On an evening before Christmas, I was sat with several people in the interiors industry. We were chatting about different people who had helped us along the way. The name This & Tat author came out of all of our mouths, the brilliant - Ellie Pithers. She has been with British Vogue since 2015, taking up the position of digital director in February 2020. Unfortunately for the UK, she was drawn to the Parisian skyline in 2021; thankfully, we don't have to be too disheartened. She is still a contributing editor at British Vogue while also lending her talents to other heavy hitters such as T Magazine, The Financial Times, and The Sunday Times. I asked Ellie to contribute to Tat as I think she is one of the chicest people I have met while also being a tremendous writer. A heady combination.
The only thing my friends want to know about my fabulous new life in Paris? The best new places to eat. I’m directing them to Le Collier de la Reine. It feels a little bit like a swimming pool when you walk in, but don’t let that put you off. (Apparently the décor was inspired by English pubs, but I didn’t get the reference. Not sure the designers have ever been to a Holloway Road boozer.) The Marais’s new hotspot is doing old-school fruit de mer platters with funky condiments and the côte de boeuf is very good too. Also: 10/10 for the chips!
Contemporary (and relatively accessibly-priced) art and sculpture arranged in a Left-Bank gallery that will make you want to flex the credit card. Pop it on your Paris hit list and make an appointment. I am dreaming of a giant vivid painting by Virginie Hucher or a wooden sculptural stool by Zougei.
Paris’s buzzy design duo Festen have outfitted this new-ish hotel near the Palais Royal, in collaboration with art director Franck Durand, and it looks like it’s always been there – in a good way. Think eggshell walls and ivory tiles, squashy skirted sofas, oak furniture that’s been waxed rather than varnished, and very 1940s-style dark green leaf-patterned carpet. Taking it all in with a vesper in the lacquered-ceiling bar = heaven.
I’m biased, because Max is my mate, but he really does have some of the most unusual antiques and artworks you’re likely to find on your feed. Having set up a stall at Paris’s famous Paul Bert Serpette market last year, he’s still dropping treasures at 6pm every day on his Instagram account @Max_Keys. Set your alarms – the goodies go quickly.
Fabrizio Casiraghi acolytes (me) obsessed with his regular choice of ceiling light, an antique Josef Hoffman lantern (also me) should check out Gong for contemporary alternatives. Sophie Ashby put me onto this west London label after she used one of their lamps in her own home in east London, and I’ve had one in my giant figurative shopping basket ever since. (The fact that I am currently hopping from flat to flat after a series of accommodation ‘complications’ has not stopped me from genuinely considering dropping £600 on a silk light for a non-existent ceiling.
I’m reading Pat Barker’s brilliant and brutal The Silence of the Girls and its sequel The Women of Troy and have been plunged back into my childhood obsession with ancient Greece. I don’t have a bathroom to decorate (see aforementioned accommodation issues), but if I did, I’d pepper it with Douglas Watson’s terracotta tiles sporting Greek figures.
The other week when I was attending a seriously elegant John Lobb shoe presentation, I popped a canapé down the hatch. I’m not knowledgeable about food but even I could ascertain that an excellent cook was in the house. It turned out to be Céline Pham. An ex-Septime (that’s another banging Paris restaurant for you) chef who made her name alongside her brother with their pop-up concept Tontine, Pham combines formal French training with Vietnamese flavours. Good news: She will open her first restaurant in Arles’s Place Voltaire this summer.
Extreme Cashmere is my knitwear weakness. Very expensive but highly delicious cashmere alert! Covering all bases with both elegant neutrals and vivid colourways, as well as chunky swaddling rollnecks and crop tops alike, there’s nothing quite like slipping one of these sweaters on. I’m saving up for the Amsterdam-based brand’s super-soft take on a rugby top.
Oh man, I spend half my life on this website. Another coffee break, another trawl of Resee to log what delights from Phoebe-era Céline, Azzedine-era Alaïa and Margiela-era Hermès might have dropped onto the site. Founded by two French ex-glossy magazine editors, the edit and condition of Resee’s second-hand selection is second to none. I find it’s very good for presents for those tricky well-heeled people in your life who seem to have anything. Who wouldn’t want a vintage YSL pen pot?
Unfortunately, the Instagram handle @ButterSculptures is taken – the admin appears to be an Istanbul-based fan of nightmareish butter German Shepherds and mice with cherry tomatoes for ears. But that hasn’t stopped me amassing a folder of pictures on my phone of butter, set in pleasing, sculptural shapes. Turns out this is not a new-fangled thirst trap. A quick browse on Wikipedia confirms that butter sculpting was once an ancient Tibetan art. In 2022, New York-based chef Laila Gohar is the modern-day maestro, having sculpted Greek caryatids and Doric columns for her legendary dinner parties for brands including Hermès. Imogen Kwok (who cooks for Loewe and Matchesfashion.com, amongst others) is bringing up the rear with butter composites studded with pansies. And a voluptuous-looking miniature butter sofa is my current screensaver, courtesy of Maker & Son’s Christmas party, as featured on T Magazine. I just can’t stop staring at it.