Repetto, Paris 2009
© Leslie Hossack
Since launching my blog Haute Vitrine 100 days ago, I have been asked more than once: “Haute Vitrine? What does it mean? How do you pronounce it?”
Haute Vitrine is French. The word haute sounds like “oat” (as in oatmeal) and it literally means “high.” The word vitrine rhymes with “caffeine.” So Haute Vitrine sounds a bit like the more common phrase Haute Cuisine. For me, Haute Vitrine presents a feast for the eyes in the same way that haute cuisine presents a feast for the palette.
In a related way, haute couture creates a sumptuous experience for the body, with fashions that are made to order from expensive fabrics, and sewn with great attention to detail. Currently, a similar phrase Haute Culture is the title of an exhibition at the Art Gallery of Ontario. www.ago.net/haute-culture
The French word vitrine literally means a glass cabinet or showcase used to display precious objects in a shop, museum or home. Vitrine also means a store window. In the early days of street photography in Paris, windows were popular subjects with French photographers including Atget and Brassai.
Shown above is Repetto. This shop window in Paris was the first in my ongoing series of vitrines around the world. Since its inception in Paris in 2009, this body of work has grown to include window reflections in Berlin & London, Jerusalem & Tel Aviv, New York & Las Vegas, Ottawa & Montreal, Toronto & Vancouver. The series is called Haute Vitrine, and my blog was named after it.
Today Haute Vitrine celebrates 100 posts in 100 days.