Monday, September 08, 2008

What Ever Happened to Pierre Deux?




I mean, I know that it's still around. In fact, the store here in Atlanta is really quite charming. Even though the Country French look is not really my thing, I can't help but be bitten by the Provençal bug every time I venture into the shop. But let's travel back in time to the 1980s. Fess up- how many of you used to carry Pierre Deux bags? Or had a desk full of Pierre Deux accessories? And what about those cheery little vide poches and trays that were ALL the rage twenty years ago?

My very first handbag as a child was one of those Bermuda bags. You know, the ones with the wooden handles and the changeable fabric covers. But in the 6th grade I traded up to a small Pierre Deux handbag. It really was the cutest thing- pink and green and French all over. I also had a Pierre Deux overnight bag which I still have today. No, I don't carry it around but rather use it as storage.

What I must confess, though, is that I still love Pierre Deux's vide poches. In fact, I have some that are over twenty years old! I use my large ones to store empty perfume bottles. The medium sized ones come in handy for holding cocktail napkins or coasters. And the mini ones are great repositories for everyday detritus. Now, truth be told I don't display my Pierre Deux trays because they don't really go with my master design plan. But don't you think they are a nice alternative to plastic storage trays and bins?




The once famous Pierre Deux vide poches. The trays from the 1980s were usually covered in a very Country French print. And many of them had two separate fabrics for the top and bottom. The corner ties meant that you could change which side was the inside or outside.

These are the types of prints that were most popular back then:



"Avignonet" in Blue


"Bonis" in yellow and blue


"Indianaire" fabric in blue and yellow



Desks in Atlanta were considered to be bare unless there were a few Pierre Deux accessories. The pencil cups and frames were especially popular.


I remember many an iron chandelier with shades like these. As my parents were into early American, we stuck to the Pierre Deux desk and drawer accessories.


No rush seat was complete without one of these cushions. Considered de rigueur for kitchen and breakfast tables.


The Petite Voyage bag in Black Bonis. My 6th grade handbag was the same shape and size but the fabric was pink and green. What can I say? I was preppy.

47 comments:

  1. It's funny that you opted to use the Black Bonis as one example because I think my mom once had that version :)

    I still like the red tray you shared here too and I think I have a book about French farmhouses somewhere on my shelf -- it might have been published by PD.

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  2. I think they could still work in a variety of interiors esp. if one is into textiles. I think it's important to show our history in our homes. And yes, they have plastic trays beat!

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  3. Anonymous10:42 AM

    I say thank goodness we are beyond those busy little prints. Put those next to KWID fabrics and they look so passe'. I too had them but was sooooo ready to move on!

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  4. Courtney- I will say that they are the most comfortable handbags I've ever carried!

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  5. Ms. Wis- That's a good point. Who knows- maybe this look will come back someday soon?

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  6. Anon- So interesting to see the various trends over the decades. To think we've gone from Country French to Hollywood Regency!

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  7. these remind me so much of my silly pink and green vera bradley luggage from my sorority days, haha!

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  8. I still like these--perhaps in smaller doses, and if they're a little faded. We still have the Christmas ornaments--cows and bears in the various fabrics--they make me smile each time I see them on the tree.

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  9. Anonymous11:51 AM

    When visiting my mother-in-law--a true grand dame from Missipp'--we stay in a forgotten dormer room wallpapered in that yellow & blue print, drapes in a competing PD print, all the PD accessories, you get the picture. While my husband gasps for air, I quietly thank God I married a man whose mom has expensive taste!

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  10. I saw these bags all over the Hamptons this summer. Pierre Deux and Lilly Pulitzer vied for favorite tote.

    I love them.

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  11. Pierre Deux have been left in the dust because nothing looks fresh anymore.
    I embrace and respect timeless "classic" & the "don't mess with it if it's not broke" mantra - However, the fabric industry is fickle and it is an aspect of design that can indeed be tweaked without looking trendy.
    PD needs to embrace the fact their fabrics can be freshened without risking looking trendy. Their merchandising, catalogues and displays have looked the same FOREVER.
    Consider Lilly - continually updating, what will ALWAYS be timeless, otherworldly prints and wovens - no risk of trendy.
    And Vera Bradley, their customer base enthusiastically embraces the new seasonal collections and clammers for MORE MORE MORE!!!
    PDeux is paralyzed by their narrow visions in a primary color box of red, blue & yellow - which in my opinion teeter on looking like Country Western Calico Bandanna prints.
    PD is rather tiresome/tedious.

