Staff Picks: All Our Favorite Objets Français (That’s French for French Stuff)
Welcome to InsideHook’s Staff Picks, a compendium of all the things our editors have been digging on recently. In honor of Bastille Day (July 14th) or as the French call it “la Fête nationale,” we’re highlighting our favorite French item.
People hacked away at pencils with knives for centuries until a French mathematician named Bernard Lassimonne introduced the first (patented) pencil sharpener, in 1828. His model was improved upon not long after by fellow Frenchman, Thierry des Estivaux, who introduced the filed conical design. Unsurprisingly, it didn’t look too different than the model mounted over the garbage can in your second grade classroom. As someone who likes to fire up a Ticonderoga #2 once in a while, but can’t rely on the adult world to have even an electric pencil sharpener available, I keep handy this portable wing nut sharpener from Gessato. — Tanner Garrity, Associate Editor
While this hails from a Cognac established in 1270 (hence the name) and this new release is certainly great on its own — it won the double gold at the San Francisco Spirit Awards — Frapin 1270 was actually designed for cocktails. And it’s endorsed by mixologist extraordinaire Pamela Wiznitzer, who’s never made us a bad drink and swears that Cognac is her favorite cocktail ingredient. — Kirk Miller, Nation Editor/Managing Editor
My favorite French connection in my apartment is my stack of Be Street magazines, but it seems they’re no longer publishing (pour some Bordeaux out). My second favorite item is the douk-douk knife. We’ve narrated the history before — the short version being they’ve been handmade by the Cognet family of Thiers since 1929 — but all you really need to know is, even though you can buy them on Amazon now, this is one peasant’s knife still made the old fashioned way (and finished razor sharp). But there are some new styles, too, some of which Huckberry stocks. — Alex Lauer, Senior Editor
Google “cartoon of a French person” and you get three constants: berets, baguettes and this, the Breton stripe shirt. Decreed the official shirt of the French Navy under Napoleonic rule back in 1858, the blue-and-white striped crewnecks have survived the test of time due in no small part to Armor-Lux, who have been making them in Brittany since 1938. They offer about 100 different configurations, with the width of stripe, shade of blue and sleeve length all fluctuating. I am partial to this predominately navy number — pairs great with white pants or light khakis for a casual summer getup. — Walker Loetscher, Editor in Chief
You’re probably trying to cobble together a little playlist for your Bastille Day party to go along with the bottles of Lillet and the berets you stitched your friends names into. You’ve got your Air, your Françoise Hardy and the best, totally pervy Serge Gainsbourg songs. That’s a nice start, but I’d honestly just invest in a few Jacques Dutronc albums to play. Start with Et Moi Et Moi Et Moi, and go from there. Save the Serge for when everybody is good and tipsy. — Jason Diamond, Features Editor
Well before Kar-Jenner black sheep Rob Kardashian tried and failed to make a name for himself in the sock industry, Paris-born designer Laurie Mallet had already brought the overlooked undergarment into the fashion world with Ozone socks. Even if you don’t know the brand by name, I guarantee you’ve spotted (or maybe even sported) a pair of Ozone’s signature novelty socks out in the wild. Just yesterday on my way to work I caught a glimpse of a man’s ankle looking very commute-ready in the brand’s classic MTA Subway socks. While the metro socks are one of the brand’s more iconic lines, I went with a timely selection from Ozone’s Frank Lloyd Wright line in honor of the architect’s recent UNESCO honors. (Disclaimer, these particular socks were technically made in Colombia, but the company has headquarters in Paris is the brainchild of a Parisian designer, so it’s all French to me.) While the brand is best known for their novelty lines of socks designed to add a little whimsy to your wardrobe, they also make plenty of basics in various cuts and styles, if you’re boring like that. — Kayla Kibbe, Editorial Assistant
This might be the chicest tube of toothpaste to grace the inside of your bathroom cabinet. From French apothecary brand Buly 1803 (full name L’Officine Universelle Buly), this toothpaste is enhanced with thermal water from Castéra-Verduzan, France, and designed to soothe your throat and mouth aches, as well as keep your teeth and gums healthy. It combines the cleansing properties of Calcium and Magnesium with Mint, Coriander, Apple and Cucumber extracts, that makes it taste like something you want to put in your mouth. The brand, inspired by the Rue Bonaparte, specializes in other refined, artisanal beauty products like balms, creams, and scented candles. And it isn’t hard to fall in love with the entire store, and start seeing La Vie En Rose. — Logan Mahan, Editorial Intern
Riviera Tour De Monde
While ’tis true that “Rivs” (as they are commonly referred to by Leisure Lords the world over) are actually made in Spain, the company itself is based in Paris and anyone who’s been to the Côte d’Azur will tell ya that owning a pair is pretty much a prerequisite. But one need not be strolling the Boulevard de la Croisette to enjoy their breezy woven comfort — any warm weather destination will do, and you’ll look a stylin’ contrast to the flip-flopped masses for the entirety of your time there. Accompanying French 75 not required, but recommended. — Danny Agnew, Creative Director
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