Whilst strolling around the Abbesses village in Paris, I found this little gem: ‘Vlum + Bleu Tango‘ a studio-shop founded by two young women artists. Vlum is a jewel brand and Bleu Tango a clothing brand.
For our girls escape in Paris, my girlfriends and I usually stay in the Abbesses quarter (in the 18th arrondissement). We love the charm and liveliness of this area. It’s kept a village atmosphere and there’s plenty to do. The cobblestoned streets are filled with brasseries, vegetable stands, trendy boutiques, bakeries, creperies, wine bars, and one of my favourites: cheesemongers.
On that day, Dorine wasn’t in the store, so Lou attended the three of us. We are crazy about earrings and we couldn’t resist… and each of us bought a pair of those highly artistic, contemporary and elegant earrings.
The “doubles chainettes epineuses” model (picture above) costs EUR 75. Of course handmade local production comes at a price that is higher than mass production. But you get a quality product that was carefully crafted. The design is original with nylon threads delicately braided together and finished with gold or silver plated attachments. On the online shop you can customise it completely – you choose the model, the thread colour (neutral, pastel or vibrant colours) and the finishes.
To me this store was different than your typical high street fashion store. There were two entwined stories with a common thread – talent, creativity and passion. I started asking questions to Lou about their stories and how they came to opening a store in Abbesses. It turns out that they started in a smaller store in the same area. At the time, there was barely any room for the atelier so they had to create in the evenings after trading hours. Following some hard work and motivation, they’ve managed to expand and move to this new store. There’s a large shopfloor where they exhibit their work and there’s an openspace studio for creation during quieter hours.
Another element of their philosophy that really resonated with me is how they source and produce their items. Lou produces her clothes in Europe to ensure quality standards and Dorine gets the silver and gold plated attachment produced locally in France; actually in my region (Picardie). La Picardie is far from being flamboyant economically speaking. So for me it was the trigger; the ‘locally-made in France’ tag sold it to me. On top of a beautiful and modern piece of jewellery, it felt like a fair action.
I found those two young women artists very inspiring and clearly I’m not the only one. Dorine’s work is exhibited at the V&A store and Lou has had quite some press coverage and a famous ambassador with Julie Gayet.