BARNEYS NEW YORK: THE PARIS FLEA MARKET RECREATED AT MANHATTAN FLAGSHIP
Unless you’ve been living in a cave lately, you know the fleas are trending not just for the vintage style but because they’re affordable. Today September 18, 2012, it’s official. According to this article in today’s Architectural Digest [REPRINTED FROM Text by Elizabeth Stamp | Photography by Tom Sibley the flea market style trend of vintage has officially moved from “The Shops at Target” on Main Street to Barney’s on Fashion Avenue. It bears reprinting because, in a sense, when Fashion Avenue references you, you have arrived.
What worries me, is that one, as soon as a cultural trend becomes legitimized by the commercial retail establishment, the charm and sub culture of them begins to fade (because our culture has the attention of a gnat). Secondly, Americans somehow think that if they see the Barney’s display, they’ve fulfilled their cultural experience in much the same way they will tell you they’ve “seen” Europe in Las Vegas. Not.
Read for yourself in the excerpt below and share your comments!
The Marché aux Puces St. Ouen de Clignancourt—the legendary flea market in Paris’s 18th arrondissement—has long attracted a fashionable set, with Coco Chanel and Christian Dior its frequent browsers in their day. Stateside flea fanatics can get their fix thanks to Barneys New York. The Chelsea Passage on the flagship’s ninth floor is currently host to “Marché aux Puces,” a special installation featuring incredible finds from the City of Light’s best-known treasure trove that is designed to recreate the experience of shopping there—without the airfare or shipping fees.
The shop is based on the stalls at Marché Paul Bert, a section of les puces that specializes in antiques and home furnishings. Dark gray canvas and sisal floors frame a wide array of items culled from numerous trips to the French capital over the past year.
“For an individual, to buy at the flea market in Paris is not easy,” says Barneys New York creative director Dennis Freedman. “It’s one thing to buy something, it’s another to arrange a shipment to America, deal with customs, and go from the port to your apartment. I’ve done that for the last ten years, and I know what’s involved. We’re eliminating all of that.” And to that we say merci beaucoup.
The eclectic assortment includes furniture, art, and one-of-a-kind decorative objects. A red 1970s Maison Barbier lamp mingles with two stone mile markers (used when the Romans were settling in Gaul), a plaster frieze, and sputnik-style light fixtures. “It’s a very big range of objects,” says Freedman, “from the 20th to the 19th century, Napoleon III pieces, big pieces, small pieces.”
Items will be added regularly through mid-November, and just like any flea market, great finds won’t last. There is one person, though, whom shoppers don’t need to worry about competing with. “I’ll be honest,” admits Freedman, “there were a number of things that I wanted to buy for myself and had to be told I couldn’t.”