which is available in German and English. Their stores are located throughout Germany and also have one store in Tokyo!

All images from the Tausche Facebook page.

Posted by: Lori

Georgina Vendrell Menswear is a collection created by Georgina Vendrell herself which debuted in 2007. She is one of the few designers in Spain that dedicates her designs entirely to menswear.

While chatting with Georgina at the EGO section of Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Madrid, we asked her why she decided to focus on menswear amist a sea of womenswear. She explains ¨I started with menswear because no one ever seems to design for just men in Spain. I wanted to fill that niche. There´s so much you can do with menswear that hasn´t been done.¨  And she´s right! I see a huge opportunity in Spain for menswear, and so many places to go with it.

There was a small stand with some of Georgina Vendrell´s designs outside of the runway shows and we were able to not only chat with her but try on some of her designs. Alton looked especially cool in a one of a kind turquoise sweater and then a polka dotted jacket.

IMG_5716SM IMG_5723SM

Her collections are fun and funky, focusing mainly on interesting fabrics and textures. Georgina explained to us that she looks shopping her for her fabrics in London, even though she designs in Barcelona. She likes to include colorful accents to make the items more interesting and unique. A lot of her pieces are just one of a kind, because the fabrics are rare in certain colors and impossible to find more of. Price points are also reasonable, for example, the turquoise one of a kind sweater featured above was under 100 euros.

IMG_5713SM IMG_5732SM

In past years Georgina has had the opportunity to show at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Madrid EGO, 080 Barcelona, Valencia Fashion Week (where she won the Best Fashion Designer Award) and Iceland Fashion Week. Unfortunately, she did not show this year at Madrid Fashion Week, but I am hoping to see her designs on the runway in seasons to come.

For more information, visit the Georgina Vendrell Website.

Posted by: Lori

 

While in town for Mercedes Benz Fashion Week, I found a little time to do menswear shopping in Madrid. With no destination in mind, I took off from my hotel, the Urban on Carerra San Jeronimo, to see what I could see. On my way to Puerta del Sol I ran head on into a protest (see “Protesting….” post), so I reversed course and walked with them a bit to support the people.  After a few blocks I turned off and headed to Gran Via.

Cortefiel 1Cortefiel 2

I came across a nice menswear store named Cortefiel. I hadn’t heard of them, but they are a Spanish company with many stores throughout Spain. Several nice mid-priced items on the main level. I debated a navy DB casual knit jacket, but passed because it was a bit too close to a sweater that I have. It was nice though. Then went down to the basement and was pleasantly surprised. Very nice full line of mid range pieces. Great value, quality for price, on sweaters and suits. I pushed a few racks and found a sweater that I liked. I knew that the silhouette worked for me because I have something close, but it was a dark green color which I did not have. It looked great on and was on the sale rack so I couldn’t pass it up.

Cortefiel green sweater

I pushed on and went into Nino’s. A very small boutique, that I might have walked by but a sweater in the window called me in. I tried the sweater, but it didn’t work for me. I looked further and found a sweater with a unique leahter closure on the shoulder. It looked great when I tried it and the price was reasonable so I bought it. I must admit that in my haste, I did not check the content label, and once I got back to the Urban I discovered it was acrylic. A fabric that I generally stay away from because they peel sometime, but at the price I’ll get over it and see how the fabric performs.

Cortefiel  gray sweater

Next stop was my most exciting find, a boutique called Eduardo Rivera.  It was full of great items but I did not have time to check them out properly. Check out the pictures. I assured the manager that I would have Lori, our multi-talented Madrid specialist, come by and do a follow-up post on the shop. I’ll definitely look forward to spending more time there on my next trip to wonderful Madrid.

eduardo-rivera-3eduardo-rivera-2eduardo-rivera-4eduardo-rivera-1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Madrid is a great place to find nice garments reasonably priced.

Tip

1.  Be certain to take the time to check out the fabric content in a new garment purchase to fully appreciate the value.

Spending some time down south(USA) for the holidays, I had plans to do some after Christmas sale shopping in New Orleans on December 26, 2012. I was staying at the Loew’s Hotel on Poydras St. which is a short walk to Canal Place Shopping Mall. My favorite place for after Christmas sale shopping in New Orleans is Saks. How do I know?…I’ve done this sale many times.

It’s not New York City, so it’s a smaller store. For the fewer more stylish guys in this smaller market, there are many wonderful items to choose from after Christmas and less competition for them. This season did not disappoint, as there were lots of great pieces to desire.

