Postcards from Paris: {La Chambre des Dames}

When I am not out and about collecting stories and stamps for Postcards from Paris I get to spend my Tuesdays and Thursdays in Belleville on the rue des envierges, where I pass the mornings and afternoons with Stéphanie Coudert and her assistant Zoé.
Once described as La Chambre des Dames, the name has defined Stéphanie’s atelier as a place where her girls come in to cut, sew, or draw croquis alongside her. It’s a nice set-up at l’atelier de la chamber des dames and there is always an energy of collaboration and open-mindedness. Stéphanie balances her brand between two labels, Stéphanie Coudert and Maison Coudert. Her cuts are unique, and seams are placed in unexpectant, clever spots. Her aesthetic is edgy with a strong sense of feminity.  She often lends her designs to costumes, and has collaborated on several theatrical performances by writer Joel Jouanneau, creating whimsical pieces for the performers.

On one special occasion, I came in one morning to discover that she was working away on an outfit for a trapeze artist who belonged to a small circus company from Bretagne. We were to cut and sew a costume out of Colombian burlap sacks to drape over her as she performed a trapeze-act to Billie Holiday’s Strange Fruit. As bits of burlap filled our noses and eyes, I felt invigorated by the idea that the work I was a small part of would be enlivened by a circus. We quickly finished before the little bus of performers arrived at the atelier, closed up shop, and had a small spectacle performed right there amongst the cutting table and sewing machines.

As charming and quaint as it seems within the workspace, the surrounding atmosphere is a pleasant correspondence to the atelier. There are several artists residing on the rue des envierges, and often drop by for a quick, “coucou” sometimes even to share lunch together. Only a two-minute walk away there is a humble, yet beautiful view overlooking all of Paris, and just below is the Parc du Belleville. Here gardeners are constantly changing the color schemes of the flowers and often school children run through with papers and pencils trying to identify the varying types of vegetation.
Check out her website for a look at more of her designs.


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