As every year, the Association’s small team took a tour in Paris in order to discover the newly opened or renovated luxury stores.
The 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, …).
In 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.
The 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.
From 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.
Rue 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!
We 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.
A 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.
The 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?
Piaget 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.
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.
We 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.
Then, 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.
Finally 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.