Was Lascaux actually an art gallery where a prehistoric wealthy collector could, let’s say, order an original print of a cave painting to grace the wall of her own condo cavern? No? Well, that was definitely the last time we know of when art and commerce had no interest in common.
So, Art(s) and Commerce cohabit comfortably on GallicFever, and, in this case the collaboration between prolific French artist Vincent Darré, and the venerable (founded 1912) Italian furniture maker, Poltrona Frau, that now has in their sensuous and luxe materials, Darré’s sometimes mordant, invariably witty designs.
Poltrona is far from the first heavyweight firm to hook up to Darré’s talent in the interests of prestige and profit for both, and naturally there’s a luxury retail lynchpin, too — the Left Bank capital of chic, Le Bon Marché. (Five years after the store became part of the LVMH brand, in 1989, Au Bon Marché was rechristened Le Bon Marché and any relation whatsoever to the dictionary meaning of bon marché [er, cheap] ceased to apply.) The LBM windows on rue de Sèvres and much of the 2e étage, the Interiors floor, are devoted at this writing to displays of Darré furniture design and décor inspiration. Unapologetically priced in the thousands of euros per item.
Vincent Darré, educated in an Influential Paris fashion school, as well as in the eighties trend crucible that was the famed disco, Le Palace (think Studio 54 in New York), made the most not only of his considerable design ability but also of a talent for timing. His bio illustrates how he always could be found at the fashion focal point, at the peak fashionable moment, “even when that meant being in several places at once.”
On recent May evening, Darré was at Le Bon Marché, on the top floor, where his Poltrona collaboration, and he, were the focus. The sparkling party played out against matte black walls, beneath one of the high and handsome geometric glass ceilings that adorn the LBM Interiors department.
“I let go all the other [DDays Paris design festival] invitations,” confided Australian transplant, Sarah de Teliga, one of many artists in attendance, “and just came here.” Later in May, at a Marie-Victoire Poliakoff gallery opening, I got to see de Teliga’s affecting miniatures, and other works by Poliakoff artists.
How many business parties have you attended with a fascinating, creative crowd for company but no crowd discomfort, and everywhere something unique to sit on and look at? Why go home to those boring antiques when you’re surrounded by Darré wit and your derrière luxuriates in Poltrona comfort? Not to mention you’re regaled by four of the most good-humored, nimble musicians ever to grace such a gathering.
The talented crowd pleasers,“Tchayok” played their specialty Russian and Tzigane (gypsy) airs, but ultimately seguéd dead-pan to a perfect rendition of the Johnny Cash classic, I shot a man in Reno just to see him die. Tchayok’s surprise ending for a soirée of art and commerce super flash.