Flagships, New Stores… Paris Luxury Retail News 2015

As every year, the Association’s small team took a tour in Paris in order to discover the newly opened or renovated luxury stores.

la perla mulberry tory burch goossens by kilian breguet piaget mauboussin herborist la prairie missoniThe first shop we visited is the one of La Perla, rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré. The current shop, opened in November 2014, was refurbished according to the new style by Roberto Baciocchi (Prada, Miu Miu, …).
la perla paris faubourg saint honoréIn the store window, a La Perla “couture” piece unusual and delicate design catches the eye… and makes you want to see more. The shop, all in length and additions, is not an easy space to structure and this hurdle seems to have not totally been overcome. First, the flooring seems unchanged and contrasts with the rest of the store. The second part of the shop ground floor is a little confusing, circulation is not obvious. The way products are displayed does not stand-out very much; however the brand has designed a concept of folding screens made of gilded metal braces that allows it to isolate some styles display, thus giving them a great impact. Overall, the Faubourg Saint-Honoré La Perla store is less attractive than its flagship store in London.

la perla rue saint honoré parisla perla rue saint honoré parisla perla paris faubourg saint honoréThe next step was a visit to the Mulberry boutique, rue Saint Honoré. It was designed by Universal Design Studio (Ace Hotel London Shoreditch, Champagne bar of Fortnum & Mason – Heathrow, Printemps Paris). Inaugurated in April 2015, the Mulberry store offers three departments: men/women accessories, woman leather goods / product customization and ready-to-wear / shoes, leaving much more space to the latter than usual. High quality materials have been used to build the store. Onyx, often seen in many luxury boutiques, is happily used here, which is not always the case.

mulberry saint honoré parisFrom a merchandising perspective, the light is well used with discrete and well studied devices along the walls that highlight the products without making the shop overly bright. However, some of the counters windows have not been equipped with proper lights and the products they display are not visible enough.

mulberry saint honoré parismulberry saint honoré parismulberry saint honoré parisRue Saint-Honoré also hosts the first Parisian store of the American brand Tory Burch, which was the destination of the following visit. Daniel Romualdez, architect of all Tory Burch boutiques, also worked on this one which opened in July 2015. A very american like design for a complex space made of small rooms occupying three levels. The architectural concept is that of a “home”, which works quite well on the two upper floors. Even if all may seem a bit loaded (gilding, paintings, porcelain, … are part of the decor), it stands out as a pretty nice cozy store. The shoes space, heart of the brand (whose products are the most interesting in Tory Burch offering) is rather well made. However, when entering the shop door, one is assaulted by the flashy side of this first space, much less nice, which is a shame because there is not really an incentive to continue the visit!

tory burch rue saint honoré paristory burch rue saint honoré paristory burch rue saint honoré parisWe then quickly went by the Goossens shop (Chanel group) opened in June 2015. Very small, it combines a sleek modern style with the classical touch of a huge ancient mirror for a very nice contemporary chic feeling.

goossens parisA small incursion rue Cambon to visit by Kilian shop, opened in December 2014. It was carried out by architect Chahan Minassian, with a beautiful exploitation of the area which may not exceed 50 / 60m² in a neo Art Deco style; the shop is divided in two parts, one for fragrances andone for perfumables accessories. The only weakness is the lack of fragrances testing as compared to the multitude of scents that are on display. We can explain this only by the brand’s will to establish a dialogue between sales attendants and clients, but on this specific matter our experience could probably have been better.

by kilian rue cambon parisby kilian rue cambon parisby kilian rue cambon parisThe next step was the visit of the Breguet boutique at the Vendome Place, opened in April 2015. The poor visibility due to the building’s facade work did not allow us to see the store façade. Inside, the the circulation is well thought out and invites us to discover the products displayed in luminous windows on one side’s wall and a wide round countertop space on the other. To the right, opposite to the entrance, a staircase allows to access a museum on the first floor which exhibits the brand’s iconic pieces many of which we could not see as they had been loaned to an exhibition in the US. To be underlined the contrast between this area nicely designed with a luxurious feel to it, and the store which has much less, maybe the choice of very different materials?

