A Fan-Fair To Remember – Atelier Anne Hoguet
by Marina Rybak
I love Paris on any day, especially in May. When the chestnut trees are in bloom I feel so much at home there. I effortlessly blend into Parisian palette and melt in its shade in the pursuit of the hidden authentic treasures. I can still find few local sparklers, bypassing the signs of globalization, which burden the neighborhood color of any major city anywhere.
The Musée de l’Éventail is such a gem, tucked away in the 10th arrondissement. It is a tiny private Fan Museum, located within the fan–making atelier, run by Anne Hoguet. She is the fourth generation Eventailliste or in plain English – fan maker. Anne is the only artisan in France who continues the rare ancient art of fan making, carrying on the tradition of her family since the times of Belle Époque.
Anne Houget creates, restores and safety guards about 2000 fans, spanning few hundred years in her museum. For her unique talent the Ministry of Culture gave her a title of Maître d’Art. She collaborates with couture houses and creates for the theater, opera and the cinema.
Supposedly the folding fan was invented in Japan to imitate the bat wing. It reached Europe in the 16th century. Through the course of history, the fan became an essential accessory in the lady’s wardrobe. It was intricately made of precious material, reflecting one’s social status.
But it also became a device for flirtation and coquetry. The fan language of love was developed to ruffle a heart or two. In theory the fan was the original SMS. Its utilitarian purpose is long gone, yet up until today it is rather entertaining instrument of seduction. Fan dancing anyone?