Saturday, February 27, 2021

Book Review: The Parisians: Tastemakers at Home (Flammarion)


Cover for The Parisians: Tastemakers at Home (Flammarion, 2019) 

The Parisians: Tastemakers at Home is an intimate exploration of the residences of 25 male ‘tastemakers’ in Paris, men who are at the forefront of Paris’ artistic innovations and creative heart. Photographers, artists, fashion designers--the residential spaces explored in this book reveal an array of personal styles, aesthetic tastes, and homespun secrets.

Each chapter of the book is dedicated to a different ‘tastemaker,’ whether they live in an elaborate chateau-style home, a chic apartment with a minimalist air, or a refurbished cottage with charming nooks and crannies. The introductions to each chapter explore the backgrounds and aesthetic styles behind each individual and their residence; these introductions provide essential groundwork to the upcoming pages. In addition to the introductions, readers are assisted by captions with each photograph, which provide context for the objects or styles featured in each snapshot.

pp. 300-301. Photo by Guillaume de Laubier from The Parisians: Tastemakers at Home (Flammarion, 2019)

Catherine Synave’s background as an art historian shines in each introduction, where the personal histories of each tastemaker--and their aesthetic--are explored. Synave’s writing is accessible, while still allowing her art historian background--and with it, her experience and knowledge in style and design--to take center stage.

The photography in this book was done by Guillaume de Laubier; Laubier’s work is both universal and intimate, providing aesthetically pleasing perspectives of the residences without sacrificing style or form. The photographs are reproduced here in high quality on matte pages, which allow each photograph (whether it is presented as a full page, double-page spread, or smaller size) to be studied and revisited with ease.

One of my favorite aspects of this book is the fact that the residences are--well, residences. They are all clearly lived-in spaces, with clutter and personal touches and work or art projects strewn about. The "lived-in" feel provides something intimate to this book which elevates it beyond a simple interior design coffee table tome.

pg. 74. Photo by Guillaume de Laubier from The Parisians: Tastemakers at Home (Flammarion, 2019)

The variety of residences here makes for interesting reading, but it also provides something practical: a deeper source of potential inspiration for anyone who is seeking to incorporate “Paris” into their own interior style. The breadth of aesthetics featured here allow for anyone, regardless of their personal tastes, to find something that speaks to them. Whether they tune into the minimalist simplicity of a carefully curated shelf, seek to incorporate an 18th century vibe into their living room, or start searching for giant yellow bears to create an absolutely unforgettable talking point that no one who enters your home (or glimpses it from the doorway, mid-food delivery) will ever forget. (Confession: I am the person who now wants a massive yellow bear in their home. Can you blame me? To be fair, the bear was not simple decor, but an art piece in progress... still, one can dream!)

I recommend The Parisians: Tastemakers at Home for anyone with an interest in eclectic Parisian style, an interest in any (or all!) of the tastemakers featured within the pages, or anyone looking to shake up their own personal interior design. 

[A review copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher] 

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