breguet place vendome parisbreguet place vendome parisbreguet place vendome parisPiaget boutique, opened in April 2015 at 7 rue de la Paix, took a space previously held by Montblanc. The architect is Christine Querlioz, from the Sasha workshop (Balenciaga, Weston and Van Cleef & Arpels, …). The design is very “Piaget”, marble, wood, matt black lacquer, gold brass, thick carpet … with, at the store entrance, an impressive modern chandelier as a manifesto. The surface all in length has been well exploited, with this first entry space dedicated to jewelry. At the back of the shop, before reaching the patio, the brand created a fairly large salon. It is separated from the heart of the store by a central pillar. This one is dressed in a spectacular golden reptile like mosaic, with, at its center, a showcase displaying the high jewelery collection latest pieces. The center of the store essentially offers the watch collections.

piaget rue de la paix parispiaget rue de la paix parispiaget rue de la paix parispiaget rue de la paix paris

Further, rue de la Paix, our steps led us to Mauboussin’s frontage, the store opened in December 2014. With integrated LEDs in the facade providing both motion and light to the storefront, the front design is nice. The lay out of the store is fairly standard, it is easy to move around and access to the products display. However, it is to be noted that the shop is incredibly noisy (in contrast to our previous visit), probably due to the choice of materials. Indeed, the latter is a bit questionable especially the silk-screened mirror dressing the narrow stairs that lead to the first floor.

mauboussin rue de la paix parismauboussin rue de la paix parismauboussin rue de la paix parisWe made a small detour Avenue de l’Opéra to discover the new “Herborist” shop, opened in May 2015. Obviously, it’s not a luxury brand, but all initiatives coming from China have to be observed! If the product packaging has a sleek design, it is not the same in the store. The facade has been repainted roughly. Inside, no strong identity emerges, we felt the shop was developed with a great concern for its costs. One idea, however, caught our attention at the entrance, a display featuring the brand’s 10 best sellers (not applicable to luxury of course!). With a non-existing welcome, the question that arises is the one of the objective the brand is pursuing with this outlet.

herborist opera parisherborist opera parisThen, we returned rue Saint Honoré in Paris to visit the flagship La Prairie, opened in January 2015. Despite the unappealing shop window (at that time), the small shop is rather nice. Consistent with the image of La Prairie, it conveys the image of seriousness and discreet luxury. Why did La Prairie yielded to Ipad fashion though? Installed next to the products, they have virtually no utility except to show their video presentation.

la prairie paris rue saint honoréla prairie paris rue saint honoréFinally our tour ended with the new Missoni boutique also opened in January 2015 rue Saint-Honoré. This is the Spanish Patricia Urquiola (Officine Panerai, Mandarin Oriental – Barcelona, …), who designed this store. Profusion of materials (metal, brass / pink copper, plexiglass, wood, lacquer, etc.) and colors (blue, orange, yellow, green, printed poufs …), as an interpretation of Missoni’s patterns. However, patterns declension is a difficult exercise … To be noted the high quality ‘trompe-l’oeil’ lacquered panels that could stand on their own. The whole store is rather busy and harms the product that is struggling to exist.

missoni paris rue saint honorémissoni paris rue saint honorémissoni paris rue saint honoréWith limited time, we could not visit all what we wanted to see and I hope to report soon other visits we will do. To be continued…

Catherine Jubin

Flagships, Pop-ups… Paris Luxury Retail News

Taking advantage of the summertime torpor I took the time to shop around some recently opened flagships in Paris or pop-up stores, accompanied by the Association’s Treasurer, an expert in luxury merchandising.

Our steps have led us from the Avenue Montaigne to the rue Saint-Honoré, through the Champs-Elysées and Boulevard des Capucines, for an interesting and well-diversified path including the visits of Fendi, Loewe, Mac Cosmetics, Sephora, Bucherer, Chanel and Dior fragrances…

Carte boutiques luxe paris

Giving a priority to Avenue Montaigne, where at the number 53, we were expecting to visit the new Saint-Laurent flagship supposed to be opened last May, we were surprised and disappointed to find out that construction was still going on… But fortunately Avenue Montaigne offers other innovations.

At the number 51, the new Parisian flagship of Fendi. A very large space, bright and welcoming, with upon the entrance, a sculpture by Tony Cragg indicating an aperture in the ceiling that reveals some fur coats exposed on the first floor.

Fendi entrée flagship parisien

The layout of the space, well-thought, stages perfectly the brand with beautiful ideas as the way the iconic Baguette bag is exposed.

Fendi architecture baguette et sculpture Murano

Or the space’s utilization of the stairs with the contribution of Murano’s craftsmen!

