The store, which soft-launched Monday in Chanel heartland, Rue Cambon, is the brainchild of former Colette employees Dein and Sebastien Chapelle. The duo were, respectively, head of the sneakers department for nine years at the recently shuttered Paris stalwart and director of the high-tech and watch department for a 14-year tenure.
Nous’ USP is a mix of “streetwear and street culture with high tech, done in a luxury style,” said Dein. When the boutique opens officially on Jan. 19 during Paris Men’s Fashion Week, there will be an entire wall dedicated to his passion, the sneaker. For the record, Dein was wearing Virgil Abloh’s sellout Off–White Nike Air Jordan collab.
Mainstay kicks will be Vans and Converse; “for me, they are the base,” Dein said, “timeless staples.” However, there will also be limited editions and exclusives. “I can’t speak about these yet,” he continued, “but you’ll find out very soon.”
Alongside clothing from Rokit and Stampd and tech from Ilesteva and Leica, there are also Skateroom skate decks – not least one emblazoned with Ai Weiwei tongue-in-cheek dedication to Donald Trump and coffee table books. Legendary Japanese sneaker collector King Masa is coming by Jan. 20 for a signing of his latest tome.
Following the closure of Colette, the venue, with its polished concrete walls and floors, has a suitably post-apocalyptic, dystopian vibe, and the launch was peopled with City of Light hipsters including model/influencer Ruddy Trobrillant and J-Phil. from Phiné N’Djoli.
As for the money man behind the new venture, it’s a anonymous European backer: “A former Colette client who believes in the project and who has been coming to Paris for years and years,” said Dein.
Nous, which means “we” or “us” in French, also means “intelligence” in English – derived from the Ancient Greek word for mind. And in case you’re wondering exactly where I’m going with that, another opening gambit featured the global launch of the OnePlus 5 smartphone.
OnePlus is a more keenly priced (the new version is about $600) Chinese competitor to Apple with a cult following. Nous had the global exclusive on the latest model, and the queue to score one of 300 special limited editions went right round the block. Doubtless the first of many.