PaperCity Magazine

February 2016 - Houston

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NEW DOORS FROM PARIS WITH LOVE SAINT LAURENT LOOKING FOR W hile French fashion house Saint Laurent is preparing to show part one of its Fall 2016 women's ready-to-wear collection this month in L.A. (where creative director Hedi Slimane moved in 2008), the house's Houston disciples are experiencing a change-up of their own. As part of Slimane's "reform project" upon taking the reins in 2012 (surely you noticed the name and logo transformation from YSL to Saint Laurent), the brand's boutiques worldwide are in the process of an architectural redesign that contemplates a modernist approach to the French decorative arts — or at least its essence: Art Deco for the 21st century, with clean, modern lines and a predominantly monochromatic palette. The stores will be outfitted with white statuary marble for the floors and fitting rooms and black silk marble for the dado rails with nickel- or gold-plated brass for the Art Deco-inspired vitrines. All furnishings in the space will be replaced with modern vintage pieces by Adnet, René Herbst, Breuer, Prouvé, André Sornay and others. Until the reopening, you'll find Saint Laurent in a temporary space on the second level in the Galleria near Neiman Marcus. But rest assured, even the provisional milieu will be reflective of Slimane's very pointed (and potent) aesthetic. Francine Ballard Van Cleef & Arpels, Constellation Coq clip from Voyages Extraordinaires collection with 4.41-carat tsavorine garnet, 1.51-carat ruby, violet sapphire, rubies, diamonds and blue sapphires set in 18K white gold When the daughter of a precious gem dealer met the son of a stone cutter, it was love at first sight. Estelle Arpels married Alfred Van Cleef and consummated the marriage by founding the infamous Van Cleef & Arpels in 1906 across from the Hotel Ritz in Paris. More than a century later, Houston is feeling the love, too. Texas' first freestanding Van Cleef & Arpels boutique opened quietly here at River Oaks District. An ombré exterior, and glittering chandeliers custom gold-leaf hand- painted wall coverings are the backdrop for one of the most storied jewelry maisons in the world. Van Cleef is widely known for its Alhambra (four-leaf clover) collection, but the Houston boutique showcases all the collections and timepieces, as well as the high jewelry collected and coveted by some of the house's most storied customers — the Duchess of Windsor, Grace Kelly and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis among them. Some say it's the proprietary "mystery" or invisible-prong gem setting style employed in the high jewelry that sets Van Cleef apart. These brilliant and whimsical brooches, necklaces and rings are inspired by nature, culture and the imaginary world, with only a select few created each year; a single one can require in excess of 300 hours of work. A labor of love indeed. Francine Ballard Van Cleef & Arpels, River Oaks District, 4444 Westheimer Road, 346.201.3232, Saint Laurent, Galleria, new temporary space, second level, 713.840.7006, The new Van Cleef & Arpels boutique at River Oaks District E ver so discreetly this fall, the restaurant formerly known as Table, poised in a prime spot at the edge of BLVD Place on Post Oak Boulevard where Philippe Schmit's French eatery once reigned, took a sojourn once again to France and unveiled a stunning retourné to the Gallic land called La Table. Chef Manuel Pucha manned the range at Philippe Restaurant; astonished us at Table with his inventive, meticulously executed dishes; and remains firmly entrenched as he takes on cuisine Française again, not to mention a larger staff to contend with continuous service breakfast, lunch and dinner. On the first level of the civilized two-story boîte, the aroma of warm kouglofs wafts from the new petite polished bakery dubbed Macarons, which offers goodies ranging from baguettes ($3) to chocolate-studded brioche ($2.50) and pastry such as the classic gateau opera and tiny jar desserts of pot de crème and ile flottante ($5 each) to enjoy here or take away. Further in is Marché, a bar and cozy corner banquette with piles of gingham pillows evoking the casual ease of the Province countryside. Here, breakfast is served: decadent French toast enrobed in an almond crust ($9), quiche du jour ($7) or egg-white frittata ($11). For lunch or a mid-afternoon wine break, partake in a Dairymaids cheese plate ($12), roasted beet salad with goat milk yogurt ($11), caramelized cheese soufflé with parmesan foam ($16) and entrées of spiced tuna niçoise ($26) and chicken paillard ($26). Up the grand center staircase are dozens of glossy books from luxe French publisher Assouline, which has sanctioned the soaring dual space as its first Houston bookshop. While the weighty tomes gathered en masse add to the warm residential sensibility, you'll feel cosseted in the cool blue-hued dining room dubbed Chateau, its interior (like the entire space) an elegant reinvention designed by the New York firm Dekar Design and lead by management firm Invest Hospitality and CEO Alex Gaudelet. Here you can dine on a two-course luncheon prix-fixe menu ($24), three courses at dinner ($36) or à la carte under the soft light of artist Matthew Shively's porcelain orb lighting installation. The approachable wine list offers worldly options with precious prices but entices many more with $30, $40 and $50 selections. Tableside service, a relic of the distant past, is revived here as a sparkling silver guéridon is wheeled about the room — ditto for the petit fours, which are served after the meal from a Christofle porte mignardises trolley. Laurann Claridge TURNING TABLES F R E N C H La Table, 1800 Post Oak Blvd., 713.439.1000, JENNY ANTILL CLIFTON JENNY ANTILL CLIFTON JENNY ANTILL CLIFTON DEBORAH SMAIL Hedi Slimane's vision for Saint Laurent boutiques The Assouline book nook at La Table Macarons bakery at La Table Van Cleef & Arpels Lagune Précieuse necklace from Seven Seas collection with diamonds, sapphires and aquamarines set in 18K white gold Chateau dining room at La Table

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