The Wolk Morais Diary: What’s Haute in Paris for Fashion Week

Wolk Morais designers Brian Wolk and Claude Morais were recently in Paris and write in with the best hotels, restaurants, and museums to check out in The City of Lights. 

Paris has been the reigning capital of Fashion since Louis XIV. What makes the Parisians the revolutionaries of style is their inherent ability to celebrate the classics and anoint the nouvelle mode. With fashion week on the horizon we
have penned the ultimate Paris Primer with everything you need to see, taste and smell in the city of light.

Haute Hotel

Situated at the Summit of Rue Saint-Honoré, Paris’ most fashionable address,  The Mandarin Oriental Paris is the epicenter of French luxury surrounded by the city’s most exclusive designer boutiques. Service is a virtue at this 5 Star Palace that manages to eloquently articulate the delicate balance between old school elegance and modern amenities. No detail is overlooked, from the Champagne toast upon arrival served in the Hotel’s elegant indoor/outdoor atrium to the intoxicatingly delightful bouquet of the Diptyque bath amenities. The rooms and suites are handsomely appointed with a nod to Art Deco, replete with elegant silk draperies and 500 thread count linens. The magnificent marble bathrooms feature walk-in showers and sultry soaking tubs. Closet space is ample and the dressing area is made to measure for fashion
week.  No sojourn to the Mandarin Oriental is complete without experiencing the fine dining options overseen by Chef Thierry Marx. For a delectable daytime rendezvous one must indulge at Camélia, where sustainability and French savoir
faire effortlessly commingle in the most elegant of environments.


For an Haute Couture dining destination there is no other than Sur Mesure, where glorious gastronomy is perfectly tailored to a space age dining room. This chic white culinary cocoon designed by Jouin Manku provides a seamless backdrop to
showcase decadent degustation menu. For a nightcap, evenings are effervescent at Bar 8. A massive marble bar anchors the room and the sparkling Lalique crystal curtains bring extra magic to the masterful mixology.

Les Belles Brasseries

The Grand Colbert– Located in the shadow of The Palais Royal, this formidable dining institution is the epitome of Parisian brasseries. Elegant waiters with whimsically waxed mustaches serve French faire under brass chandeliers and
perennial palms to a mesmerizing mélange of locals and expats. Don’t miss out on seasonally favorites including leeks with hazelnuts and white asparagus.

Brasserie Lipp– Celebrating 135 Years, this Alsatian Art Nouveau temple is a crown jewel of Paris dining culture. Marcel Proust enjoyed the sauerkraut, sausage and seafood towers and so will you. Hand-painted ceramic walls, faux bois ceilings and waiters in floor length aprons make dining here like remembrance of times past.

Chic Cafés

Carette– Carette has been where society has come and go, nibbling on profiteroles since the 1920’s. The original Trocadero location is the perfect spot for observing ladies who lunch in their natural habitat. Freshness is a virtue with
their delightful selection of salads and pastries, but for the most revered of the culinary treasures at this elegant Salon de The one must try the Club Sandwich; bar none, not only the best in Paris, but we would dare to say au Monde.

Le Café de L’Epoque– Nestled between The Louvre and Palais Royal on the picturesque Galerie Véro-Dodot this charming 1930’s cafe is as elegant for breakfast as it is for a late dinner. Chantilly Lace curtains and burgundy leather
banquettes provide a warm refuge for a chilly day in Paris where the classics are served to perfection including the Oeuf Mayonnaise, tartare de saumon, duck and confit. Don’t forget dessert… the Île Flottante and the Tarte Tatin are the
things that French dreams are made of.


Ravishing Restaurants

Chez Babo – A hidden gem set in the trendy Canal Saint Martin neighborhood,this charming restaurant/wine bar is at the top of our Paris list. The bistro not only offers a sensual selection of terroir delicacies, salads, charcuterie, and cheese
boards but also serves up an equally compelling clientele. The striking Michael Babo is the owner, chef and pied piper of this fashionable watering hole where the enfants terribles imbibe, mingle and nibble into the late hours of the nuit.

Derriere– This fashion canteen/speakeasy of sorts in Le Marais has been au courant since it opened its unmarked doors over a decade ago. Bambi Sloan’s eclectic interior is replete with a ping-pong table, flea market finds, bric-a-brac
and outsider artwork that recalls a strange eastern European social club. Head up the craggy staircase to the apartment where diners perch upon brass beds and vintage settees whilst sampling delightfully honest French cuisine. Insider
tip- the storied secret fumoir is located through a mirrored armoire; here is where the bohemian jet set sip cocktails and smoke cigarettes under the glare of taxidermy while watching their friends and faux play foosball.

Anahi– No need to cry for Argentina because the truth is Anahi is the next best thing. Situated on a sleepy street in the heart of the Marais, this candlelit South American inspired steakhouse occupying a 1920’s butcher shop has been a
cause célèbre amongst aristocrats, fashion folk, and Hollywood royalty since the 90’s . Make your reservations in advance because the transportive dining room is tres petite, only seating 42 patrons at a time.

Beau Bars and Belle Discothèques

La Coquille D’or – Sequestered in a dark corner of the Château Voltaire is one of Paris’ most seductive jewel box cocktail lounges. Equal parts rock and Rococo, La Coquille D’or is a small club-like bar with a luxe velvet atmosphere, live DJ
and a fashion forward crowd.

Andy Wahloo– Time is no object at Andy Wahloo, the cocktail bar by the owners of the neighboring Derriere. The interior features an electrifying pop decor where day never dawns and the neon lights make every sip as hip as the swanky

Colonia– The most exclusive private cocktail bar in Paris is located in the caves beneath the Palais Royal. The Religious inspired decor highlights the enlightened members who receive a passcode via Instagram for entry on a nightly basis. If
you are lucky enough to receive a password, key it into the unmarked door front and enter the Portuguese tiled lobby. A concierge will take your coat, and press a button to activate a concealed sliding panel that reveals a descending staircase
to this subterranean chapel of holy decadence.

Silencio–  David Lynch designed this experimental social and dance club with a focus on procuring a cross section of the worlds most compelling artists, musicians  and creatives. The rigorous membership process includes a portfolio
review before members are handed the golden key to the city’s most spectacular nightclub. On any given evening one can see established and emerging performers on stage and on the dance floor. The result is a glorious inclusive mélange reminiscent of Andy Warhol’s factory set in a subterranean labyrinth of impeccably designed salons, dining rooms, theatres, fumoirs and discotheques.


Galleries à la mode- The contemporary art scene in Paris is booming and the majority of the most relevant galleries are all located within a hop, skip and café of each other on Rue Debelleyme in the 3rd Arrondissement.  While there be
sure to check out Gallerie Thaddaeus Ropac , Galerie Karsten Greve, David Zwirner, and our personal favorite a couple blocks away, Almine Rech.


Boutique Museums- Of course there are the venerable institutions in Paris but the smaller museums offer an intimate glance into the creators life and often are located in the place they resided or worked. For the fashion folk a trip to Paris is
not complete without visiting the Musée Yves Saint Laurent. Located in his historic Atelier, the permanent installations and film archives in addition to new exhibitions exploring the various periods of his career illustrate the designer’s
oeuvre with comprehensive attention to detail.

Other Standouts include The Picasso Museum  in spectacular Hôtel Salé (the grandest of 17th Parisian mansions),  The Gustave Moreau Museum located in the artist’s historic family home, and  The Giacometti Foundation housed in the
artist live/work studio.

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