Paris offers so many places to discover and explore, especially if you love art, food and fashion! One of the things I enjoy the most about this city is the personalized retail. With more and more shopping going online for variety and convenience, in Paris there are still many specialty shops where clothing items are made for you by people who love their craft. Whether it is shoes, gloves, jacket or a dress…it can be found and made in Paris.
It should have been no surprise that my friend Chiemi, a retail guru from another fashion capital – Tokyo, found a place where custom hats are made. I wasn’t sure what we were in for when late one afternoon we took the M4 train to the St. Sulpice station and found our way up a darkening side street.
La Cerise sur Le Chapeau (The Shirt and the Hat) at 11 rue Cassette 750006 Paris is a little jewel of a boutique that welcomed us with bright colors and bustling activity. I was about to have my first encounter with made-to-order hats! www.lacerisesurlechapeau.com
#1, pick a style. Because it is still winter, they were all thick felted wool. Was a wider brim preferred, or a taller crown? The shop keepers took a measurement to determine the right size for my head.
#2, pick a color. Hurray! Bright, or subdued? Light or dark? What color do you think I picked? Of course, it was purple. A dark, Parisian kind of purple. Very sophisticated!
#3, select a ribbon that would become the side band. Tough choices: Contrasting color or something monochromatic? Go bold or go muted? I rummaged through all the sample options (which were endless) and finally decided on one. Then a smaller accent ribbon needed to be selected because this would cover the seam on the side band.
Once all the choices were made, the shop girls recorded everything. They instructed us to come back in two days and our hats would be ready.
I couldn’t wait to get my hat. It was perfect! The style is called “l’Amant”. The actress Jane March wore a similar hat in “The Lover” a 1992 film adaptation of the Marguerite Duras novel by the same name. The cool thing is, if I’m ever back in Paris I can bring it in to refresh the shape and update the ribbon. Can’t do that with an online order…Merci beaucoup!