Muriel Grateau must be the most coveted dinner guest in all of Paris: instead of arriving at your door with the usual potted plant or, god forbid, a distressed bunch of flowers, her go-to hostess gift is a brilliant bouquet of linen napkins! This unrivalled colorist - who, by the way, likes to dress in all-black - has been making beautifully understated table linen in 100 different colors for the past 20 years.
But let’s take things from the top: looking back on her long and varied career, you’d be tempted to say that Grateau - who ended up in fashion by divine intervention - was a spirit marked by contradiction. A rebellious aesthete, who simply liked to revolt for revolution’s sake if you like. But that’s where you’d be wrong: each and every one of her little revolutions – making her own clothes when ready-to-wear was still a pipe dream, showing her collections in Milan when everybody was rushing off to Florence or using precious metals only to bury them under coats of enamel – was brilliantly calculated and way ahead of its time. All she had to do was merely wait for the rest of the world to catch up.
Her first foray into fashion sounds like the perfect bedtime story for petite fashionistas. Once upon a time, there was a little girl who liked to draw dresses before she could even talk. Soon enough she was making all her own outfits, until one day, as she was walking along St. Tropez harbor, she ran into Hélène Lazareff, the legendary founder of French ELLE. Intrigued by Grateau’s self-designed elegance, Lazareff demanded to know who had masterminded her look and thereby offered her a job. That was the first time she realized fashion wasn’t just an obsession. It could also be a profession!
Her penchant for imbuing femininity with masculine elements made a great impression on the Italian fashion scene turning Grateau into a very busy lady indeed. Although by the mid-80s she was designing over 1500 outfits per season, something inside her was hungry for more. This new yearning led her to identify a lasting trend: cocooning. People didn’t want elegance to be limited to their closet; they wanted it to extend to their homes. Excited by this new challenge, she dropped everything and moved to Paris.
Her new locale in the Palais Royal gardens united all her different ventures under one roof, like opening a window on her multi-faceted soul. Accessories, flat knits and pristine white shirts sat right next to multi-colored linens, objects and tableware for the first time in retail history. Through the passage of time, she refined her range and changed her address, taking advantage of the natural synergy between high fashion and home décor. And so it came about that the Muriel Grateau Gallery became exclusively dedicated to fine jewelry and jewelry-like tableware, recently refurbished and unveiled to the public on 19 September 2012, in an all-white environment.
As her table linens conquered every color of the rainbow, her own wardrobe gravitated towards solid black. It’s no wonder that her most memorable piece of jewelry is a diamond-onyx ring she designed seven years ago for women who only wear black. In fact, her collections have so much character that they don’t need to wait for customers to pick them out - they pick customers themselves! If you’re a Muriel Grateau kind of person (curious, well-read and discerning enough to avoid the obvious), these pieces will grab you by the collar and won’t let go until you’ve gone home with them! Needless to say, they will stay with you forever.