Mantero is one of Italy’s most prestigious sllk houses and source of luxury fabrics for Europe’s top couture brands for over a century. Anne spent many wonderful days at the Mantero offices on the shores of Lake Como.
All Mantero fabrics for couture houses were exclusive and burned at the end of the season. Yes, dear readers. According to France Today, tens of thousands of meters of exquisite silk went up in flames every year.
No more. The philanthropic brains behind Paris’s philanthropic store Merci have persuaded the Mantero team to create ‘La Soie Sauvée des Flammes’ as another of their designer-off price collections that support women and children in Madagascar.
The philanthropic concept store Merci was launched by Bernard and Marie-France Cohen, who founded the luxury children’s stop Bonpoint. After paying the operating expenses all the profits from the Merci operation support philanthropic initiatives in Madagascar.
Merci gives back to the people of Madagascar, the same people who helped build Bonpoint, as the line was produced there for over 30 years. And since Bonpoint is all about children, Cohen knew that Merci would work to help the children of Madagascar. Her foundation gives seamstresses the knowhow, the material, and the machines that will in turn give them, the hope is, the abilities to reach self-sufficiency. “Children go with women,” she says. “If you want to help children, then you do something for the mothers.” via Full Frontal Fashion
In another initiative, the Merci project provides support and services to assist visually-impaired people in Madagascar.
Luxury brands like Yves Saint Lauren, Stella McCartney, Alexis Mabille, Azzaro and Marini manufacture pieces specifically for Merci at substantial discounts. There is even a perfume bar by Annick Goutal, Marie-France’s late sister, that sells scents through Merci in label-free bottles.
Located close to the heart of the Marais, at 111 Boulevard Beaumarchais in the 11th arrondissement, Merci looks almost nondescript from the street. Inside is a treasure trove, spread over 16,000 square feet and three stories.
The shop’s vintage clothing section is filled with handpicked designer fare, including Burberry coats, Dior jackets, Thierry Mugler strong-shouldered blazers and Chanel quilted bags. Behind the vintage space is an open room filled with the Merci ready-to-wear lines for men and women and changing rooms crafted from shipping crates.
Yes, more international stores are on the Merci agenda and concepts like the one Merci executed with Liberty of London last spring. Merci set up a outpost shop at Liberty in London, while turning over space in Merci, Paris to Liberty.
Additional photo credits images as requested (but they didn’t come from Flickr as suggested, nor did they come from this website) M. Cozanet Un he ne sais quoi Deco 1,2,3,5,6,8 & 9