La Reine de Sicile is not a dépôt-vente. If it were, the proprietor would be a dismissive, middle-aged woman with the hauteur of Simone de Beauvoir. Agnes isn't that type. She's youthful and smiley and looks like Juliette Greco, minus the Stygian garb. On a grey, dreary day when everybody else is pasty under drab sweaters and scarves, she's elegant, perfectly tanned in painterly blue silk, as if returning from an Emirate sheikh's yacht on the Dalmatian Coast. It was raining and my hair was crazy and two people that day mistook me for Allen Ginsberg, but when I walked into La Reine de Sicile, there was no swift appraisal or subsequent dismissal in favor of more remunerative clientele. Agnes immediately dropped everything to show us (us meaning me and my friend Stephanie, not me and some disassociated personality) around.
Beautifully lit, La Reine de Sicile is warm, clean and uncluttered, a sharp contrast to dark, mothy shops pustulating the Marais. It opened nine months ago with the tagline les grandes marques à petits prix, a mix of secondhand and new items at great prices. Jean Paul Gaultier and Kenzo défilé hang alongside sculptural vintage Alaïa, iconic Paco Rabanne, and an extensive Louis Vuitton accessories selection. Established names mingle with new French designers- specifically, coats, bespoke hats, and Carré d'Amour scarves inscribed with hidden messages, made from the same crepe de chine silk as Hermés. These are clothes Helen Simpson's Laura might buy in Wurstigkeit, minus the painfully fustian narrative. "I don't want to be a dépôt-vente," says Agnes. "I want another concept. I choose everything. Because I choose with love, they bring love!"
A table and chairs sit outside for shopping breaks and photo ops, further adding to the cozy, inclusive spirit Agnes created with La Reine de Sicile. Thanks to her, I don't have to comb through messy, overpriced wares at Paris thrift stores nor endure their patrons' stretched earholes anymore. Click here to see La Reine de Sicile on Les Reines du Shopping.
60 Rue du Roi de Sicile