6 creators reinventing Provence

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A chef, a parfumier, a fashion designer, an architect, an artisan and an artist, all inspired by and Provence. A land with a deeply rooted way of life and cultural heritage all of its own, it still manages to stimulate the creatives who are today bringing a new, freer look at its traditions. Here’s a review of the very best Provence classics revisited.

Jacquemus is reinventing the Provence santon.

Simon Porte Jacquemus fervently defends his love of Provence. In May 2017, he paid homage to his childhood region with a fashion show in Marseille. Named the “Santons de Provence”, and threaded with sculpted lines of white cotton and oversized straw hats, his collection finally saw these traditional figurines break out of the nativity set.

Rudy Ricciotti follows the sun.

According to the architect Rudy Ricciotti, “the sun dictates the construction”. And this can be seen in his work, in the Mucem in Marseille and the Jean Cocteau museum in Menton. Breathing in the Mediterranean air since his childhood, he builds the environment into his architecture that lets the outside in, through organic structures and playful gaps in the concrete that let light circulate freely.

Gérald Passédat revisits calisson.

The Michelin-starred chef at Petit Nice in Marseille, Gérald Passédat's modern touch creates a masterful new take on provençale cuisine. He is also the man behind the menu at Môle Passedat, the restaurant at the Mucem, where he drew inspiration from that most provençale of treats, calisson (an iced candied-fruit and almond paste). It’s a good idea to keep trying the original... purely so you can better understand this creative new version, of course.

Vik Muniz follows in the footsteps of Cézanne and Van Gogh.

The Brazilian artist Vik Muniz pays homage to the great names in the history of art through jigsaw pieces, rubble, confetti, and chocolate. In his 2012 exhibition at the Lambert Collection in Avignon, “The Imaginary Museum”, he revealed a series of deft reconstructions of iconic provençale pieces by Cézanne and Van Gogh.

Occitane en Provence embodies the Girl from Arles.

The Girl from Arles, the decidedly free figure who symbolises the South of France, is given body in an enchanting fragrance by Occitane en Provence. It is an intensely floral fragrance where the elegance of the May rose meets the mystery of violet in a bottle accentuated by a ribbon, the centrepiece of her traditional garb.

Ravel is reshaping pottery.

Founded in Aubagne in 1837, Ravel earthenware is one of the oldest manufacturers of ceramics in France. The family company is keeping one of the world’s oldest crafts alive by inviting contemporary designers like the fashion designer Christian Lacroix, or the designer Jean-Marie Massaud, into its workshops.

Getting to Provence