I got up early on the 26th and walked over as they were opening the doors. My strategy for this sale is to quickly peruse the racks looking for complementary pieces to round out my wardrobe. I pushed and pushed racks, collecting pieces for a couple hours.

What did I pick up?

Hugo Boss Orange Label Navy Jacket from Saks

Hugo Boss Orange label navy jacket. Great fit and concept.

Vince bd Black Sweater Saks

Vince Double breasted sweater in black.

I have this exact sweater in navy, and like the fit and look so much I had to have it in black. Here is a case where patience paid off, because I had seen this sweater in Saks Chevy Chase, but decided not to spring for it at the regular price. Saved some lunch money!

MK Pinstripe Jacket Saks

Michael Kors Flannel pinstripe Jacket with zip in lining. A cool look to keep warm.

MK Sweater Jacket

Michael Kors sweater jacket. A unique piece.

Gucci Patent Leather Shoe

Gucci Formal black patent shoe.

Suede Lace Up Boot

Suede lace up boot in brown.

Bally Red Driving Slippers

Bally Italian driving slipper in red to match my red Italian sports car.

I’m pleased with my purchases at Saks, as each piece is wonderful and at these prices a great value. A couple I never would have bought at this point, if they weren’t aggressively on sale. I spent a couple grand yet saved about a grand. Not bad.

Fashion forward boutique Dolores Promesas (founded by Dolores herself) is a trendy yet affordable chain of boutique shops in Spain.

In 2005, Dolores created her first womenswear line exclusively for her friends and 2006, she lauched a public collection that was very successful. Six years, later, you can find Dolores Promesas stores all over Spain, and better yet-this fall she has launched a menswear line for the very first time.

One of the standouts of this brand is that all the production is done in Spain, which is very unique in the fashion world today. Almost everything nowadays is made in Asia, so it´s nice to buy something locally created and produced.

The Dolores Promesas stores are merchandised in a whimsical, elegant manner which makes you feel as if you are going to a tea party. It makes for a very pleasant shopping experience, for both men and women alike.

The menswear collection will be present in all of the Dolores Promesas boutiques throughout Spain and is functional, casual, comfortable and classic.  The line has an underlying 70´s vibe to it, and Dolores always likes to use patterns and different types of buttons and detailing to add a little extra ¨kick¨ to the clothes.  Her signature t-shirts will also be available in men’s silhouettes and sizes-which include a shirt with her screen-printed face on it, one with a sketch of a her dog, Tula, and ones that say her signature quotes ¨Cupable de Quererte¨(Guilty of Loving you) and ¨Prometo Serte Fiel¨ ( I vow to be true to you).

To view more of the mens Fall-Winter 2012-2013 Collection or find store locations (three in Madrid, two in Barcelona, and more throughout Spain), visit the Dolores Promesas Website. 

 

Prices:

Tshirt 39.90 euros

Tan Blazer 164.90 euros

Navy Sweater 148.90 euros

Black Trousers 89.90 euros

Posted By: Lori

Your pants are running wild.

It’s anarchy in the streets as straight legs go awry. Inseams are out, waists are wasted, and no one knows how to stop it.

If they’re chinos, of course, you can roll them rather than committing to the cuff, but try it with slacks and you’ll look sloppy and affected (and not in a good way).

It works best with flatter colors, of course, since pinstripes have that symmetry that can sometimes be thrown off with alteration, but that being said, this trend is all about change, so take the risk and cuff ’em.

Best of all, it can take a pair of slacks you’ve shoved into the back of your closet and, for the pittance of $10 to $15 (depending on your tailor) breathe new life into a garment you’d all but relegated to the donations pile.

So get out there and tame those hems. Only you can prevent boring work slacks.

Your tailor can save you. This season, there’s a resurgence of cuffed pants. Hold your objections, gentlemen, they’re no longer for investment bankers and old men from the Upper East side, and there are distinct advantages to this returning trend.

Think about it: it allows you to raise the hem an extra half inch to an inch, because of the perception of added length. This rids mens’ slacks of the dreaded bunching at the calf that’s symptomatic of being just a little too long, and the single biggest tell to an ill-fitting pair of pants. The extra weight keeps everything smooth and neat, too. Most importantly, who doesn’t love a little extra flair on a typically boring garment?

Posted By: John

Image Credit: Dress Code Custom

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