Paris is often lauded as a great place for shopping - it's one of the fashion capitals of the world, after all. Indeed, it's the birth place of many of the most illustrious fashion houses of history, and alongside their flagships, many of the world's most respected brands have outposts here, too. But rather than shopping in an identikit boutique that has the same stock in Paris, London, New York and Tokyo, why not seek out the under the radar labels in their home town? Isn't it isn't it much more fun - and exclusive - to discover a label that you can't get everywhere else?
Avril Gau is one such address in Paris. Having worked for Chanel, Robert Clergerie and Loewe, shoe and accessory designer Avril Gau went on to set up her own eponymous brand in 2002. At the end of 2010, she opened her first boutique in Paris' chic St Germain - a charming and cosy two-floor shop stocking her collection of bags, shoes and wallets alongside jewellery by Alex Monroe and cologne by Acqua di Genova. The collections feature butter-soft leathers in mostly sober colours - black, burgundy, bark-brown, moss-green, navy-blue - with a quintessentially Parisian attention to detail - a leather bow here, a gold fastening there. What's more, unlike many of her luxury fashion brand contemporaries, Gau has the bags made in France and the shoes made in Italy or Portugal: there's no Made in China here. Prices are very reasonable, especially considering the high quality materials, design and craftsmanship, with shoes starting at around €200, bags at €190 and wallets at €45 - you're essentially getting high end products at high street prices. And with the January sales around the corner, there will be even bigger bargains to be had...
Boutique Avril Gau
17 rue des Quatre Vents
Tel: 01 43 29 49 04
Open 1pm - 7.30pm Mon, 11am - 7.30pm Tues - Sat
All photos copyright Kim Laidlaw 2012