Fiesty and energetic Laurie Pike of The Paris Blog has done what thousands dream of doing: she quit her journalism career after 25 years to follow her passion in making handmade accessories. With a background in fashion and a pied-à -terre in Montmartre, she travels to Paris to scour the flea markets, pick up vintage pieces and integrate them into her beautiful, wearable collages. Her new line, Hexagon Accessories, cleverly named for the hexagonal shape of France, is a vintage mashup perfect for any Francophile.
Pike’s refined eye and a foot in both America and France gives her a keen edge on choosing just the right combination of modern and vintage, funky and chic. She combines old brooches and pendants and teeny Chanel perfume bottles with ultra-sleek, feminine purses or bold chain necklaces.
“It was a fairly sudden decision (to quit journalism) and go into the making of physical goods,” says Pike. “But at the same time it was the inevitable culmination of loving fashion yet hating hyper-consumerism; loving vintage yet wanting to say something new with design, and loving France but wanting to represent that stylistically with something more original than an Hermes bag or Chanel earrings.” Since all of the materials are repurposed from existing pieces, you can rest assured you’re helping the earth too with Pike’s green endeavor. I’m crazy about this hoop-embellished cameo necklace, which modernizes the classic cameo style and gives it a bit more power. It would go great with a low-cut dress, don’t you think?
“The Paris flea markets and vide-greniers are treasure troves for items that hare hard or impossible to find in the US. For instance, Bakelite belt buckles from the 1940s that clip closed, silver name bracelets engraved with Jean Paul or Pierre, and all manner of dainty smoking accessories that translate will into bags and jewelry,” Pike says. “The flea markets are such fun places to meet people and I always wind up in conversations about the provenance of the items. And often the French do not value certain things (like, say, enamel pins or felt military badges) as much as Americans might. This allows me to keep prices low for all the stylish cheapskates out there–like me!”
Personally I have fallen in love with this vintage purse embellished with the silhouette of France – complete with a bright red jewel where Paris resides. What a perfect complement to a simple black dress (or red! Definitely red) for an elegant night on the town.
When I visited Pike’s apartment to check out her wares, I was delighted not only with the pieces, but the enthusiasm she showed for simply creating. She’d recently taken some jewelry crafting classes at La Petite Manufacture (which now sells products from the Hexagon line) and after a few sessions, she began simply coming in to watch the masters at work. What wonderful curiosity she has just to learn! She insisted on fixing my own broken purse and pulled out her tackle box full of bits and bobs she’d collected from the flea markets to find a perfect zipper clasp, talking excitedly about all the ideas she had for future pieces. I can’t wait to see what she makes next, because a woman who so strongly follows her passion is unstoppable.
Visit the Hexagon online store and go nuts. Happy shopping!
Get in touch with the author @parischeapskate.