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  12. Anonymous1:00 PM

    Hooray for ms. wis comment - on target for me. I love old textiles and still "display" (use, actually) my old Pierre Deux trays, even a couple of pillows in secondary areas of house. And still love old jackets and robes I had made in the Carmel shop years ago.My house is History, and when you are "a lady of a certain age", there are all those previous years decor to continue to enjoy. To antiques lovers, newer is rarely better.
    The Dinosaur

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  13. My mother and I each had one of those handbags about 12 years ago. We spent the summer in the UK and that bag would hold EVERYTHING!!! It was so roomy and comfortable to carry. I think that look has been taken over by Vera Bradley designs.

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  14. Jessica and Meg- Vera Bradley has in a way stolen PD's thunder!

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  15. Morris- I forgot about the PD ornaments!!! They were really sweet.

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  16. Anon- I think your mother-in-law's room sounds cheery and sunny! If you're going to use the PD prints, you might as well go all the way!

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  17. Lisa- Well that's an interesting tidbit. Too bad I don't have my pink and green one anymore. They really are the most comfortable purses around.

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  18. Lake- You're right about Lilly changing and keeping up with the times. It makes you wonder if PD is afraid of abandoning its client base?

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  19. i love the pencil cup!

    i found something similar a short time ago at william-wayne.

    ps you've probably seen the show but just in case...house proud: nineteenth-century watercolour interiors from the thaw collection @ cooper-hewitt is AMAZING!

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  20. This blog is really taking me back. Of course I remember those days and I'm shocked that the store in Atlanta is still open. I used to shop that store actually for fabric! It's all very classic and does kind of remind of Vera Bradley or maybe Laura Ashley.

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  21. Anon (You're no dinosaur!!!)- I'm glad to know that there are others who are still enjoying their fabric trays. Every time I open my drawers they make me smile. You and Ms. Wis are right about showing history in your home. If there's no history there, what fun is that? It's the pieces that tell a story that really make a house a home.

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  22. Paul- I haven't seen the show but I'm dying to!

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  23. Tonic- Did you shop at the old location on West Paces?? That shop was so charming. The best!

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  24. Another former PD bag owner - there is still a PD shop in the next town over from me - wonder how it survives? I lived in the West Village many moons ago, on Charles Street - a few blocks from the original PD - before the Pierres sold out - I loved to visit - the furniture was beautiful - I still have bolts of PD fabric in the attic - my fabric fetish started early - I am going to try to consign it - it isn't typical pierre deux - so maybe I will find a buyer. Any takers?

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  25. Plus ça change...

    Me? I like those Bermuda bags. But whenever my Mom comes to visit and I have to tote in the luggage, I really like the lightweight and softsided Pierre Deux overnight duffle.

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  26. Marnie- I have a feeling you would have no problems finding someone who wants that fabric. There are still a lot of die-hard fans!

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  27. E and E- The overnight bags as well as the handbags are the lightest things around. Easy indeed ;)

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  28. This is so funny! During our Labor Day trip to Carmel, I was wanting to run into Pierre Deaux to show my daughter, but we were out of time....so I had to settle for reminding her of the light blue paisley sheets we once had in the guest room of our previous house. Ah...memories.

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  29. Katie- That is too funny!! I think a lot of us have memories of Pierre Deux!

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  30. I am french and provencal and I live in Provence but I can tell you this countryside style is not mine at all ...as we say in french it is not ma tasse de thé ( my cup of tea)

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  31. I still remember the first day I switched from public school to private and EVERY SINGLE GIRL had a Pierre Deux purse. I actually assumed it was part of the school uniform until I discoverd it was just a bizarre preppy 'tween cult sensation. (Soon to be replaced by all things Patagonia).

    I no longer have any soft goods, but I still love the Pierre Deux pewter boxes I bought with my babysitting money back in the day--and they are still on display at my house.
    : )

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  32. BA- they called it "Patagucci" at my school...

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  33. I have that black bag and I love it. Still use it on occasion.

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  34. I think it's so funny that Vera Bradly likes to call them selves "the original" as PD clearly was. It was absolute that you had to have a PD wallet at my all girl's boarding school ca. 1986

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  35. My first bag was a Papagallo (a brand of bermuda bag you mentioned). OMG the memories. Thank you for this post!

