Beija Gives You Wings

Saturday, September 18, 2010
By Summer Rahman
A little bird told me about this shop...

A little bird told me about this shop...

Legends say that hummingbirds float free of time, carrying with them our hopes for love, joy and celebration. Smitten by the delicate grace of this beautiful creature or beija-flor (kiss-flower), as they are called in Portuguese, Beija is the boutique creation of British fashion designer and émigré, Michelle Lindup. With such a stunning collection of poetic, vintage-inspired, ultra-feminine clothes, it’s no surprise that her clothes just fly out of the shop.

Tall, blonde, fashionable, and business savvy, (not to mention thin), Lindup is her own best model. Her fluent French and refined English accent make it hard to believe that she was born in Leigh, northern England, a place, she remarks, “you wouldn’t bother putting a pin on the map”. Lindup’s talent for fashion can be traced to a holiday in Greece, when, age 13, she made her own skirt out of furnishing fabrics because she couldn’t find anything to wear. Encouraged by her mother to explore her creative talents, she enrolled in art school and studied sculpture, painting and illustration. She left Leigh (where her grandmother used to knit for the whole town) and winged her way over to Canada, Alaska, New York, London, and eventually Paris.

After a successful career in the British and French design industry, Lindup took a leap of faith last September when she opened her 25-square meter shop in the fashionable Marais district. Beija now has 34 points of sale and is carried as far afield as Madrid, Tokyo, and Miami. The key to it’s success? Lindup says she takes the best of all worlds to make her garments, sourcing natural fabrics ? and using traditional embroidery techniques from Japan, China, and India, for one dress alone. No mass production here: Each high quality piece comes in a limited quantity, creating something that is very unique at a reasonable price.

The Beija woman, says Lindup, is sexy but not overt, mixes high-end and low, and is not trendy but inspired. She is of the 21st century – modern and multi-faceted – an image Lindup reflects. Her designs have been described as Dandy, Baroque, Victorian, Gothic, Gypsy, Renaissance, and Deco which Lindup believes are styles imprinted on our memory. If her clothes don’t conjure up past memories they will certainly make new ones. The summer collection included a hand-crocheted Grace dress and a pair of Kate sarouel pants in sumptuous (and handwashable) silk – erfect for those British Virgin Gorda beaches where Holly Branson, daughter of famed Sir Richard Branson and Beija-enthusiast, enjoys relaxing. Fall 2010 is rock and roll princess—edgy but romantic. Expect lace ruffles, metal beads, and graphic prints. Make a statement in a sequined, off-shoulder Diva dress or pull off power shoulders in a Glam top. With names like Iggy and Idol who knew you could be pretty in pink and punk? Beija invites you to try.

Beija Boutique
123 Rue Vielle du Temple
75003 Paris, France
33 (0)1 42 77 46 42

Tuesday to Friday: 11am to 7pm
Saturday: 11am to 8pm
Sunday: 2pm to 7pm
www.beija.fr

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