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Chocolate, grace, elegance and a touch of whimsy

Any excuse to go to Antwerp is a good one.


And thank you EasyJet for existing, I don't know how I'd be able to get around otherwise. I got on the flight from Milan to Brussels, and then took the train to Antwerpen.

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Antwerp is a city that I really love. It's at once a sophisticated city of art with splendid buildings and large squares, it is home to one of the world's most important diamond markets, a center of business and trade as well as a hub for European fashion and design.

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This time the pretext for traveling was an invitation from XLBoom, my longtime source of picture frames, to visit their new headquarters and get a preview of their new collection.

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It's important to me to create close, collaborative relationships with my suppliers, built on trust. It makes work more pleasant and fun, and brings better results. So when there is an opportunity to get together, even informally, I do so gladly. That's the way it is with them.

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I already knew where to stay in Antwerp, in a delicious B&B run by a Belgian painter and a former surfing champion from Australia.

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There are four aparments, one per floor of this typically narrow building. We were on the top floor with a mansard roof and a view of the hidden garden of the ancient abbey next door.

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It's a simple matter to go by train from Antwerp to Ghent and Bruges, so I made a few appointments with dealers and collectors of vintage furniture and objects from the 50's-60's.

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In northern Europe it is much easier to find these pieces than it is in Italy. Unfortunately, because their owners were unaware of their true value, a lot of classic furniture ended up at the dump and those pieces that survived quickly found their way to the international markets at collector's prices.

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Last year, during my first visit to Antwerp, I passed through Brussels on my way home. I had just three hours to kill before heading to the airport, so I decided to walk around to look for exotic chocolates and a crunchy waffle hot off the griddle. (That was the plan, anyway.)

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But the truth is, when I travel for work I am like a hunting dog. My field of vision widens, I'm more attentive and, as a result, strange things sometimes happen. That afternon, walking in central Brussels, in the midst of the scent of chocolate, melted butter and syrup, something caught the corner of my eye. It was just a split second, a flash, and it did not really register in my conscious mind.


So, continuing along on my quest to find that perfect chocolate, I was suddenly struck by that familiar sensation. It was strong enough to make me turn around and retrace my steps to figure out what it was that piqued my curiosity. Aha! I was instantly charmed. Charmed by what I saw in the window of a small shop: earrings, bracelets and necklaces...

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...assembled from small stones, beads and charms put together with grace, elegance and a touch of whimsy.
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And that's how I met Anne Marchand, the creator of these lovely pieces. This is Anne's third collection, designed especially for dep.

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Every time I see the expression of wonder on the face of a customer as she looks at these creations, I flash back to my own experience and am reminded how much I love doing this work – discovering new things to delight myself and visitors to my store!
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This is the spirit with which I am moving forward and hope that my message is getting through...
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