    Shira
    www.tchochkes.com

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  36. Shira- I purchased my bermuda bags from Papagallo too! Oh, and the green and blue frog belt too :)

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  37. I happened on this blog by chance, and it is awesome. This is near and dear to my heart for so many reasons:

    All my ballet flats, grosgrain wristbands and riding boots came from Papagallo.

    And I must confess I have a Pierre Deux toile kitchen to this day. Still think it beats the pants off some disco-y granite stainless combo -- that look is already as dated as avocado, goldenrod and brick veneer to me. Yuck!

    Still have my Laura Ashley comforters for 'basement blankets,' but my 13 y.o. daughter has a Vera Bradley bedroom, very timely and so cute. VB has definitely filled that prepster niche where Laura Ashley left off. It's a daily battle, to raise girls with a modicum of taste - and modesty- quite a task when there are French maid Halloween costumes for first graders.

    My heart belongs to PD, but I'll take VB for being a cute, colorful, modest-leaning thing for girls to have fun with. There is so little of that left. I mean really - What on earth has happened in this country? It's nearly impossible to fight the pervasive skankification: even the lacoste shirts and khakis are skin tight / low waisted. There is no respite for these poor girls...

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  38. Anonymous9:21 AM

    I just came across this blog accidentally. I must say that I am surprised that so many here think that Pierre Deux is passe. I still love it and have many of their furniture pieces and fabrics in my home. (and I'm under 40!) It is definitely not mainstream, but I'll take Pierre Deux over the Pottery Barn look you see in most of my friends' houses, any day!

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  39. Anon- The great thing about Pierre Deux prints is that they're cheery, and heaven knows we need that right now! I love walking through their shop because it's so charming.

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  40. Anonymous9:30 PM

    I read this post after returning from a weekend at my inlaws where I discovered reams of PD fabric. My very stylish MIL is no longer to able to decorate or 'fuss' with all the textiles she has stashed over the years. I left thinking what will I ever do with all that fabric? Maybe someday it will make a reappearance like the vintage wallpapers of today. In the mean time if anyone has a creative idea let me know.

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  41. I still love PD. I visit their shop in Carmel By The Sea CA. However, they are sooooooo pricey.
    Even their sales are pricey. I do the Ebay hunt from time to time. I love the fabric trays, if you want to sell your's let me know!

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  42. Once a classic, always a classic!
    Even though I don't carry my Pierre Deux handbags these days, I have them lovingly tucked away with ALL my other CLASSIC goodies.
    When I come across them, the wonderful memories come flooding in. Memories of my first shopping trip to Pierre Deux in Greenwich Village "When I was a young Girl". Posted about this incredible shopping trip like no other. I still use my vide poches too! Thanks for "Remembering"
    Lisa

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  43. Those who call PD "old" don't really understand "classic." I was a young bride once and decorated our first condo in "contemporary" style. (the horror! modular furniture! track lighting!) The problem with contemporary is that it is always changing to NOW. Think of those brides who were so proud of their contemporary living room with the low-slung danish modern couch and kidney shaped coffee table. I agree with the comment on the avocado green and harvest gold of my mom's old kitchen - but it was hip at the time! Once you've been around for a while, you realize that classic doesn't go out of style, and PD's brand of classic had the added allure of being casual. Many classic styles are formal, but I don't want to live in that house, either. French country farm house is just my style here in the suburbs with the kids..and no one can walk into my house and say "I know exactly what year you bought this furniture!"

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  44. Anonymous2:33 PM

    Red, yellow and blue - exactly the colors I'm doing in my living room now (2011). They are cheerful and NOT BORING!!!

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  45. Rachael P1:01 AM

    I still have that green and pink "Voyager" bag- it's so dear to me! My grandparents sold Pierre Deux in their Denver gift shop, circa 1980. I was obsessed with Princess Diana and saw a photo of her in "dungarees" and a PD bag. That's probably why all the tweens had to have them.

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  46. Anonymous7:49 PM

    I just cleared a closet of my vintage and current handbags. I washed 2 PD handbags in the machine and hung them on the line to dry. They are like new. And, yes, I will carry them. I am 85 years old. Does that tell you something?
    Marie Balling, San Jose, CA.

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  47. Anonymous8:35 PM

    Now that PD is out of business, does anyone know of another shop like that, with French decor?

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