Thursday, November 19, 2009

Marie Claire Maison - Greatest Hits

So as I've said before, this is NOT a decorating blog.  But I will admit to having a terrible weakness for imagery OF EVERY KIND.  If you are a complete stranger and I come to your house, I will be very happy to immediately view your photo albums.  And I am one of those people known to purchase the leftovers of other peoples' albums at flea markets.  I DO have a Collier Brothers type predilection for printed matter.  And piling that matter up in precarious towers.  And, I AM a girl.  (In case there was any doubt.)  And we do obsess about our "interior lives".  Inexplicably so far hard-wired to do so it seems.

So imagine, I've lived in four different houses in the past five years.  So what has followed me every step along the way? What has had my movers groaning and swearing and sweating and doubled over in consternation? Apparently my devotion is such to tidy little packets of glossy imaging (100 copies of World of Interiors, 50 Martha Stewart Livings, 30 copies each of British Homes and Gardens, British House and Gardens, Living etc., Gardens Illustrated, Elle Decoration UK, Maison Madame Figaro, Elle Decoration - France and US, Metropolitan Home, Gardens Illustrated and yes, Domino - do you get the idea now?)  is such  that there was never a question ever of finding a capacious rubbish receptacle somewhere along the way that could welcome them.  Never any determination that they might have outlived their useful lives, "faded relics of another existence" etc.  No indeed, my magical world of colored pictures remains as relevant to me now in the waning first decade of the 21st century as it did when I was "starter" house-ing in Jois-ey and has now found many treasured places in my L.A. home!  I shouldn't admit to all this but everyone has to have a little vice.  For others it's ummmm pricey handbags, or plastic surgery, watches, cars or, or, or superannuated chimpanzees?!  (Sorry that was in bad taste, but true.  I mean, I could have worse vices!)

So what has prompted this little confession?  Last week P. over at What Possessed Me:

posted about Marie Claire Maison. And that re-MIND-ed me.  Since my move to L.A. and my discovery of its beautiful colors dovetailed with my discovery of the wonderful world of BLOG,  it has not strictly been necessary for me to daily pore over colorful images of homes and places I will never ever visit or live in.  This has saved me a lot of pocket money.  But I had to admit, when P. raved over the wildly creative and colorful flower scrim that she had discovered in the pages of MCM I had to reexamine my loyalties.  I spend less time in train stations these days and so accordingly less time in newsagents' perusing, perusing.  So the immediately obvious thing to do was to go treasure hunting in my own back bookcase.

And what little jewels I found!   I was not disappointed.  So today being my birthday, AT LEAST TODAY,  I can claim my birth-right as an American to mindless indulgence, and since it has become apparent that I will not after all be speeding out to Vegas in my sleeveless dress to dine with Joel Robuchon (sorry Jo!)  instead I will MAKE A PARTY!  (in the NY vernacular.)  A party of MCM greatest hits pics out of my personal collection.  They cover not just decorating but also food and travel.  All of which the editorial staff at Marie Claire Maison do with such originality and wit.  I do also think, and this is what I particularly love about France in general, that they do RUSTIC and REFINED so well.  It's an esthetic that brings me to my knees generally (sometimes literally - as in examining fabulously sculptural terra cotta rhubarb cloches) and which I find so inspirational and refreshing.  Like a long walk in the woods that opens out into breathtaking vistas and knocks the cobwebs out.

So voila!  Regalez-vous!  And channeling all those commentators last night who saw Thierry Henry hand-ball Ireland out of a World Cup place, oh-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-LA!!!!!!

Mes Passages Paradis MCM:

Everyone knows Andy Goldsworthy but do you know Nils Udo?  He sets up these artworks-in-nature and then he photographs them.

 I think he's a little more elegant than Andy Goldsworthy.

    Photo: Nils Udo - December '02-January '03 Edition

                      Photo: Marie-Pierre Morel - Sept/August '94

A passion for picassiettes.

            Photo: Guy Bouchet - Sept/August '94

A boat hull in Brittany looking like an African mask

Vive la fete!  Bon Anniversaire a moi!

                                      Festive Desserts Photo: Yukata Yamamoto - Dec07/Jan08

                                         Photo: Philippe Garcia Dec07/Jan 08

Dentelles en papiers.

                                             Photo: Alexandre Bailhache - July/Aug '92

Oeufs a emporter

                                              Photo: Arnault Descat - April '94

Meconopsis x sheldonii - Himalayan poppies

                                                    Photo: Ingalill Snit - November '95

                          Photo: Guy Bouchet - November'95

Jerusalem, a pub in E. London - Never been.  You?

