Fashion’s New Home Away From Home On Saint-Honoré-------
The fashion world has no shortage of preferred hotels for its several-times-annual trips to Paris, but the latest is one of the luxe-est yet. The Mandarin Oriental Paris has opened its doors a stone’s throw from Colette on Rue Saint-Honoré just in time for Couture, and no matter where you turn, a fashion reference greets you.
Since Couture week is upon us, let’s start with Swarovski, which released a cloud of crystal butterflies in the entry and striped the marble in the lobby with crystal for a nouveau Art Deco effect. Then there’s the hotel’s emblematic fan, specially made by Lesage (the rumor that it formerly belonged to Lagerfeld is, alas, untrue). Next comes the Camelia, the hotel’s “everyday” restaurant, a tribute to fashion in general and Chanel in particular, although there is no official connection here.
On the gastronomic side, there’s the Sur Mesure. Thierry Marx, one of France’s best-known chefs and a precursor of the molecular movement, is orchestrating the kitchens here, and this new 40-seat gastronomic restaurant promises a new twist on French foodie conventions. That aim is reflected in the decor—all off-white, with gatherings of unfinished fabric on the walls, smoothed into panels as the eye travels up and colonies of camellias. The tables, meanwhile, are undressed: nothing but plates and a tablecloth, a construct that Marx says will allow each table to come to life in function with every guest. And the food? Marx’s experimentations with temperature and textures make him one of the most inventive talents around, so look for dishes like soja risotto with truffle juice or “uncooked” chocolate cake (made solely with chocolate and water). A sign of the times: The minute it opened its doors, Sur Mesure was booked solid for weeks.
Luckily, other options include a modish, crystal-strewn Champagne bar and a garden courtyard so vast, quiet, and green it almost makes you forget that you are sitting in a major world capital. And that big birdcage in back? That’s the Table du Jardin, which stands a good chance of becoming the hardest get in town.
In the elevator, Lee Miller awaits; upstairs, every suite features original art by onetime Mugler designer-turned-fashion photographer Ali Mahdavi.
The Mandarin Oriental, 251 Rue Saint-Honoré, Paris, www.mandarinoriental.com/paris.
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