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A tribute to the Parisian woman as an eternal icon of chic, the illustrations of Kiraz are sophisticated turns of humor and elegance.

Who are Les Parisiennes? Where do they go, how to do they wear it and what is their timeless secret? The works of iconic illustrator Kiraz, on display in Paris, inspire an investigation into Les Parisiennes.


Illustrated pretty
Parisian women are undeniably one of most irresistibly attractive urban myths in history. From May 14 to 21, they are being celebrated at the exquisite Musée Carnavalet by one of their most dedicated admirers. The exhibit is an opportunity (re)discover the emblematic work of illustrator Kiraz, whose career is dedicated to the über-elegant silhouettes and irresistible chic of the Parisiennes. Scrutinizing and drawing the feminine population of the French capital since 1959 from his left bank balcony on the Boulevard Raspail and cafés in the Vaugirard neighborhood, he has seen them evolve from the insolent Brigitte Bardot ideal, into a more grown-up, feminine, independent and multifaceted woman. Visionary publisher Prosper Assouline re-launched the career of the talented illustrator in 1994 when he dedicated a book to his unique "pencil stroke." In a no less forward-thinking manner, Carla Bruni was elected as the emblematic Parisian woman to write the preface – and this was more than a decade before her ascension to the title of France's first lady. The "free and timeless" Parisiennes, as Carla herself describes them, are undeniably one of the most coveted feminine urban tribes on earth.
A unique signature
Their unique and fascinating style is striking, with its indescribable "je ne sais quoi," the ungraspable something that girls around the world strive to imitate. With their sophisticated manners, they have the undeniable ability to mix modernity with classicism, to give fashion essentials that unique twist. If their signature uniform consists of tight jeans – a fact corroborated by Kiraz – and ballet flats, they don't hesitate to mix Chanel's legendary 2.55 bag with a colorful scarf, brightly hued nail polish or multi-colored bangles, and they can get away gracefully with microscopic minis and bold stilettos. But their long-lived reputation isn't solely due to their stunning appearance. A true Parisienne knows what to say, when to say it, and definitely knows where to go. Her icons range from Simone de Beauvoir to Brigitte Bardot and today, Charlotte Gainsbourg. She's free, brave and full of life, she's in the know, under the radar, and always on the move. Most of all, the modern Parisienne has achieved the prowess of being everything wrapped up into one: sparkling, bright, ambitious, pretty, dreamy, motherly, sporty, ultra-fashionable, and confident...

Where to get a glimpse of their elongated silhouettes?
Without Paris, the Parisiennes could not be. They blend so well into their mythical urban landscape, so much so that they could almost be considered as Parisian monuments in their own right. Here is a selection of hotspots their temperamental and sharp taste has elected.

CARLA BRUNI'S PREFACE

In my childhood memories, there are perky (opinionated) young women with infinitely long legs and a mischievous look. Flipping through the pages of "Jours de France" I used to feed myself with their humor and allure and I used to dream of looking liking them.

Independent, frivolous, untruthful yet traditional, naives yet intelligent, manipulative yet spontaneous, they were the Parisian girls.

Later, becoming a model, I realized that those young women had a sharp sense of fashion: from flared jeans to mini skirts, from stilettos to platform sandals, from bohemian-chic to sporty elegant, the Parisian girls carry within themselves the combination of chic and natural that made the elegance of the French Woman legendary.
But time goes by and Parisian girls get married. I was afraid I'd loose them forever, the same way we loose teenage friendships as we grow older. I was afraid they'd become bourgeoise, they'd trade their shorts for grey suits, that they'd forget their lovers. But as I flipped through the pages, I saw them all together, as beautiful and fresh as ever, not having taken a wrinkle or a pound, and I realized that, even married, they'll always remain unchanged.

No slippers, no curlers, no tv evening, no cream on the face, no frozen dinners, no routine for them.
The Parisiennes are the Parisiennes, light and timeless, and I wish their future husbands all the best.

Carla Bruni

Les Parisiennes de Kiraz
May 14 to September 21 2008
Musée Carnavalet / 23, rue de Sévigné - 75003 Paris
T. +33 1 44 59 58 58

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