Each space has its own identity while fitting into the broader image of the shop. A luxurious store without ostentation, very inspirational!

On the other side of the avenue, at the number 46, Loewe has recently renovated its space, and it is a little less convincing. The space is definitely more difficult as it is smaller than the previous one, and as the brand’s objective was most probably to optimize it, the result is a little overwhelming… What strikes first is an odd front window with, in its center, a fan making a scarf float around. As a result from the outside: the fan is the most prominent thing in the window, the whole set-up giving an impression of ‘do-it-yourself’. In addition, the concealment of a part of the window darkens the inside reinforcing the feeling of confinement generated by the addition of the mezzanine.

Façade Loewe flagship parisien

However, this mezzanine added a real floor space devoted to man and a few models of women’s Ready to Wear.

In the end, and it was probably the goal, I had the feeling of seeing many more products than before, and Loewe’s products are indeed very nice…

Intérieur Loewe flagship parisien

A few steps away, on Champs-Elysees’ avenue, we wanted to see the newest MAC Cosmetics flagship. A true statement in terms of interior design, with some good ideas such as taking advantage of a pillar to display the brand’s communication using LED (on the other hand the creation at the time, with a giant face, was not optimal).

Vitrine MAC champs élysées
Boutique MAC cosmétiques champs élysées

The store is spectacular thanks to its vault made of black mirrors producing amazing effects. However, I found the overall atmosphere a little dark for a makeup brand that strongly claims a very colorful image. It sharply contrasts with the Sephora store nearby…

Sephora does indeed make an impressive use of LEDs on a strip that surrounds the store, for a very colorful way of identifying the different segments (men’s fragrances, women’s fragrances, etc…), very effective, though a little aggressive.

Continuing our visits we saw the Bucherer store, new temple for luxury watches in Paris, a fairly balanced approach between putting forward the Bucherer’s identity and letting the brands highlighting their own identity.

Bucherer boulevard des capucines paris

The frontage has not really changed since “Old England”, but the balance between brands / store identity is already clear in the windows, all displaying similar designs which have been customized by brands.

Inside, the store has been totally remodeled and offers on three floors a selection of watch brands (23 in all), each floor displaying different level of brands. Inside Bucherer’s identity is expressed through the choice of materials, lighting, the design of the stairs and the architecture of the spaces that are customized by each brand. A discreet identity, luxurious and refined, very Swiss!

Intérieur Bucherer Paris

From the Boulevard des Capucines to the rue Saint-Honoré, we finished our tour by Chanel and Dior’s pop-up stores.

At 368 rue Saint-Honoré, the layout of the store devoted to Dior fragrances and cosmetics well reflects the fact that the store is not there to last. The space is difficult because a large area in the center of the store is occupied by a staircase and this has forced the brand to display its furniture around it creating a sort of visual cacophony. It seems that the brand wanted to fit a maximum of heterogeneous elements in a difficult area to manage and the whole store appears quite confusing, which does not dispense justice to a great window display and some original merchandising items.

Dior boutique éphémère beauté Paris

Finally, we visited three Chanel pop-up stores, one dedicated to horology (19, rue Cambon), the other dedicated to shoes (380, rue Saint-Honoré), the third one to cosmetics and perfumes (close to the latter). What is striking as a whole is Chanel’s consistency; the brand knows how to take advantage of its strong signs meanwhile, it has no problem to get away from its institutional store design to create real original ones. The choice of the watch store is to put forward a single model (Première); the space is small but has been designed to give the impression of entering a lounge.

Chanel boutique Première Paris

Very well used as well a small area dedicated to cosmetic where logos and products are kings, highlighted by geometric structures.

Chanel Pop Up Beauté Paris

For shoes, the brand had more space on two levels; what is remarkable is the very original way the volume has been used, with small cubic units offering different environments and products. On the first floor, with a much more limited area, the brand designed a nice path, through different product environments. A must see!

In the end, this kind of journey underlines how the art of displaying products is a difficult one and I still wonder if the real achievement for a Flagship store would not be to forget about the store in order to remember only the products and the experience that one lives there.

In any case, it seems that brands have come to realize the importance of this last factor, as we both noticed that we had received a friendly welcome in most stores, with a special mention for Fendi, Loewe and Bucherer where we really appreciated the passion with which the staff spoke of their stores, brands and products.

Catherine Jubin