Alexandra’s collection of souvenir plates will be celebrated in La Revue Profane #4, in the One Word section, which spotlights a different collector each issue. La Revue Profane is sold at OFR Bookshop (20 Rue Dupetit-Thouars, 75003 Paris), Colette (213 Rue Saint Honoré, 75001 Paris), and other shops catering to the savviest fashion readership.
(*Platokaolinophile: compulsive collector of plates.)
What is taste if not a ringed spectrum where the two extremes — impeccable taste and vulgarity — come together in an awkward, therefore exhilarating, reunion? It is teetering on this border that stimulates the creative mind and that, ultimately, propels our culture forward. So, when Kilometre founder Alexandra Senes travels, she keeps her senses receptive, not just to good taste, but also to bad.
One ubiquitous form of bad taste is the souvenir plate. An insouciant amalgam of garish colors and picture-book illustrations, these plates have long been a perennial favorite of tourists with a neither-here-nor-there sensibility — and here Alexandra saw an opportunity for some lighthearted satire. She thus started bringing back a souvenir plate from every one of her trips, building a collection that might as well be named “Kitschiest of the Kitschiest.” And when she hosts a dinner, she reveals to her guests the artifacts of a cultural milieu — well, let’s just say — a tad different from their own. The aesthetic mismatch makes an impression, and as Alexandra announces the destination of each plate, her guests cry:
“I want to go there tonight” or,
“Ugh, Monaco? Not again!” or,
“I claim Vegas!”
As the conversations and anecdotes, usually hilarious, start flowing, the initial shock of the tawdry souvenir plates dissipates. After all, what could possibly in bad taste, that inspires laughter and conviviality?