Good morning McKinney!
One of the BEST things about living in McKinney is discovering the hidden treasures within our city limits…many of them found directly on our downtown McKinney square. SOHO MCKINNEY is one such treasure.
Owner Robin Cook has been a staple in the underground fashion industry for over twenty years. She began a foray into design with her rendition of the classic white shirt, using a unique paper fabric material which included a combination of both mid-century and modern lines. SOHO MCKINNEY couples the grace of European style with the luxury of designer fashion. Her current collection is inspired by her many travels to Europe and her love of natural, vintage French lines. Robin’s designs are timeless, never trendy, and always stylish. All pieces found at SOHO MCKINNEY are American-designed, hand-made, and one-of-a-kind.
SOHO MCKINNEY’s love of French style and European travel make it the perfect spot to host French General’s Kaari Meng. Who is French General, you ask? Well, like so many stories on this website, this one too begins with a bit of history.
But first a few pictures from Robin’s trip to France last summer.
Years and years ago, I entertained the idea of opening a clothing store here in McKinney and purchased a book from Half Priced Books called A Shop of One’s Own to learn about operating a small business. It was published by the editors of Veranda magazine and spotlighted a handful of women-owned small businesses throughout the United States. The story of Kaari Meng’s store French General was one in the mix, and I have never forgotten her narrative or French General. Truly their chapter was my favorite in the whole book!
French General began in 1997 when Kaari and her sister Molly began making jewelry from old glass beads they found at flea markets in the South of France. Eventually a storefront was opened in Manhattan’s Soho district. The sisters sold their jewelry along with other items they found while traveling in France–old sequins, feathers, painted buttons, unusual tape measures etc…Today French General operates out of LA in an old Spanish-style warehouse. Craft kits, French lifestyle pieces and crafting workshops can be found at French General, and we are so fortunate to have Kaari visiting McKinney to share with us her vast knowledge of French accoutrement mixed with vintage artisan techniques.
*Kaari is a graduate of the Fashion Institute of Technology and started her career designing jewelry for Bergdorf-Goodman and Anthropologie!
While Kaari is in McKinney, she will be teaching 2 classes at SOHO MCKINNEY and one class at Jump Into Art (which I will be attending!) These classes will be such fun for a mother-daughter day or with a big group of girlfriends. See below for a list of Kaari’s classes.
Crochet Beaded Jewelry Class
October 23 from 10:00-1:00
Come learn the basics of creating beautiful jewelry using a crochet needle, thread and vintage glass beads, buttons and charms. This is a great class for students looking to create beautiful hand-made jewelry that can be worn as a necklace or bracelet. All materials supplied, but students are welcome to bring any old beads, buttons or charms of their own that they want to incorporate into their work.
Favorite Stitches Class
October 23 from 2:00-5:00
Spend an afternoon learning creative embroidery stitches using the French General Embroidery Hoop, sampler and floss. Using hand-dyed cotton threads, we will create a beautiful sampler which will become a great teaching tool to learn all different stitches. All materials supplied.
*A daypass for both classes can be purchased for $125
Creative Weaving Class
October 24 from 10:00-1:00
Spend a day learning all about tapestry weaving using a wooden loom and a variety of hand-dyed wool, linen and cotton to create a colorful wall hanging. Students will each receive a loom, sheds, comb and weaving needles so they can continue to enjoy their weaving journey long after the day is over. We will also learn to make pom poms and tassels to attach to our tapestry weaving.
All materials supplied.
Enjoy your classes with the French General, friends! Hope to see you there.