Pierre-Alexis Dumas: Artistic Director, Hermès
“We are Parisian in soul, Parisian in spirit,” Says Pierre-Alexis Dumas about his family’s company, which was founded in the French capital in 1837 and, according to Dumas, couldn’t have been started anywhere else. But the city to which he refers is not one of hoity-toity stereotypes (even if the hoity-toity do love their Kelly bags). “The Paris I grew up in is an open place that welcomes foreigners like my mother, who is Greek. It’s a place where great ideas are born.” He sees this in the ethnically mixed neighborhoods like Belleville, in the 20th Arrondissement, where he can find the Asian food he misses after living five years in Hong Kong, and in Paris’s many museums, where he heads for inspiration. Dumas, who studied visual art at Brown University and runs the company’s arts foundation, knows them intimately. Though he jokes that Hermès was established “in horseshit” (the company began life as a saddle shop), it’s the city’s blend of creativity and refinement that the brand really reflects so well, and that Dumas finds almost everywhere he goes. —Alexandra Marshall
- The Grand Palais “I wrote my thesis on this Art Nouveau building. Did you know that in addition to museums and exhibits, it has stables underneath? There’s equipment for hundreds of horses down there.”
- Virgule “It’s one of my favorite restaurants. The place is tiny and offers unbeatable quality for the price.” Dinner for two $51.
- Les Puces de Saint-Ouen “I used to go to this flea market with my parents every Sunday when I was a kid. Now I’ve become like the Terminator with antiques. I walk into a shop and scan the place.”