Happenstance is one of the joys of travel. Sunday in Paris for my niece and me was filled with it.
After a late breakfast, laundry and a visit with our writer friend, Paula Butturini, www.paulabutturini.com, we headed to Sacré Coeur. We walked up the steep hill of Montmartre and window-shopped. My niece is all about design — design of buildings, design of rooms, design of furniture and clothes.
“She'll need to do some shopping,” my sister warned me before I left Baltimore.
I, on the other hand, hate to shop. Going with my niece makes it better. Her interest in design and color and her slow perusal of clothes and objects are interesting to watch. First we stepped into the Orla Keily store, filled with Marimekko-esque designs.
After a slow browse through dresses, blouses, skirts, purses, wallets and two books of wallpaper, we climbed farther up the hill.
“This is why I'm glad we didn't take the funicular,” said my niece as she stood at a window filled with clothes for mothers and children.
I crossed the street and looked at a window filled with colorful small hats, fancifiers, neckties and a purse that looked as if it were made from a red straw hat.
“I wish it were open,” my niece said, joining me at the window.
Seconds later, a willowy blond in a long, sleek sundress came from behind and opened the door. Et voila! Lune was open. One-of-a-kind silky creations hung on racks and sat on small tables. There weren't too many, so each was clearly visible. One dress in electric citron with thread-like stripes jumped out at my niece. When I looked closely, I saw that the thin stripes were not black, but gold threads.
Small clutches in summer colors caught my eye. The sleek blond explained that they were made from neckties. That friendly remark jump-started a conversation, and we discovered that this young woman was the designer herself, Celine Jendly.
How amazing to find a designer so welcoming to an all-dressed-in black, frumpish American woman of a certain age, one who would normally not even have entered the stores of such a shop.
After a warm trudge to Sacré Coeur, we returned to Lune just as Celine was leaving the shop. When she saw us, she said she was just going across the street. Instead she reopened the store. My niece tried on the electric citron dress, and it fit perfectly. Celine added a long belt made of dotted neckties in the same color, accented with three black-and-white silk flowers. Et voila! The architecture student became a Paris model.
As we stepped outside for a photo of my niece and Celine, her husband and daughter walked down the street. He is an architect, almost too much happenstance to believe , even when in a shop whose card says, “Prêt-à-Rêver."
It means ready to dream.