The weather has been SO BEAUTIFUL of late that I feel I must take a quick minute to note that there are still six days of Summer left! And this seems like a good moment to highlight a company that (unintentionally) celebrates Summer all year round, Les Toiles du Soleil. Les Toiles was founded more than 150 years ago in Saint Laurent de Cerdans, a small town in the far south of Mediterranean France near the Spanish border. This part of France is now known as the Languedoc-Roussillon, but it is sometimes referred to as "Northern Catalonia" as the Treaty of the Pyrenees, signed in 1659, granted France this part of Catalan territory on its side of the mountain range. Catalan is still spoken and understood here, and the city of Perpignan is the largest Catalan city after Barcelona.
The photos above were taken a few years ago in one of only two boutiques in the U.S., in New York City at 261 West 19th Street / (212) 229.4730 (the other store is in East Hampton at 78 Park Place / (631) 907.2872).
I first learned of Les Toiles in an issue of Martha Stewart Living some years ago, and since that time I stop in to the store a few times a year (Les Toiles also has an active online business). In addition to the bright and sunny bolts of 'Linge Catalan' available there are pillows, espadrilles, aprons, iPad covers, table linens, makeup bags, Ottomans, notebooks (I have a ton of these), and fantastic tote bags in two sizes. These bags are unique not only because of the sturdy fabrics and color combinations but because there is a thin piece of wood at the bottom of each bag which is brilliant - the bags hold their shape and items fit better inside because the bottom is flat.
The bags also have great Wanderlust names, like Rue du Bac Gris, Acapulco, Plein Soleil, Ceret Cerise, etc. I bought one because it was named Collioure Rouge, Collioure being one of my most favorite places on the planet (in case you don't know it, Collioure is a pretty coastal village in Languedoc-Roussillon known for its anchovies (Maison Roque has been dealing in anchovies since 1870) and for the artists who spent time here (notably Matisse, Andre Derain, and Raoul Dufy). So I was particularly happy to see that in the recent 25th anniversary edition of one of my favorite magazines, Maisons Coté Sud, the noted milestone for the year 2000 was this very same Collioure Rouge fabric from Les Toiles du Soleil. I've been toting around my bag all summer long and I will continue carrying it through Wednesday.....
Enjoy these final days of Summer!