9.19.2010

Where The Wild Things Are

{Deyrolle, Paris}

I've had a slight obsession with taxidermy ever since reading this story in the March '09 issue of British Vogue about Scottish antiques dealer Emma Hawkins, a lifelong collector of animal "curiosities" who grew up with an authentic stuffed giraffe's head bedecking her bedroom floor.  While I find the poaching industry horrifying, particularly when faced with the actual processes involved, I think there's something  compellingly captivating about these terrifically lifelike preserved animals.  For this reason, I was fascinated when I came across Deyrolle, a 180-year old natural history shop situated at 46 Rue du Bac near the Musée D'Orsay on Paris' left bank.  Originally oriented towards more pedagogical purposes, today Deyrolle caters mainly to hobbyists and the general public with an array of exotic (and commonplace) animals available for sale or rent.  Despite being partially destroyed by a fire in 2008 (French fashion house Hermès donated the proceeds from a special edition of one of their carrés de soie towards the restoration project) Deyrolle remains one of the most unique of Parisian institutions, beloved by locals and intriguingly peculiar to all.

-photographs by Al Telch-
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