One of our fans is the style and fashion writer for Vanguard Seattle, an online arts and culture magazine. Meet Lisa Cole, who also writes her style blog West Fulton Street, focusing on travel, entertaining and being stylish at any age. As a frequent traveler to Paris, she tells us her favorite places to stay, see and shop and gives us her thoughts on sustainability in the fashion industry.
Q. As the fashion and style writer for Vanguard Seattle, you get to spend time in Paris for work on a regular basis, lucky you! What is your typical day like when you are in the city of light? What did you do on your most recent trip?
A. My Paris trips are the highlight of my year and I always have family with me when I go because it is always more fun to discover new things with them. I am also lucky enough to have a friend who has lived in Paris and still keeps an apartment, so she keeps me in the know about what is a must do and see in the ever changing Paris scene of art and fashion.
I was there in mid July this year with my husband, in fact we arrived on the day that Paris hit 41.6 degrees Celsius (106.9 degrees Fahrenheit), beating the previous record set in 1947! It was so hot outside you could barely breathe and the streets were empty. Luckily, when we awoke the next day the temperatures had dropped to mid 80s.
Undeterred by a little heat wave, we set out from our usual place at Hôtel Saint-Louis en l´Isle on Île Saint-Louis, a charming small hotel perfectly located Marais and Saint-Germain districts. We often choose to wander off the beaten path towards Fragments Paris at 76 Rue des Tournelles in the 3rd arrondissement for a morning espresso. I practice intermittent fasting so I don’t eat breakfast but I don’t get far without at least two coffees.
We usually walk across on of the bridges from the island towards Le Marais, one of my favorite areas of Paris. The 3rd and 4th arrondissements have winding streets filled with small shops that have the most enchanting windows, so it is always where I like to start my days and get inspired. I love the small locally owned shops throughout the city, like knits from Shopping for Happiness, the sweetest paper Eilffel Towers from La Blue de Louise, and the gorgeous jewelry at Anna Rivka.
Next, a stop into Merci on 111 Boulevard Beaumarchais and my second espresso in their adjacent cafe. There is such a great mix of both established designers and up and coming labels there, and their housewares upstairs make me wish I had an apartment in Paris. Also, I never miss a chance to visit Passy-Broncante, an amazing antique store that makes you feel like you are on a treasure hunt. It is a bit hidden, just off of rue de Passy in the 16th arrondissement at 5 Impasse des Carrières. I also love Maison Sarah Lavoine and keep coming back for her gorgeous Riviera vases for my home in Seattle.
We hop on the Metro to visit smaller museums in the city, because they often have fashion exhibits and are situated in smaller neighborhoods that are away from tourist crowds. In the past I have gone to the gorgeous “Balenciaga, L’Oeuvre Au Noir”, at the Musée Bourdelle, and am dying to get to the “Back Side/Fashion From Behind” that is showing there through November 17, 2019. I also love the Musée de la Vie Romantique and gardens and of course the Dior Exhibit at Musée des Arts Décoratifs in 2017 was spectacular even if we hadn’t been behind Anna Wintour throughout the exhibit!
This year we visited Musée Nissim de Camondo at 63 Rue de Monceau in the 8th, an elegant house museum of French decorative arts that is absolutely magnificent. I have a great love of history, and French history in particular is never boring. Afterwards we ate lunch at the super chic Le Camondo, located next to the museum. An elegant and airy spot, it is a front row seat to the most fashionable Parisian crowd. The museum and restaurant are located at the edge of the Parc Monceau, so after lunch we took a walk through this gorgeous city park. Another spot for lunch is the Le Loir dans la Théière which has amazing desserts. Speaking of sweets, Sebastien Gaudard ru De Martyrs in the 9th is one of the most beautiful patisseries in Paris. And I love the coziness of Malabar in the 7th. We also visited the Centre Pompidou and afterwards popped up to Georges for a glass of champagne and one of the best rooftop views of Paris. I didn’t make it to Le Train Bleu for drinks, so that is on the list for next time.
We like to walk the whole city and then at the end of the day stop at one of the little cafes along the Parc Rives de Seine to have a glass of rose and watch the city stroll and bike by. I like to have dinner in a more casual atmosphere, so places like Clown Bar, Poulette, or Café Saint-Régis near our hotel suit me perfectly.
There is no better way to see Paris then on a bike, and we have definitely loved the Fat Tire Bike Tours for a bit of an adventure as we make our way across the city. This time we did the tour at Versailles, stopping at a huge Sunday market for lunch provisions and riding through the countryside. It was a great day and a fun little detour from the bustle of Paris. Not that I ever feel the need to escape, since Paris is a place that always feels magical to me.
Q. Sustainability has made a steady impact in the fashion world. Large organizations such as Kering and brands like Stella McCartney, Ganni and Reformation are known their ethical production and sustainable practices. What are your thoughts on this growing trend of ethical and sustainable clothing brands that are betting against fast fashion?
A. Designer Stella McCartney challenged the industry of luxury retail with her unwavering commitment to ethical practices since she began her label in 2010, and she blazed the trail of redefining what high fashion brands can be. Ganni has a broad commitment to sustainable practices, like tracking their carbon footprint, promoting true gender equality and using sustainable materials. And I have to say it I feel very excited when I see businesses continue the artistry of ateliers, ensuring these artisanal traditions continue to new generations. I love knowing that the Michaela Buerger piece I buy has a unique quality to it, from its creative design to the hand knit aspect. It is what I look for when I make a choice to buy something different, and I am not alone.
Lisa Cole wearing a Michaela Buerger I Love Paris sweatshirt
In order to reduce our carbon footprint, I like to see companies being transparent in their business practices, because the more open they about their commitment to the business of taking care of the earth, the more informed choices we can make as consumers. I love reading about brands using new science and technology to make their products better, because at the end of the day, we want beautiful clothes that last a long time. I want to buy things that I will love for a long time and that I can give to my daughter some day. It matters.
I believe that fast fashion may continue to be around, and it does bother me to see the packed racks of overproduced garments that will end up in a place that is not good for the planet. I think that it is heartening to see these fast fashion brands add a sustainable practices, just as Zara’s Join Life, and it my hope that they will continue to moving in a more positive direction. That being said, I believe that “cream rises to the top”, and ethical and sustainable practices are the way to stay relevant in fashion’s future.
Follow Lisa on her Instagram @westfultonstreet