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August 20, 2014

L’Avenue Shanghai: Désir

East Meets West in the First of the Boutique Mall’s Two-Part Love Story

In a double bill of films commissioned by L’Avenue Shanghai, director Nathalie Canguilhem circumnavigates Paris and the Chinese metropolitan hub for the kinetically charged romance, Désir. Model and actress Amber Anderson is cast alongside Beijing-born catwalk regular Hao Yun Xiang, and their dizzying tale of parallel lives is given the graphic treatment by Canguilhem, a fashion filmmaker, art director and stylist with commissions from Vogue, as well as a forthcoming project with Charlotte Gainsbourg and Anthony Vaccarello. “I had just seen Her by Spike Jonze and I liked the idea of a love story that was very moody and atmospheric. It’s more of a fantasy than something real,” says the image- maker, who juxtaposed architectural landmarks including Shanghai’s Bund Bridge and French Concession with Paris’ Grand Palais and Beaugrenelle. The collision of sensibilities falls in line with L’Avenue Shanghai’s impressive brand portfolio—bringing the French capital to Asia, with Canguilhem styling the protagonists in pieces from Dior, Louis Vuitton and Prada. “I wanted to blend functionality with geometric patterns for an urban effect.”

What’s the most memorable thing someone has ever done for you in the name of romance?
Amber Anderson:
My laundry!

What are some of the best spots you've discovered in Paris?
Hotel Amour is a great place to stay and the restaurant downstairs has unforgettable macaroni cheese...

What essentials do you pack in your bag each before heading off on a long-haul flight?
A Sisley facemask and my favorite Zoe Karssen cashmere leggings—an indulgence but great for getting cozy.

What do you consider to be the perfect trait in a man?
His sense of humor.

What is your ultimate day off in Shanghai?
Wandering round the old town and taking a trip up the Oriental Pearl.

On a scale of one to 10, how romantic are you?
I'm pretty cringe when I want to be! I'd say around an 8 and a half...

Three things you can't resist:
A bubble bath, good wine and pasta.

L'Avenue Shanghai's double bill concludes next Wednesday with Rencontre. 

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Grande Mesure

Berluti’s Animated Ode to Slapstick King Jacques Tati

French filmmaking duo Agnès Doolaeghe and Franck Mallez recreate Paris’ Rue de Sèvres in an homage to the late director and comic actor Jacques Tati. In today’s spirited animation for Berluti, the film presents Paris’ 6th arrondissement and the bohemian south side of the Seine, historically a haunt for artists and intellectuals. “We aimed at having a style that would be as simple and pure as possible,” says Mallez of the playful reinterpretation, told through Tati’s humorous outlook on masculine elegance that mirrors Berluti’s savoir faire: “Silhouettes, Paris and grande mesure.” The Parisian luxury menswear brand is breathing new life into Tati’s universe: To mark the opening of its boutique store, the shop’s awnings bear the work of illustrator Sempé, collaborator on Tati’s original animated films; Berluti is also helping in the restoration of the star’s acting debut, Soigne ton Gauche. “What characterized his work is the attention to detail in each frame, costume and color,” says Mallez. “He had a sense of humor and tenderness. Everything was done with a craftsman’s approach.”

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Rad Hourani: Unisex

The Designer Distils His Androgynous Ethos with Choreographer Édouard Lock

Ballet dancer Zofia Tujaka transforms from ingénue to hard-edged vamp in Unisex, a neo-noir short directed by Rad Hourani. Shot in Montreal’s Phi Centre, the atmospheric performance sees Tujaka gesticulate to a haunting score by New York composer Nico Muhly. “Before I started designing my collections I bought a video and a photo camera,” explains the Jordan-born designer, who has cultivated a following with his all-black, cerebral collections from his Paris studio. “For me, movement is as important as design; as much as literature, as much as food.” Enlisting David Bowie and Frank Zappa collaborator Édouard Lock for the original choreography, the piece comes as part of Hourani’s multi-channel exhibition, Seamless, featuring five-years of graphic design work, photography and bespoke looks from his unisex haute couture collection. “For me, Édouard’s work represents the masculine and the feminine, the fast and the slow, the hard and the soft—all the contradictions.”

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