Feb 04, 2012 12:00AM

Interview: Parisian Street Society

If you dream about the perfect vintage Chanel bag, read on...

Would a perfect day for you involve trawling through the markets and antique shops of Paris? Have you ever had heart palpitations and gone into mild shock upon finding that perfect vintage Chanel handbag or YSL belt from the eighties? Parisian Street Society is a boutique that opened in Melbourne last year – the goods are also available for purchase online – stocking vintage designer jewellery and accessories. The owner Shannyn Alexene has sourced all the items from Paris, amassing an envious collection of Chanel, YSL, Christian Lacroix, Lanvin, Sonia Rykiel, Balenciaga, Balmain, Hermes and Givenchy from the sixties, seventies and eighties. We sat down with her to discuss Parisian style and what makes a good handbag.

Sophie Bosch: For you, which Parisian designer or brand defines Parisian style the most?
Shannyn Alexene: It's hard to choose between Chanel and Hermes so I would have to say both. Both houses are very classic and understated, which definitely epitomises the chic Parisian woman in every way. On my latest trip to Paris, nearly every girl walking the streets was wearing either a new or vintage Chanel handbag – so typically Parisian.

Do you have an extensive collection of accessories at home or do you try and keep your own wardrobe quite concise?
I wouldn't say I have an extensive collection of my own accessories at home, even though a lot of the pieces in the boutique I would love to keep for myself, but I do have a great collection of cuffs and all leather bracelets by different designers which I'm obsessed with.

Is there one piece in your collection that to you was like finding the 'Holy Grail' of accessories?
It's a piece I have in the boutique; an Isabel Canovas bracelet which depicts two beautifully sculpted mask faces. This French designer is very rare and so hard to find! Unfortunately this piece is too big for me.

What is your favourite or most unusual piece of jewellery that you've ever owned?
My favourite piece is actually quite a new purchase. A Hanna Bernhard snake-encrusted bracelet. It's a work of art. She is a contemporary French designer and her pieces are just amazing. We stock her exclusively in Australia. Emmanuelle Alt seems to be a big fan and so is Iris Apfel.

What makes a good handbag?
A good handbag has to be functional, for me it has to fit everything in it comfortably. I carry my life around in my handbag so to me that's important. It has to be made of a beautiful soft leather and a design that is classic, nothing too trendy that is only fashionable for a short time; a good handbag should last season after season, year after year. I love Jerome Dreyfuss handbags at the moment.

If you could go back to any decade in Paris which decade would it be?
The sixties for clothing. The classic structured pieces, the YSL see-through blouses with Le Smoking tuxedo jacket. Really elegant and simple. But as far as accessories definitely the eighties with a boom of amazing crazy runway pieces.

What is the one classic accessory that every woman should have?
The classic 2.55 Chanel handbag, jumbo size.

What originally attracted you to vintage?
I have always been interested in vintage and antiques ever since I was young, from furniture to jewellery, I was brought up with it. I enjoy trawling markets and such places, it's exciting searching for pieces. I love vintage jewellery and accessories because they are pieces that you are not going to find everywhere; no one is going to have the same piece as you. And I love the fact that there is a history and story behind each vintage piece.

Parisian Street Society is located at Shop 7, South Yarra Arcade, 101-105 Toorak Road, Melbourne.

Introduction: Alanna Bromley
Interview: Sophie Bosch

www.parisianstreetsociety.com.au

Alanna Bromley

Latest


Watch: The Entrance Band 'No Needs'

Co-directed by Paz Lenchantin.


Tavi Gevinson's Toilet Advice

For when you have no square to spare.


See Rihanna's Christmas Free Crap

Instagrams designer presents from Opening Ceremony, Prada, Stella McCartney and more.


Selfies At Funerals: Barack Obama Edition

Michelle is not impressed.


Internet Explodes With Racist Lorde Haters

"Her boyfriend looks like one of those awkward Chinese people :'D"


Opening Ceremony Pre-Fall 2014

Utilitarian 60s pop.


Free The Nipple!

A new film takes aim at censorship laws.


Look At This Virtual 'Clueless' Closet

Trying on clothes the Cher way.


Watch: Say Lou Lou 'Better In The Dark'

Miranda and Elektra make boys cry.


Facebook Develops 'Sympathise' Button

Due to overwhelming amount of whingers.


Listen: Chance The Rapper x Justin Bieber 'Confident'

About a nice female companion from overseas.


Kanye West Kicks Out Heckler

"Do I look like a motherfucking comedian?"


Max Blagg: 3 Nights In December

See the poet's next three gigs in NYC.


Macaulay Culkin's The Pizza Underground

A pizza-themed Velvet Underground tribute band.


Fake Kanye West Interview Causes Twitter Rage

Didn't actually compare himself to Nelson Mandela.


Interview: Amanda Grace Leadman

Straight-talking with the Southern tattoo artist.


Interview: Tyondai Braxton's 'HIVE'

The former Battles frontman takes us through his upcoming Sydney Festival work.


Exclusive: Wrangler Festival Collection

Caravanning with Charlie Brophy, Chloe Worthington and Tyrone Susman.


Diesel x Terry Richardson x Playboy's NSFW 2014 Calendar

A NSFW calendar feat. Brooke Candy, Stella Maxwell, Karley Sciortino and more.


Contributor Classifieds: Gadir

Getting to know your Oyster friends.


Top 25: Xmas Treats

Via our OhLike shopping app.


Paris Hilton's Mandela Tweet

The (fake) saga.


NO CLASS Exhibition @ Art Basel

With Ben Rayner, Zara Mirkin, Petra Collins and more.


Oyster Playlist: Standish/Carlyon

'Sings and things that made 2013 a pleasure.'


James Franco's NSFW Semen Art

"50 Shades of Batman and Robin."


Watch: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds 'Higgs Boson Blues'

Robert Johnson, the devil and Hannah Montana.


Watch: Lana De Rey's Full 'Tropico' Film

Mildly NSFW, pretty and plotless.


Nelson Mandela Dies At 95

"Our nation has lost its greatest son."


Watch: Lauryn Hill 'Consumerism'

"Like water seeking its level."


Know Your Trends: 'Hate With Friends' – A Hateful New App

Mel Kenny on the formalising of h8ing.


Watch: Adidas x Stan Smith

With Sky Ferreira, Will Arnett, artist Hisham Akira Bahroocha and more.


'Lou Lou' Shot By Rene Vaile

With love from Lovisa.


Stolen Girlfriends Club Eyewear x Zara Mirkin

Feat. Petra Collins, Staz Lindes and more.