Just Above Sunset
December 12, 2004 -Baccarat in Hollywood (actually Beverly Hills) - and a bit of Paris and Manhattan

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In Just above Sunset I posted Ric Erickson’s Christmas shots of the Champs Elysées at twilight, and last weekend the holiday scene on Hollywood Boulevard – and two weeks ago the fancy holiday decorations on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills  - see November 28, 2004 - Optical Oddities for the Rodeo Drive shots.


This week I discovered that those Rodeo Drive Christmas chandeliers I carefully photographed were handmade in France by the Baccarat folks – at fifty grand a pop – exclusively for us folks out here in La-La Land.  And after Christmas it seems some Saudis want to buy them.   What would Jesus think of that? 


Christmas out here is very strange.  I’ll dig up the schedule of beach volleyball / surfing events for Christmas day – should any of you want to visit.  The late December surf is always good.


See this -


Is Rodeo Drive's Light Touch a Bit Heavy-Handed?

Chandeliers made and installed by Baccarat are worth $1 million. Some say they are over the top, but others think they go with the territory.

Wendy Thermos, The Los Angeles Times, December 9, 2004

To some people, there's no such thing as too much glitter on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills.

With Christmastime here, the city has taken the art of holiday decoration to a new level. It has lined the median of the famously posh street with $1 million worth of formal chandeliers.

To passersby, it's very Beverly Hills. But is it also over the top?


We report, you decide.


From Thanksgiving through New Year's, it's a tradition in many towns to drape business districts with twinkling skeins of snowflake lights on street trees and storefronts.

But on Rodeo Drive's three-block stretch of swank emporiums, such decor might seem a little déclassé.

So when Baccarat, the renowned French crystal maker, offered to dress up Rodeo, gratis, with 20 handcrafted chandeliers valued at close to $50,000 apiece, city officials and the Chamber of Commerce enthusiastically accepted.

The shimmering crystal lamps are suspended from sleek standards temporarily installed by Baccarat at an additional cost of $500,000. The bases of the displays include the Baccarat logo. The chandeliers are encased in clear plastic boxes to protect them from the elements.



Each multitiered creation — there are six styles — sparkles with 750 to 1,000 multifaceted beads that were either hand-blown or hand-poured before being cut, polished and assembled by craftsmen in Baccarat, France.

"Nothing like this has been done anywhere in the world that we're aware of," said Brent McDaneld, a top executive with the 240-year-old company.


The final disposition?


The chandeliers will be taken down and sold at Geary's [the Baccarat store on the street] and other retail outlets for Baccarat crystal and jewelry.

There are already signs that they will be hot sellers.

Hours before the Dec. 1 lighting ceremony, "some Saudi Arabians came by and were asking about them," Donovan said. "They wanted to buy them."


And Ric Erickson of MetropoleParis sends this along -


Baccarat, hmm?  In Hollywood.


Here's St Germain tonight.  The usual gypsy-like little chalets, peddle places for your carpets from - where do they come from?  The three wise men?


News update - the city is in a mangle because it wanted to upgrade the streetlights for the season.  Money released too late, suppliers behind time, merchants crying for their decor - Mouffetard merchants threatening to bring out their old, moldy lights from yesteryear so their customers won't think they're a bunch of humbugs.


Peace, shalom, regards -


Ric in Paris - motto - 'City of Light' sometimes


I remember these from many a Christmas in Paris.  You want fancy?  That’s out here.  You want something homey and inviting?  Go there.

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But Ric also sends along these big shiny balls in the Place Vendome  - so chic!  Step out the front door of the Ritz and prepare to be fashionably disoriented!

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And here are the skaters having fun at the Hotel de Ville – and I remember watching them each year, smoking my pipe and smiling.  Ric: "Colors in Paris can be a bit extreme, such as the vile green city hall, and the Rue de Rivoli illuminated with electric carrots."

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Or you can do New York – as our friend the high-powered Wall Street corporate attorney sends these along – Radio City Music Hall (do they still have the Rockettes in their sexy Santa outfits?) and the tree at Rockefeller Center, snapped quickly as he passed by.

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Copyright © 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 - Alan M. Pavlik
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