From silk scarves and paper vases to porcelain dishes and fairy lights, Tsé & Tsé Associates creates unique pleasures and treasures. The company is the baby of Catherine Lévy and Sigolène Prébois, two spirited talents who met as students. At l’Ecole nationale supérieure de création industrielle, they designed a collection of rubber jewelry together and realized they complemented one another. After graduation they cofounded Tsé & Tsé, then produced a show that stunned the Parisian style pundits.
Their work was championed by the chic store Sentou, who presented Tsé & Tsé’s debut collection. Most of these initial pieces have now become icons. One of them is the April Vase (21 glass lab vials linked in a zigzagging metal frame). Another is the poetic Cubist Garland of hanging lights. Both have been copied around the world for years now, while remaining best sellers for Tsé & Tsé.
Initially, this pair of Parisiennes even handled all Tsé & Tsé’s fabrication. Neither wanted to give up any of her independence, even when their hit designs brought in a flood of orders. Today, they still create every item together. Continually inspired by flea markets and foreign finds (both women are tireless travelers), Tsé & Tsé’s blend of humor with poetry makes it a Paris cult.
Catherine and Sigolène say they create on impulse, simply aiming to make “the things we want ourselves.” Yet Tsé & Tsé has established several design “families.” One of them is vases, which the women make in everything from glass and porcelain to paper. Another is lighting, in which their creations range from Night Igloo candle covers to their irresistible “garlands.”
Last spring, after many years, Tsé & Tsé opened a real boutique. Before that, their fans had to visit Paris stockists or order online from the company. This new store is located in rue Saint-Roch, on the path between Colette and the Tuileries. It’s as charming and informal as their busy atelier and popping in feels like making a funky new friend. The ambience is a mix of the homey and the delicate, enhanced by warm lighting and buckets of flowers.
Whether you take away a bar of soap or a vinyl couch, Tsé & Tsé has treats of Parisian style for any pocketbook. Like everyone else, I lust after their lighting—especially love their conical appliqués or sconces. However, since you probably need to be ultraportable, here are my top Tsé & Tsé takeaways:
1. For any man in your life, get the Faithful Penknife. Stenciled with both words in French (i.e., Canif Fidèle) it’s perfect for anything from sharpening pencils to carving apples. €29
2. The square silk scarf that features Tsé & Tsé’s inventory is more amusing than anything at Hermès! €34
3. I had to have one of the pleated paper shapes (Plissés Polymorphes) that open out to make lovely vases or lampshades. €7 each
4. My choice of handiest small item: the “secret pillbox” in metal. €13
5. You can go for total glamour with the “silver umbrella,” a shimmering, waterproof version of a traditional Japanese shade. It’s photogenic and perfect for that walk in the Tuileries. €35
When you visit Colette and Tsé & Tsé, don’t overlook the “artist’s church,” l’Eglise de Saint-Roch on rue Saint-Honoré. A monument of baroque charisma, it has chapels to different saints. (Light a candle for the patron of journalism!) The funerals of famous artists are often held here; one was that of Yves Saint-Laurent. Last Christmas, the altar’s decor was mind-boggling . . . a cascade of gold lamé littered with stars.
Editor’s note: Have you checked out our newest iPhone apps, the celebrity walking tours of Paris with Jackie O. and Audrey Hepburn? These iconic ladies will show your their version of Paris.