Collage and typography by Talisa Sutton, words by me
This year Talisa and I will be spending our summers (their winters!) in two of our favourite cities, Paris and New York. To celebrate we thought we'd work together on a two-part themed gift guide perfect for lovers of those cities just like us. We had so much fun putting together our gift guide last year that it made sense to do it all over again. We hope you love it too. So, without any more chat, here is part one. Give the gift of Paris this Christmas.
one. Van Rycke 'Porte Bonheur' bracelet, $88 from My Chameleon
Christmas is always about the little things. Little mince pies, little sips of champagne, little children, running around in wrapping paper togas, and little jewels. Van Rycke is the King of the petite present, the definition of a tiny thing that means so much. Any of their string cord bracelets emblazoned with slogans will do - La Vie, Je T'aime, Best Friend (choose wisely according to your recipient) - but our favourite is Porte Bonheur. Let this be a lucky charm in name and in nature for the lucky person who gets this under the tree, and start their new year off with a charming little spark.
two. Isabel Marant 'Vadim' chunky knit, $480 from La Garconne
If she's a francophile - and if she isn't, this is the wrong guide for you! - then she'll love Isabel Marant. But she'll also love angora sweaters, the chunkier the better, for pairing with skinny jeans and suede ankle boots and insouciant, irreverent charm. If she's a francophile she'll love the colour cream; creme fraiche, vanilla macarons, the white-washed walls of a Hausmann-ised hotel particulier. If she's a francophile she'll love a loose, slightly baggy style, all the better for wearing under pea coats and chunky scarves. If she's a francophile - and if she isn't, then this is the wrong guide for you! - then she'll love this sweater with all her heart.
three. Sans Ceuticals 'Beauty Essentials Kit', $36 from My Chameleon
Some people are lucky enough to be getting a jet-setting trip for Christmas, a European winter or a Japanese New Year. Understandably, budgets can be easily blown, which is why this Beauty Essentials Kit by New Zealand beauty brand Sans Ceuticals is the perfect stocking stuffer for someone with wanderlust eyes. Featuring plane-perfect samples of their cult-favourite range including hair wash and hydratant, body wash and body cream - all packed in a jute bag ready to go! - this essentials kit will be just that.
Experiences can sometimes be the best gifts, as a champagne-hued memory lasts forever. This one may require planning; hunting down a tranche of Fromage D'Affinois with the blue vein running through it, finding a good baguette and a good bottle of red, rushing to the boulangerie to snag those last few financiers of the afternoon. But it'll be worth it. Once you and your lover, or your best friend, or your francophile mother, or whoever, really, stretch out along a picnic rug in the grass at Weribee Park, or in the courtyard of Town Hall in Sydney, you'll be treated to hours of French music and the kind of perfect, Parisian afternoon that makes it all worthwhile. Even if you're not in Paris, not yet.
five. A box of Lanvin x Laduree macarons, approximately $35 from Laduree
Sure, if you give this they won't last the day. And it does seem like a lot of money for a cardboard box and 8 little circles of sugary pastry and sweet cream. But oh, what sugary pastry and sweet cream! And what a cardboard box! Designed by Lanvin creative director Alber Elbaz and featuring his trademark whimsical figurines (grand dames and bright young things and even Elbaz himself in his square glasses), the box is a thing of beauty, perfect for storing jewels and trinkets long after the macarons have been devoured. And, well... There are macarons and there are macarons and these are of the latter. Flown in direct from switzerland in such mouth-watering flavours as Cherry Blossom and Violet Marshmallow (if you see the flavours that you want, get them when you can, because not all flavours are available all the time unfortunately! Besides, it can be an early present before the Christmas rush), these macarons may not be as critically acclaimed as others in Sydney, but you're not really giving taste, or smell or sight here. You're giving a dream.
six. Delicacy, approximately $14 from Amazon UK
You could make an event of it - throw in some retro popcorn and a block of the best Mazet salted caramel chocolate ($16 from Simon Johnson, but who's counting) - promise an evening of laughter and tears and Audrey Tautou's beautiful, delicate wardrobe. Or you could just give her the film, wrapped up in tissue paper and placed in a stocking, knowing that if she loved Amelie - and who didn't? - and if she loves Carven - and who doesn't? - then she'll love this movie about love and loss and finding happiness in the most surprising of places.
seven. Little Birds by Anais Nin, approximately $14 from Powells
Why do French books always seem so naughty? Maupassant's George Duroy, smart and beautiful and a friend to all, Sagan's Cecile, languid as a duchess on that beach in the South of France, Colette's Gigi, not the first ingenue to fall in love with her benefactor, but surely the loveliest. But for proper naughtiness you can't go past Anais Nin. The queen of erotica, Anais Nin's Little Birds is probably her most well-known cahier of naughty scribbles. This one is definitely for the lovers.
See part two, New York, here