As readers may know, for the past month or so I’ve been producing “Destination” pillows that use design, color, and texture to weave playful commentary on world-famous cities, with messages for our time. The first was “Seattle’s Gilded Age,” which casts a wry gaze on this wealthy utopia.
I am delighted to announce that the second, “Paris in Revolt / Paris révolutionnaire,” is now available and is coming soon to Paris!
But first of all, credit goes where it is due: to the terrific article by Vanessa Friedman which inspired this creation! As Friedman wrote, “Someday the ‘gilet jaune,’ the fluorescent yellow hazard vest that has become synonymous with the French outcry over fuel prices, growing income inequities and much more, will end up in a museum as one of the most effective protest garments in history.”*
Inspired by recent events, this pillow features a thin gold-framed sunset skyline, stitched onto worn jeans fabric. The slim gold boundary between the famous Paris skyline–from the Eiffel Tower to the Arc de Triomphe–and the rough fabric is meant to remind us of the powerful sans-culottes of the Revolution, who effectively pushed French politics in a more populist direction. Pillow backs are made of neon yellow utility fabric with white cotton stripes, evoking the Gilets jaunes or Yellow Vest protesters of today. Adorned with an optional “Honey Girl” hankie made of unbleached muslin bordered in pink, each has a cellphone pocket on the back. That is where you’ll find the portrait of a French queen looking out from history. These details evoke the ambivalence about wealth and luxury that characterizes French identity (since the time of Louis XIV, at least): manifest today in the wealthy neighborhoods chosen for the Yellow Vests’ vandalism. In a hopeful note, there is a tricolor French flag patch–symbol of the republic’s unity–stitched firmly onto the back pocket too.
The message? “Des sans-culottes aux gilets jaunes, Paris tente la révolution.”
There is a play on words in French, since tenter means both “to tempt” and “to attempt.” Anglophones, interpret that as you like; it could mean “From the protesters of 1789 to those of 2018-19, Paris tempts or Paris attempts revolution,” putting an intriguing spin on the will of the people…
SPECIAL offer to our Paris clients! A small batch of the Paris pillows (with various queens) and the HG handkerchief will be available to buyers in Paris with free delivery during the week of January 15-22, 2019. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve yours now and set up delivery for next week!
$59.99 / 53 euros: Paris pillow (14″ x 14″ x 4″ / 35cm x 35cm x 10cm)
$19.99 / 17.50 euros: Honey Girl handkerchief (14″ x 14″ / 35cm x 35cm), in premium unbleached muslin with the adorable Honey Girl logo, bordered in pink cotton trim)
Paris package deal (good until until Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14, 2019):
$64.99 / 57 euros for Paris pillow and HG hankie
(While the hankie is sized for a man, it also makes a perfect table cloth for a dolls’ tea party!) Aren’t the queens beautiful? I love each one. A floral design is available too.
* See Vanessa Friedman, “The Power of the Yellow Vest,” New York Times (Dec. 6, 2018): D8. I have reproduced the photo that accompanied this article in the NYT also, labeled, “Yellow vests protest against fuel prices in Bordeaux, France. CreditCaroline Blumberg/EPA, via Shutterstock,” with thanks.