Merci is the latest Paris retail destination to be generating major buzz. With a market-style approach to retailing, the massive 16,145-sq.-ft store offers interiors, kitchenware, clothing, kids’ wear, stationery, a bookstore and a café, together with a dedicated footwear area. Shoe brands include Repetto, Swedish Hasbeens, Bosabo and Polder, an accessories brand that offers bags, socks, scarves and shoes and that exhibited at Premiere Classe earlier this week. “[Merci] is one of the most exciting stores around at the moment because international buyers are going there to take a look,” said Polder designer Natalie Vodegel. “It’s been great. Buyers who didn’t know us before have come up and said they spotted us at Merci.” During Fashion Week here, Merci collaborated with luxury department store Liberty of London, and to celebrate, a floral Liberty print-covered Fiat sat in the store’s courtyard entrance, while Liberty merchandise was displayed in the foyer and Merci staff wore Liberty-print aprons.
N.D.C. Made by Hand, the unisex Belgian shoe brand known for its pared-down looks and artisanal leathers, is rolling out retail. After opening its first flagship store in Brussels in November, the label is set to debut a second store in August, in Paris’ Saint Germain neighborhood. “It’s time to give more value to the brand by showing our entire offering,” said sales director Tobias Dariz, who added that it hasn’t been so easy to find a suitable store in Paris. Manhattan will be next. The company is currently scouting locations in Soho, Noho and the Meatpacking District. “But it will be 2011 before we open in New York,” added Dariz.
Charles Jourdan and Stephane Kélian are touting their French heritage more than ever. The brands’ parent company, Groupe Royer, is planning stores under a yet-to-be-revealed moniker. A rep said the shops would highlight the fact that both brands are once again manufactured in Romans, France, once the hub of French shoemaking.
Daita Kimura, the brains behind London’s Old Curiosity Shop, has joined forces with ready-to-wear brand Eley Kishimoto. The husband-and-wife team updated three existing Old Curiosity Shop silhouettes in distinctive snowflake prints. Anthropologie picked up the looks at the show. Prices range from $450 to $550.