A few weeks ago I made this small day trip to Paris – some might’ve heard the racket outside your window, that was me twittering on my way to the airport in the morning, so early you’d have mistaken it for a night alley cat giggling. Vente Privee so kindly invited me for a tour of their headquarters in Paris, with the whole trip packaged like a secret mission which I was to fulfil as an agent. The small box I received at the briefing contained a miniature plane, so to the airport it was. Vente Privee, a brand probably most familiar to my French readers, is apparently the pioneer and leader of online sales events, first before everyone decided to open member-exclusive sales for discounted luxury brands for a limited time. Well, here’s a few snaps from my visit! (Feel free to skip this post if you’re not much for a scrolling marathon – again, here’s an exit link)

Atmosphere

Huge, correction: humongous HQ building with major contemporary art pieces (including the King Kong sculpture by David Mach and portraits of the Queen & Kate Moss [not of together, duh]) hogging every corner. Not uploading any for the sake of not getting sued over copyright blablas. Legals terms I know not. In the hallways there were hangers and hangers of product to be photographed, yet these weren’t just clothes – BBQ machines, school stationery and even Jacuzzi’s… apparently they even sold cars and apartments in the past. I’d like to say that to someone someday: I bought this flat at an online sale.

Sound Studios

Talk about DIY – Vente-Privee do all sound, motion, concept design for the products that go on sale in the site. Each sale is individually photographed – editorial and product pics; a 3 minute-long trailer is also made in-house to suit the sale. All sounds are created in the 6 studios managed by Jean-Reol Bonnerave.

Motion Design Team

3D, animation, cartoon, film editing, CG… everything motion, treated in the Motion Design studios. (Above: Marielle Devoyon, manager)

The Photoshoot Village

My favourite part, naturally. The photo department was in a whole other building – housing nearly 40 photo studios and one very sexy room full of big cameras and studio equipments – all the photoshoots for the products happen here. Everything that goes on the website is shot and edited in the premises, which I found was very clever as it does keep a solid consistency in quality. (Above: Keelin Tassy, manager)

Webdesign Team

The most familiar setting for me, the WebDesign studios. They deal with the aesthetics of the site, including the site’s ‘door’ theme that changes every month. Right now I believe they have polarbears in Central Park NY…? Always lighthearted and featuring an animal of some sort! (Above: Emilie Veillon, manager)

Jacket – Courtesy of H! by Henry Holland, Sweater – Topshop, Shirt as Dress – AA, Riding Pants – AA, Shoes – Zara, Bag, Belt - Jin Yoo 103684

Overall I must say I was immensely impressed by the work atmosphere and how so many talents are housed under one roof. It’s a bit like that one loft building in Shoreditch where all the artists, actors and designers supposedly live, flat next to another… a bit more purple lighting in this case. It really does make a huge difference seeing what happens behind the scenes in a company, makes you realize how much work is put in for the things we always take for granted.

Apologies for the long post – if you made it down here you deserve a pot roast, or a BIG TASTY carrot for the vegetarians. Thank you always for reading what I’m up to. xx

Thank you Vente Privee for having me over and Simona Saccà for taking me around the entire day!

H! by Henry Holland for Debenhams AW10 Preview

Half-arsed fashion blogger: Hi, I went to H! for Debenhams collection preview two weeks ago and met Henry Holland, it was like so nice! Look at my new shoes! Like, you can’t see them but they’re lovely! 

Food blogger: The canapés perfectly entertained my taste buds and the orange juice was most definitely high-end – ‘with pulp’. Very impressed it did not leave dregs at the bottom of the glass.

Celebrity blogger: Henry Holland oMG he was sipping Lemsip while infecting everyone in the room with his ‘fashion flu’, talk about an exclusive goodie-bag!

Tech blogger: There was a PC in the corner. Not. impressed.

Interior design blogger: Amy from Wolf Whistle blog was talking about seeing Henry’s mother’s house on ELLE. That was about the most interesting subject we discussed. Leaving the building, I had a strong urge to give Debenhams a bit of a store makeover. Naked Greek goddess statues in the foyer should bring good feng shui….

Fashion trend blogger: It’s Back to School ladies – Tartan skirts and khaki shorts with braces, jersey basics, varsity jackets, quirky knitwear… this season reflected Henry’s personal style. Best value for money was a purple faux fur coat that gave Chanel’s AW10 faux fur a run for their money, but a little hiccup was the camel coat, so perfect in theory, but felt like soggy cardboard.

Full-arsed fashion blogger (that is me): Thank you Laura for inviting me down, thank you Henry for being such a star popping in even with your cold. I’m going to be honest and say that only a few pieces in the collection tickle my fancy (velvet stripe dress/khaki shorts) but I’m more than certain it’s just something wrong with me having no <em>fun</em> bone while everyone else who can do the salsa will love the collection.

Top: Natalie from Canned Fashion & friend with cool hair whose name I forgot after ODing on cupcakes. Le sorz!
Left: Giraffe Print leggings

Ran off with: military/balmain-esque skinny jeans and maxi-length Tristan & Isolde + military dress

I’m with you when I say I won’t walk into Debenhams if not equipped with sunglasses and large hat, or an auntie. Exaggerating as always, but I believe needing that aunt character is not anything bad by all means – not every retail store needs to please youthsters and fashion skivvies. If there’s a good reason to go in, I’ll go in. If H Holland collaborated with Jane Norman then I probably won’t pretend I’m only desperately popping in to ask for directions to the nearest post office. The collaboration was the season’s trend pieces with Henry Holland quirk sprinkled over it, the random giraffe print on the leggings or pink checkered lining being prime examples. Maybe it’s good I waited (unintentially) 2 weeks since the visit because it seems that now some pieces are on sale! They’ve been so kind to offer bloggers to take home 2 pieces that day and the military-esque skinny jeans have since been my second skin. They’re happily tumbling at 30°c in the wash now.