The Queen of Paris Competition and Inspiration
Once upon a time many years ago (2009), a competitor of ours wrote me a long letter, addressing it as “Dearest Queen of Paris.” The letter itself was like nothing I have ever received before nor since — the words expressing his goals to either destroy us or rule us or devour us were the work of a seeming psychopath who compared himself to The Joker and me to Batman — when The Joker said to Batman, “You made me, you idiot.”
Those privy to the letter got a big laugh at it and over the years, we continued to joke about his salutation raising me to such high esteem. “Uh oh,” I thought — I know one Queen of Paris who was beheaded (Marie-Antoinette), so it didn’t seem like such a good position to be in!
Dear Parler Paris and Parler Nice Reader,
If you read John Pearce’s recent blog and watched his videoed interview with me, you will know that he chose to call me “The American Queen of Paris Real Estate” without any knowledge of the letter I had received from The Joker. Again, I got a big laugh and of course, it brought back lots of old memories — like when The Joker came to a talk I gave at a seminar a couple years ago wearing sunglasses so we wouldn’t recognize him. LOL!
But, let’s just get this straight. John was an excellent interviewer and it was fun to do, and I appreciate him placing me on such a high pedestal, but I am certainly no ‘queen’ and would not want to be in the same position as Marie-Antoinette whose subjects decided she was way too spoiled eating cake while they were begging for crumbs!
Meanwhile, as competitors go — competition is what makes the world go ’round. Wikipedia.org describes it as “a contest between organisms, animals, individuals, groups, etc., for territory, a niche, or a location of resources, for resources and goods, mates, for prestige, recognition, awards, or group or social status, for leadership. Competition is the opposite of cooperation.” And competition can either be to the benefit or detriment to those who are affected. In the context of The Joker, he saw the competition as his “raison d’être” (reason to live) and in doing so, added a benefit to the consumer by offering more product at competitive prices.
This very topic was discussed yesterday afternoon in the Business Lounge at the Maison & Objet trade fair by members of the SBID (Society of British and International Design) led by Vanessa Brady, President, along with Ross Hamilton Englisbe (Hamilton Conte Paris), Nuno de Sa (Munna Urbanmint) and Tom Marquardt (Marquardt Plus). Vanessa opened the discussion with a question about whether ‘cross-industry branding’ was a threat (competition) or benefit (cooperation) to designers. To put this into layman terms we can all understand (including me who didn’t get it at first), think of how designer Ralph Lauren’s Polo shirt started such a fashion/lifestyle trend that his brand morphed into Ralph Lauren Home and how Bentley Motors is now doing interiors with Bentley style.
If you have ever visited the Maison & Objet, then you know of what I speak!…Its miles of aisles of product in direct competition with one another is what makes the home world go ’round at the M&O. It is a mind-boggling sensory overload experience, as one peruses all there is on display by some of the largest and smallest manufacturers of home and house wares in the world. I try to go every show (twice-annually, January and September), usually tagging along with Interior Designer Martine di Mattéo, the ‘queen’ of interiors who works with so many of the manufacturers to furnish and decorate our clients’ beautiful Paris apartments.
Each show offers the latest in design and the trends become apparent as the years pass. This year, there was even more use of natural materials in contemporary style, rather than synthetics and plastics — making use of natural vegetable and animal fibers, marrying them with artistic flair. At the same time, manufacturers who in the past presented classic French provincial, château country or ‘shabby chic,’ were showing off gaudier styles that appeal to their new customers — the Russians and Middle Easterners who are moving into France with a gusto!
Either way, it’s all ‘eye-candy,’ with elaborate showrooms that cost the manufacturers a ‘pretty centime’ to construct and present. Even if you are not a designer or buyer, but just an interested bystander such as myself, you will become addicted to the high level of creativity and inherent competition the show offers up on a pedestal.
Let’s call it “The Queen of Paris Inspirational Trade Shows?”
A la prochaine,
(Photo by John Pearce, Part-Time Parisian)
P.S.Many thanks to all of you for your concern and to those of you who wrote in or commented on the attempted suicide we experienced here two weeks ago. The person we assisted is now home and well and while she missed having the right kind of great time in Paris, we do hope she will return and rediscover the city, not from the inside of the apartment or a room at a hospital, and that all in all, she saw that she was not ‘a stranger in a foreign land.’
P.P.S. Join us tomorrow, September 9 for Parler Paris Après-Midi when our guest speaker is Shari Leslie Segall, author of “90+ Ways You Know You’re Becoming French.” This will be an interactive, fun session, where participants share their own insights and experiences as to how “French” they have become! Meet interesting people, make new friends and it’s free — costs only what you drink! For details and directions visit Parler Paris Après-Midi. I look forward to seeing you there.