Remember that picture of Kanye West getting happy with a Sharpie and a pair of adidas Gazelles? Well this is better. Parisian department store Le Bon Marché has just launched L’Atelier du Soulier, a new section within its women’s shoe floor devoted entirely to customization.
While initiatives such as Nike iD are commonplace, the store is taking the service to the next level, encompassing sneakers, ballerinas, espadrilles, derbies and everything in-between. “The idea is to personalize any kind of shoe,” says shoe buyer Morgane Toullec.
Myriad options include basic patches, studs and jewels, bespoke designed embroidery, laser printing and even especially commissioned artwork. Customers can also — literally — make an entire sneaker or plimsoll from scratch; choosing sole color to the shade and fabric of the upper.
Three full-time staff offer design advice and operate the Atelier’s seven machines. Basic additions can be executed while you wait, while more complex creations take around a week. Prices range from $25 to $275.
To coincide with the launch of the new service, the shoe floor has been reconfigured with streetwear — shoes that lend themselves most easily to personalization — moving to an area adjacent to the Atelier. New labels for spring 2017 are Yeezy, Off-White and Fenty x Rihanna.
“That they are close to the Atelier makes for a direct link but also brings more energy to that part of the floor,” says shoe department director Fabienne Ruset.
The Atelier is operated by Notify which runs the store’s denim customization studio, which launched in 2016.
“Personalization is a very strong trend across all categories,” she continued. “It’s very exciting to see all the possibilities and to learn alongside the customer.”