This thread is to post historical review of firms and guides to style (1960s and older). We'll start with a guide to Paris firms from Vogue, July 15, 1931. Some fascinating finds: robes and handkerchiefs made of "sheer linen printed in the designs and colours of foulards." We'll also discover that in the 1930s, cologne could smell like a "mixture of tobacco and Russian leather."
A preview of coming attractions: next week we will have a review of Charvet from a newspaper in 1909. Unlike shirts of today, they were predominantly made of linen, followed by silk.
Now we leave the shoals of Sparta, sailing to the land of the Sybarites:
The best-known men’s shops in Paris are Charvet, in the Place Vendôme, Doucet, in the rue de la Paix, Boivin and Sulka in the rue de Castiglione, HIlditch and Key in the rue de Rivoli, d’Ahetze in the Arcades des Champs-Élysées, and Knizé et Cie in the Avenue des Champs-Élysées. In addition, there are numerous smaller shops, each with its own specialty. Even among the large shops, each one has some specialty or specialties, and it is from this point of view that the following items are suggested for the Paris shopper.
Charvet is famous the world over for luxurious dressing-gowns and bathrobes, but there are two articles in men’s apparel in this shop, particular suitable to the masculine taste, that are to be found nowhere else in Paris. One is the extremely large, extremely sheer, white batiste handkerchief for evening wear – the smartest of the kind I know – and the other, the washable printed linen neckties for summer wear.
Doucet has many novelties, but specializes in silk underwear, foulard handkerchiefs and ties to match, and novel leather belts. Silk shirts, initialed mufflers, and rich-looking crêpe de Chine handkerchiefs are features of Sulka; while Boivin is known everywhere for his pyjamas. Every season, he has a new model and always a great variety of colours and materials to choose from. His beach pyjamas, for such places as the Lido, are the last word in luxury and chic and are sufficiently different in cut from pyjamas for the bedroom to make them obviously for beach wear.
Hilditch and Key is a well-known London shop in Jermyn Street, with an equally popular branch in Paris. Their neckties, of course, are of English material and in the English taste, and, as women are notoriously bad choosers of neckties for a man, the suggestions and selections of the salesmen in this shop are extremely helpful. The sweaters, too, are excellent, and the flannel golf shirts, a novelty to replace “windbreakers,” are well worth considering as a present for the very difficult “man who has everything.”
Doing the des Champs-Élysées, one finds d’Ahetze in the Arcades, next to Claridge’s an amusing and very modern shop full of novelties. There are shirts with ties attached, novel bathing-suits, a great selection of washable ties, and materials to be made up into shirts, pyjamas, and dressing-gowns. This shop has a great deal of character, and the models are unlike those found anywhere else. Knizé, further up on the des Champs-Élysées, on the same side of the street, is a handsomely appointed shop on the second floor, full of interesting and luxurious things. There are English hats and sweaters, and particularly interesting are the golf jackets made up in English linens. Other novelties are handkerchiefs and dressing-gowns made of sheer linen printed in the designs and colours of foulards. Also, their scent for men, which is a mixture of tobacco and Russian leather.
As is the case everywhere, to-day, many of the smaller women’s shops now carry things for men, and among these are Annek, 14 rue de Marignan, and Hélène Yrande makes the famous “Train Bleu” set for men who travel in luxury. It consists of sheets, a dressing-gown, a travelling-rug, and slips to protect suits, hats, and other things from the dust of the train journey.
In mentioning the sources of presents for men, Hermès can not be omitted, for it is one of the most famous leather shops in the world. Lately, this shop has produced a model of combined pocketbook and billfolder, that is little short of genius. Where the pocketbook folds, the thickness of the leather has been cut away to make it less bulky than the average model, even when filled. It’s a perfect present.
At a smaller leather shop, Aux États-Unis, 229 rue Saint-Honoré, there is a “bottle bag” for toilet articles (not at all like the usual fitted bag), that has made this shop famous. It is a great find for the curious shopper, and, incidentally, will prove as useful to a woman as to a man.
Cartier, as every one knows, has many attractive things for men, but I think there is one article that stands out – a small, enameled, and gold-plated engagement book, with quarterly fillers and a pencil, which is exactly the right size put in the upper waistcoat pocket. It becomes quite indispensable to the man who has once used it.
And now – something of more feminine interest. If the glitter along the rue de Rivoli threatens to blind you, and you can’t choose your costume jewellery from the bewildering array, let Madame Tchounsky, 31 rue George Sand, show you her crystal lace necklaces. They encircle the base of the neck becomingly and shed a properly subdued brilliance over your aspect. “La Perle Assyria,” 13 rue Mandar, specializes in pearls, as you could guess. This shop combines pearls with coral and jade beads and makes up necklaces in those tripe and quadruple strands that now make the simple string of artificial pearls look a feeble, adolescent thing. Here, too, you will find the strands of chalky-white porcelain beads that are new and smart.
Edited by CrimsonSox - 2/25/14 at 12:40am