I confess to my liking for some 'picture books', whether they are about the history of handbags or the history of couture. This one caught my eye as I walked by a store window, with an impending relocation on my brain. Paris has always been an intriguing favourite of mine and I have never tired of liking the quirky and unique characters of the various private apartments I have visited, grand hotels I have stayed in, as well as new 'concepts' such as the Louis Vuitton 'gallery' on Champs Elysees (which by the way was opened with an eye to circumventing Parisian retail laws, whereby shops cannot be open on Sundays but art galleries can!).
Back to the book: the book showcases a collection of pictures with a little historical and contextual commentary in English, German and French. The private apartments belong to people as varied from Thierry Mugler to Christian Lacroix to Helena Christensen. Some are tributes to design, some reflective of the owners' temperament and character, some shrines to the travels and life of the owners. The photos limit themselves to some parts of the featured apartments, thus preserving some of the privacy of the owners, a bit like French style itself. I found some truly a riot of colours, some very plain but none devoid of a story. What is interesting is that one can see wrought iron furniture in typically all (but Thierry Mugler's minimalist one) apartments; much furniture featured is inherited or rescued or bought at flea markets thereby reflecting that taste is a matter of individual vision rather than a huge budget..
It is not just a great coffee table book, it is also a great inspiration, a great collection of idiosyncratic, invidual ideas of creativity and style. And for the price, I think it is great value for money too.
I bought both New York and French interiors and New York wins for style. This one is interesting but looks dated which is strange since it was published in 2007. Some of the homes, but by no means all, look like Miss Haversham meets the Moulin Rouge. So red and so cluttered, I wondered if some smell of cats.
I think the Parisians hang on to every stick of furniture and bric a brac according to this book, as well a disturbing number of collections of cuddly toys and black dollies (I would have hidden the cuddly toys before the photographer came round). Always great value by Taschen though and there are still plenty of ideas to keep you going here.