Violette Sauvage Vide dressing returns for 2018

This weekend in Paris is the first Violette Sauvage vide dressing of 2018.

Taking place on February 10 and 11, the secondhand clothing sale promises, as always, fabulous preloved (and many new with tags) items at great prices.

If I had gone to this with say, €1,000 in my purse (and had size 5 feet) I would have bought the blue velvet Chloé Susanna boots for €450, the Maje striped jumper for €60 (this was brand new with €245 tag), The Sandro grey and blue coat for €150, the brand new Chanel court shoes, also for €150, the brand new Eric Bompard cashmere jumper with gold lace detailing for €90, and probably a whole lot more.

As it was, I settled on a real leather H&M skirt for a fiver. Because, well, I’ve got champagne tastes but a shoestring budget.

Entry costs €2. At 7 rue Lacépède, 75005


Vestiaire Collective’s Paris pop-up reveals archive secrets

An event held at Vestiaire Collective’s pop-up store in Paris last night gave a fascinating insight into the archive secrets of French luxury houses Hermès, Dior, Givenchy and Rochas.

During a talk led by fashion journalist Ilaria Casati, attendees learned about what constitutes an archive, what role they play and how they are added to over the years.

While archives have an immense importance for the history and DNA of fashion houses, Casati questioned whether, in light of the current phenomenon of designers returning to the archives for inspiration, they are now becoming a marketing tool for brands.

Participating in the talk were Barbara Jeauffroy-Mairet, project lead and associate curator at Musée Dior – Christian Dior Haute Couture; Julia Guillon, who has worked on the archives of Courrèges and Givenchy and is now at Rochas, and art expert Côme Rémy, who was head of the Conservatoire des Créations at Hermès from 1993 to 1997.

All three shared anecdotes of how they acquire items for a brand’s archives, and the thrill associated with finding something in the most unexpected of places (imagine getting a call from a dry cleaners in possession of a vintage Dior couture dress that a customer wanted cleaned before she donated it to charity).

What came through most during the talk was each participant’s staggering knowledge of a particular house’s codes and production, meaning that they’ve bought unbranded pieces at auction having recognized something that the auction experts-and other bidders-missed.

Wondering how you too can get a slice of the action? Take their advice and go to flea markets. Look for things that don’t belong somewhere-a pearl and cameo bracelet in a box of costume jewelry, for example-and that’s your piece right there.

When questioned on what consumers should be looking to buy from brands in particular – a Lady Dior bag or a Hermès carré for example – the response was unanimous: buy what appeals to you, for your own ‘archive’.

Le Cosy Corner – budget deco

If you’re looking to decorate your Parisian home on a budget (because most of your money will be going on rent), then Le Cozy Corner has the solution for you.

The company organizes sales of secondhand items that come from professional establishments including hotels, restaurants and shops.

And this weekend (27-28 January 2018) Le Cozy Corner is hosting its first sale – setting up shop at Point Éphémère to sell items from Maison Options, the European leader in furniture and decorations hire for events.

You’ll be able to snap up a sofa for €70, a lamp for €11 and a chair for €3.50. Personally, I’ve got my eye on the vintage-inspired trunk that’s priced at a bargain €6.

At Point Emphemere, 200 Quai de Valmy, 75010, Paris 11am – 7pm.

Secondhand sales shopping in Paris

The start of the sales always whips people into a frenzy in France as they only happen twice a year (the winter sales start the second Wednesday in January, while the summer sales begin on the fourth Wednesday of June).

Some people even take the day off work and are queuing up outside the shops at 8am, ready to be let loose on the bargains (or maybe that was just me, outside Galeries Lafayette a few years ago).

But when the sales start tomorrow on 10 January, instead of hitting up regular retail I’ll be doing a bit of secondhand sales shopping.

Dépôt vente La Cloakroom is offering 20% off everything during the sales, while Bis Boutique Solidaire is giving customers 20% off at its two shops tomorrow only. Last year, I bought a sixties style dress in the sale at La Marelle that’s very Courrèges in style. These are just a couple of what will undoubtedly be a long list of secondhand stores that will be reducing their prices, which means it could be the perfect time to pay a visit to one of the pricer consignment stores in the hope of snagging a bargain. Let me know about your fabulous finds!

Parisian secondhand clothing store Bobby

Bobby on Paris’ Rue Réaumur is one of the French capital’s secondhand clothing stores that should be high on your agenda.

Service aside, this two-storey shop has a lot going for it. It’s in a cool area (I recommend you go to Matamata Coffee Bar afterwards to refuel with a cappuccino and avocado toast), is bright and airy and has a great selection of preloved pieces on sale.

There are a lot of clothes on the rails, and while this increases the chances that you’ll find something to take home with you, it can be rather overwhelming.

Secondhand items spotted during my visit included a Sezane stripy top for €28, brand new with tags Geox black heeled boots for €80 and a brand new Chanel foundation for €22.

For me the standout piece was the Mary Katrantzou x Disney x Colette sequin jumper for €200 – pieces in this collection (launched in November 2017 at Parisian concept store Colette, which has now closed) seem to have started at around €560 when new.

At 89 rue Réaumur, 75002

Chercheminippes – A Paris institution

Chercheminippes is something of a Paris institution when it comes to consignment stores.

It has a total of seven shops on the chic rue de cherche-midi in the French capital’s 6th arrondissement: one for babies and children; one for teenagers; a menswear shop; a homeware treasure trove; a women’s footwear and accessories store; mid-to-high-end women’s designer fashion, and high-end women’s designer fashion.

So whether you’re in the market for a Hermès bag, some new cushions or a pair of J brand jeans, chances are you’ll find it at Chercheminippes. There’s also a good selection of (unopened) skincare and cosmetics – great if your budget is more like Asda but your tastes are Armani. I have in the past bought Chanel nail polish from here for about half the retail price.

Preloved pieces spotted during my visit include an Equipment silk shirt (at €95 it’s more than double the price of that seen at dépôt vente La Cloakroom but still around 70% off the RRP), A canary yellow American Retro coat reduced to €177 and a Christian Dior trench coat for €695.

At 106-124 rue de Cherche-midi 75006

La grande braderie de Mona – My Little Paris

Mona, the pop-up co-working space created by My Little Paris, opens its doors one last time to the public today to sell off all the furniture and accessories that have graced the space over the last three months.

Despite arriving at 10am on the dot, the big queue snaking up the street suggested that most bargains would be snapped up before I even set foot inside. And indeed, the retro typewriter, velvet chairs and most of the inspirational quotes sported sold stickers or had been reserved by the time I got to them.

As expected, the big ticket items were slower to sell. If I had a fabulous Parisian apartment capable of accommodating a large sofa (and €1000 to spare) I might have been tempted to splash out, idem for the rather pricey but fabulous rugs.

What I really wanted was the printed Estée Lauder quote (“I never dreamed about success. I worked for it”), but someone else sadly got there before me.

There were, however, lots of Louise Roe vases, a large variety of plants and a fair few cushions still for sale so it’s definitely worth a visit if you’re in the area.

On until 7pm at 118 rue du Turenne, Saturday 30 December.