Living Legends

A Parisian Fan Maker Unfolds The City's Vital Heritage

Eloïse Gilles

Co-owner of Duvelleroy

When the opportunity to restore one of the grandest Parisian fan-making houses of the 19th century presented itself to Eloïse Gilles and Raphaëlle de Panafieu, the two friends immediately jumped at the chance. After purchasing Duvelleroy and restoring what they could of its original infrastructure, the partners launched their first line in 2010—a 12-piece collection of silk and feather fans-and have spent the past six years since reviving a lost French art and making it cool again.

Fashion ambassador and business owner Eloïse Gilles poses with one of Duvelleroy's newest creations.

Local Recommendations

Where To Uncover The City's Hidden Gems

Eloïse Gilles is an innovator drawn to pioneering creativity. A fashion designer, tastemaker, and stylist, she has created a dialog between tradition and modernity with her limited edition, hand-made fans at Maison Duvelleroy. But where does she find her inspiration? In experiences of French heritage and tradition that have been reinvented for their time and place. Here, she shares her favorite hometown haunts.

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Exploring The Marais District

Whether she's in search of design inspiration or wants to peruse the latest fashions, Eloïse Gilles makes her way to the historic Marais district in the third arrondissement. The ArtMetal Framex is a must-stop for decorative costume jewelry, hand-made military-style buttons, and antique metal furnishings and fixtures.

To browse bolts of intricate French lace and layers of delicate tulle, the designer stops by the House of Sophie Hallette, a top supplier to couture designers like Christian Dior, Pierre Balmain, and Alexander McQueen for the past 130 years. Both Kate Middleton and Amal Clooney's wedding gowns were constructed entirely from Sophie Hallette lace, as were many wardrobe items for fashion icons like Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.

Historic Eats

Dinner At The Clown Bar

For an avant-garde dining experience in the trendy Oberkampf neighborhood, try The Clown Bar, down the street from the Cirque d'Hiver. In homage to the establishment's roots as the preferred watering hole of off-duty entertainers, the space has been immortalized with spectacularly clownish kitsch. Taken over by Sven Chartier and Ewen Lemoigne in 2014, the dining room features circus-themed ceramic tiles, a hand-painted glass ceiling showing a moonstruck Pierrot, juggling light fixtures, and beyond. But the food is no joke. You can count on expertly prepared dishes by chef Sota Atsumi whose seasonal French dishes with the occasional Japanese twist—as in the fresh langoustines with tempura, or trout sashimi with raspberries—has been recognized as some of the city's best.

An Afternoon Fit For A Flâneur

Slowing Down In The Quartier Latin

It's important to find time to rest and recharge. When in need of meditation and relaxation, Eloïse hits reset at Rasa Yoga, a boutique studio offering Ashtanga, Hatha, and Vinyasa practices as well as holistic spa treatments and massage therapy.

With a clear mind, and restored energy, Eloïse Gilles stops by Shakespeare and Company, an English language bookshop and Left Bank literary institution across from Notre Dame. Founded in 1951 by American George Whitman, the shop is known for its vast selection of books, and the estimated 30,000 Tumbleweeds, transient writers, artists, and intellectuals who have lived at the store over the years.

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