Form at home with function.

   This Photo and Above: Eric Flogny/Aleph; Styling: Marion Bayle et Christine Puech - Sept'02

I haven't yet but someday I will have, a room in raspberry and saffron.  See the little jewel-colored tea lights along the windowsill?

Funky and fabulous.

       Photo: Nicholas Tosi - Dec'95/January'96

Alongside faded splendor.  Home of Francoise Nobele and Jean-Michel Smilenko

    Photo/Styling: No credit - Nov'03

Why didn't I think of this?  Tiled stools!  Tout simples!

                                       Photo: Vincent Leroux - Sept'03

Another chandelier TO DIE for!

                                           Photo: Yukata Yamamoto - Sept'03

Love these colors, may solve my bedroom decorating quandary.  I HAD thought I was going green.

    Photo: Vincent Leroux - Sept'03

It would SEEM like such a good idea to live in this little white house.  Until you had to schlep the groceries home.  On the Island of Halki, off Rhodes.

       Photo: Jean-Bernard Naudin - March'94

Do you know the Astier-de-Villatte white faience ceramics made in Chinon?  This is the family home a few years back.  The father makes the ceramic "tete-de-fille" sculptures.

Well that hit the spot for me.  Paradis Retrouve.  Tomorrow yes, more and final Mysore Magic.

(And yes, oh great-and-terrible Marie-Claire Maison.  I realize some of these photos may have not yet passed into the public domain.  I have reproduced them only in part and if you would like me to remove them I will.   (On the other hand, I'm giving you free publicity and I don't do that for EVERYBODY!)   If I must remove them, I hope they can be found in your archives via the little caption details I have provided.  Meilleurs sentiments,  Mlle. P)


  1. I have to admit that Marie Claire (in its various incarnations) was my very first magazine obsession (having spent early years in France). Later in life, I have become more devoted to the Cote Ouest, Cote Sud (etc) series of design mags. Even now, when the internet has taken the place of the bulk of magazines in my life, I still cannot resist the newest issue of Cote (what-have-you).
    And, even sadder, I am occasionally still drawn in by Marie Claire's offerings, even though that stage of my life should really belong to the distant past.
    Though I no longer use it (and rarely admit to it) I do have a degree in interior design. What are you going to do?

  2. Maia! You are full of surprises! Somehow I thought you were more outdoorsy! Of all the "Cote"'s, I like Cote Est best these days cause it still has a bit more character but Cote Sud is almost too perfect for me and MCM has changed and gone a little upscale too. But good news I guess is that I don't really need any more magazines at home. Still haven't cancelled my World of Interiors subscription though!

  3. Quoi?! C'est ton anniversaire? happy birthday to you!!! What could I give the woman who has everything and has raveled the world. Maybe this link for the coolest designed website:

  4. Oh, a belated happy birthday! Hope you had a good 'un!
    And that is a lovely 'greatest hits' collection of pics… love the Brittany boat hull as African mask. And those Himalayan poppies - oh my!

  5. Thanks Corine and Suzanne! That website is indeed v. cool. Love that stuff but it's so fragile and so expensive! Thanks again for that. And Suzanne, glad you enjoyed the pics. The blue Himalayan poppies are breathtaking aren't they? I know some people have managed to grow them in New England but I'm not sure I could pull it off in urban L.A. So pictures are good. I'm glad I posted them.

  6. Happy Birthday Mllle Paradis!

    great post... Mmmm I know the magazine addiction. I'm much better since blogging now saturates one in images....

    world of interiors YES!

    many happy returns...have an excellent year!

  7. Thanks so much Sophie! So you're like me. I guess it's kind of greener to view via blog vs. consuming piles of paper too! So yes, I have made a substantial if not total transition! Loved your post about the little lads. It's wonderful to share and discover along with the little guys. They will not forget you, I promise!

  8. Blogging is partly THE solution. you still need to keep some hard copies for the purpose of scanning.... even worst... having heard movers groaning about the uselessness of carrying around out of date issues... you end up looking for even older copies.... to add up to the piles... let's say, issues from the forties and fifties ;-)

  9. R&R: funny you should say that! I unearthed some very vintage, very quality stuff last week! I'm not saying I'm buying vintage stuff yet but it can't be ruled out! It may be yet be green because it's been around the block already a couple of times.