One morning at the Louvre, Anya Firestone is handing out bottles of Evian packaging. “Because the ‘art of drinking’ starts with hydration,” she said.
Ms. Firestone, 34, a museum guide (tour guide) and art integration strategist, wore rhinestone olive martini earrings, a Manolo Blahniks rosary, a Charlotte Olympia Mini Bar bag, and a Venus-print Marni dress. .
Matt Stanley, her client, and his Parisian date Salome Pace, 30, were escorted past long lines at the museum entrance and toward the Code of Hammurabi. She explained that the ancient Babylonian set of laws included “an eye for an eye,” and also dealt with issues of alcoholic beverages, such as diluted wine and “people’s right to beer,” as she put it.
“So impressive!” said Mr. Stanley, CEO of the Memory Care Society near Austin, Texas. Mr. Stanley, 43, has enlisted Ms. Firestone to design a two-day visit around alcohol.
A play on costume design, said Ms. Firestone, who calls her bespoke tours “combined tours.”
Last fall, Ms. Firestone starred in “The Real Girlfriends of Paris,” a reality show broadcast on Bravo that follows six American women between the ages of 20 and 30 as they navigate work, life, and work. She said that the opportunity to put up her business, called Maison Firestonefrom the audience’s point of view was the main reason why she did the show.
But Mrs. Firestone had also liked the idea of elevating art and culture to the often-scorned genre of television. (Not to mention some clever Yiddish pun) She said, “By the way, I don’t describe myself as American. I say I am.” New Yorkies.“
Ms. Firestone grew up in the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood of Manhattan. Her parents were actors. She first moved to Paris in 2010 after graduating from George Washington University, for an art residency, where she wrote poetry and sculpted oversized felines. (People thought they were colorful hamburgers,” explaining that the dessert hadn’t become popular yet.)
She briefly served as a babysitter’s husband, she said, and directed Mary Poppins and Maria Von Trapp. But Ms. Firestone has likened her current plot to the TV shows “Emily in Paris”—”I like her toughness, less her hats,” she said of the hero—and “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.”
After earning a master’s degree in French Cultural Studies from the Columbia Global Center in Paris, she spent a few years traveling between New York and Paris, giving custom tours and writing about the intersections of art and the Highsnobiety brand. Followed by an interest in “art as brand,” said Maison Firestone — who also designs themed events with luxury brands.
In the “Winged Victory of Samothrace,” a white marble statue from Hellenistic Greece, known as “Niké,” for example, Ms. Firestone notes that the figure’s wings may have inspired the Swoosh logo for the sportswear empire.
Ms. Firestone’s clients used to find her only by word of mouth, but now about half of them, including Mr. Stanley, come to her via Bravo. Instagram. The majority visit France from the United States; Tour costs start at $2,400 for one or two people for one day.
Ms Firestone said her goal is to remove “art from the wall to show its intersection with things people actually enjoy and consume”, whether that be champagne, Schiaparelli or the NFTs recent and upcoming tours are designed for drag queensthe crypto team at the venture capital firm, young girls like Eloise who have a fondness for dinosaurs, and a blind man.
Working her way through Dionysian art and decor, Louis XIV paraphernalia, and the occasional Bravo fan (“I just want to say I love the show!”), Mrs. Firestone directed Mr. Stanley and Mrs. Pace to the largest museum in the room, where the Mona Lisa hangs on the wall opposite the ” The Wedding Feast at Cana,” a monumental piece by the 16th-century artist Paolo Veronese depicting Jesus Christ turning water into wine. “You can see the wine tasting happening all over the plate,” she said.
After lunch at the Ritz, which naturally featured cocktails and champagne, our itinerary called for the Musée d’Orsay. The Louvre Museum was a former palace, this said Mrs. Firestone. She loves the accompanying visits to the two museums, which, she says, help show how art entered modernity by breaking away from the monarchy, the church, and the academy, and relocating to the cafés of Paris.
Edgar Degas’ Lapsynthesis depicted what she called a “soldier” woman with a glass of the infamous green spirit on a table in front of her. He was near a painting by Edouard Manet same woman (Actress Ellen Andre) titled “Brandy Bloom”. Ms. Firestone urged her clients to think the difference. “She’s not too sad or confused here, is she? She looks fine.”
By then, she said, Paris had been transformed by Napoleon III’s urban planner Georges-Eugène Haussmann, bringing with it department stores such as Le Bon Marché and Samaritan.
Mrs. Firestone and Mr. Stanley met the next day at Samaritaine, where she arranged a cognac tasting and some shopping in the condos with the designer. “Good morning. How are you all? said Mr. Stanley, greeting the staff. “I’m no aristocrat—I’m just a cowboy!” He chose a pair of Maison Margiela tie-dye trousers.
Then, in a cab, Mrs. Firestone signaled to me Prada ad featuring Scarlett Johansson. “I think they’re referring This is a Man Ray photo of Kiki de MontparnasseShe said. “we Likes Good art reference.” She Googled a picture of Man Ray on her phone and uploaded it to be seen by Mr. Stanley, who said it felt like he had a master class.
“Who doesn’t love their hands in Paris?” said Mrs. Firestone.