The shop across the street is Ultramod’s vintage hat supply store and is only opened upon request. I ask the clerk if I could look in that store as well. Across the street we go, the clerk bearing the key to the door. Turns out its not a key but a screw driver of sorts. She works on the latch for a bit and the door opens.
Designers such as Givenchy, Lanvin and Jean Paul Gaultier have been known to shop at Ultramod over it’s 100+ year history. Walking through the doors into the second shop, I can see why. It is even more magical and old-world looking than the first. There are shelves full of vintage pattern straw, grosgrain, furniture braids and fringe, tapestry ribbon, etc. You can tell these items are old, as some are faded from the sun shining through the windows.
Story has it that one of the original owners of Ultramod purchased stock from many factories in the north of France that had been destroyed by bombs after the war. So many items were purchased that the main store was over flowing and a second store across the street was secured to be the warehouse. This is how the two stores became what we see today. As the market changed to creating less expensive ribbons from nylon and polyester, the older style ribbons were no longer produced. This made Ultramod’s vintage supply in demand by designers. When the current owner purchased both stores in the 1990’s, he found more of these rare ribbons underneath piles of the polyester and nylon ribbons. And so the tradition of providing rare and vintage ribbons continues today.
Once again, I start my search for items that catch my attention. I was so enamored with the treasures in this store that I forgot to take pictures! I only have the one above, showing a shelf of upholstery trim ribbons in a rainbow of colors. As you can see, this store is not as tidy as the other. It was the original store, and is showing its age. The floor caves in a bit in places as you walk. Items are haphazardly placed on shelves. But that is what makes this place so wonderful. It feels like you are the first person to see these items in many years, like you just stumbled upon a hidden room in a house. I could have spent hours or days digging through all the shelves, looking at the possibilities.
I end up choosing the collection of ribbons shown above. Funny thing is, they are very similar in color to the ribbons I chose in the other store. I didn’t realize this until I got them all back to my hotel room later that night. You see, I never opened the first bag of ribbons while I was in the store. I just choose ribbons that I liked. Apparently I have a color story that I am drawn to!
Since I did not have nearly enough time to spend at Ultramod, I will need to plan another trip back to Paris. I talk with my daughters about the differences between “wants” and “needs” in life, especially when we are standing in the toy aisles at our local stores. In this case, I definitely think this is a need! Because, as Audrey Hepburn famously said, “Paris is always a good idea.”