didn't show up at La Perle. The rumour that a shot of absinthe goes in the beer at this bar may be true, but she must have taken her liquid fire for a mini break this past Wednesday. Good thing, because the atmosphere was quite intoxicating enough without the addition of her magic.
And so... La Perle. Like all infamously trendy hotspots, it has received innumerable reviews, ranging from extremely positive to damningly negative. Many people seem to feel that the bar is all hype and no substance (John Galliano among them), but what everyone seems to agree upon is that La Perle is the 'cool' place to be. I'm not really a bar hopping femme- most nights I'd rather be curled up with tea and a book- so I knew I would have to keep an open mind, and at the very least just enjoy being in the presence of hip euro youth. However, I was not disappointed. It was a fantastic night...
>> After taking several wrong turns on the ancient, winding streets of the Bastille district, I finally step onto quiet Rue de la Perle and instantly see my target in the distance: a corner building with burgundy awnings, and people spilling onto the street. Even from a block away, the buzz is palpable. 10 minutes later, equipped with 'bière blanche' and a cigarette, I venture into the sea of beautiful people. The first thing that hits me is how friendly the Perlites are. Actually, that is the second thing... the first thing that really hits me (only because it is immediately obvious) is how petite everyone is! My heels push me well over 6', and people look up curiously (or perhaps warily?) as I pass. The latter is probably the case, because grievous injury could ensue if I were to tred on the feet of one of these très petite femmes. But back to the friendliness... Seeing as La Perle is such a hipster magnet, I expected tremendous attitude and insouciant Gallic shrugging. There is some of course- this is Paris after all- but I am pleasantly surprised by the lack of pretension. Chattering Parisiennes make room as I move around the floor, and within a few minutes a group of über cool 20 somethings (two of whom I first met on Monday night) kindly welcome me to a table and I try to follow along wih their rapid fire french. Many of the people milling around are somehow connected to the fashion industry- there are interns from Lanvin and Margiela, fashion journalists, photographers, stylists and two slightly seedy looking model scouts who are picking up guys for an upcoming Paul Smith shoot.
I would pay just to people watch here. There is a predictable abundance of dark skinny jeans, wide belts cinched tightly over blouses, and tunics worn with leggings, but most of this is worn with panache, so I have no complaints... There are also the style mavericks who sport a unique combination of vintage and new- I am sure the trend researchers for fashion magazines would kill to get an eyeful of them. Sitting in a booth across from me is a woman in her mid 40s (as far as I can tell, the oldest person in the bar). She seems very out of place in her plain burgundy skirt suit and no accessories, but sits with such supreme confidence and grace, that I can't help but wonder who she is. The three men sharing her table seem similarly engrossed. Outside, the style parade continues- a cobblestone catwalk.
I heard rumours that I would see a lot of people in white jazz shoes at La Perle (?!). Can't say I saw a lot of jazz shoes persay, but I did see a lot of white shoes. Perhaps this is an upcoming fall trend? Men and femmes alike sported white shoes of varying heights- there were also of course, a few tanned people from Madrid who had brightly coloured high heels.
Yvan the Facehunter was working the crowd that night and captured some good looks... Number eight is one of my favourites- his white rabbit sweater comes from a thrift store in Detroit. It doesn't quite come across in the photo, but he had pinned a sprig of fresh mint to the front of his sweater with a button featuring the face of a hissing cat. I love details like that.
Alors! That is my experience of an average Wednesday night at La Perle. If you have been there, please share your opinion!