Sunday, 12 September 2010

Brazilian fashion gem hidden in Paris' Marais

Amid the maze of interlocking streets that is Paris’ Marais district, a huge Brazilian flag flutters in the wind, alerting passers-by to a store that is different to the mix of designer and vintage shops in the area; Sable Chaud (Hot Sand) is a boutique dedicated solely to Brazilian clothing and shoes.

In what was generally a disappointing trip to Paris last week, Sable Chaud was like a hidden gem, offering something different in a shopping district that was, surprisingly, lacklustre.
My experience at the shop was probably heightened by its owner Hugues Renoux, who seems drunk on all things Brazilian. He loves the country and immerses himself in it, especially where fashion is concerned. He sells all coveted Brazilian brands like Alexandre Herchcovitch and Ronaldo Fraga, and is well connected with institutions like Casa de Criadores, which promotes up-and-coming design talent. Sable Chaud is, he says, one of the few stockists in Paris of Cavage shoes, which have been profiled in the French women’s press.
“I don’t want to portray Brazil in the stereotypical way – caipirinhas, football, beaches – I want to give my customers a genuine experience,” he says. “I think Brazilian footwear brands, in particular, have a huge potential to do well in Europe because the country already has the expertise – so many shoes here are already made in Brazil.”
Renoux admits that the French consumer needs to be educated when it comes to Brazilian style, believing it is predominantly “skimpy”. So, Renoux organises events and parties, either in the store or in nearby bars.
I’d recommend a visit to the shop next time you’re in Paris (11, rue des Ecouffes) and the dress by Redley (pictured).

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