Enter one of Paris’ grands magasins — what we call the big department stores here in La Belle France — and you can feel the energy. Thanks to a strategy of buzz-creating initiatives, a 2.5 percent growth in the eurozone economy spearheaded by France and an uptick in tourism following the terrorist attacks of 2015, business is booming.
Expansion comes in all directions — upwards in the case of Printemps, which has recently added two floors of food (levels 7 and 8 of its Boulevard Haussman mothership), and outwards at the Lafayette Group with an art foundation on the edge of the Marais and a new state-of-the-art outpost on the Avenue de Champs-Élysées toward the end of this year.
Inside you’ll find a stream of constant newness to engage the short attention spans of generation Instagram. Initiatives include a giant Moschino pop-up in Printemps’ central atrium (passing the baton to Valentino next month) and a Moroccan souk at Le Bon Marché that includes a whole bazaar of exclusives from summer-ready labels Manebi, Nupie and Ancient Greek Sandals. Meanwhile, on Thursday, Printemps will open a Christian Louboutin men’s boutique — a first for a Paris department store.
Go for Good is the new seasonal programme from Galeries Lafayette. Launching Aug. 29, the groupwide initiative has Meghan Markle favorite Stella McCartney as an ambassador and aims to promote responsibility, sustainability and transparency in fashion.
In addition to a Stella pop-up and exclusive capsule collection, the group is working with over 400 brands such as Parisian vegan success story Veja. Exclusive Go for Good products will be recycled, fair trade, made locally or all of the above. There will also be a meditation zone in collaboration with artist Faye Toogood and David Lynch and café by local Wild & the Moon.
“Responsible fashion starts a conversation, and we want to talk to people who share the same point of view,” said McCartney of the project. Known for eschewing leather, the merchandise in her label’s pop-up will feature sustainably produced viscose, organic cotton and wool. The sneakers are made with Osmotex, a waste product from the textile manufacture process.
Where to wear your new kicks? While participating in one of the program’s exercise classes, of course. They will be hosted by a hologram version of Stella McCartney herself. Think Kate Moss in that Alexander McQueen show — in sneakers.
Group head of style Jennifer Cuvillier gave FN the lowdown, from her fall footwear heroes to the store’s exclusive new customization project. Wild West,’80s rock and utilitarian vibes were her seasonal talking points with key shoe silhouettes being the not-going-anywhere-anytime-soon sneaker, pointy low-heeled bootie and, surprise contender, the rubber ankle boot.
Her one to watch? Bonnie Lee’s breakout South Korean label, Suecomma Bonnie, for its dadcore sneakers. “I love this brand,” she said. “These sneakers are very new for her. They are chunky but still very feminine with the pastel colors and stitching details. The laces too are very specific.” The store has also bought the debut footwear collection from Yves Salomon, including a collaboration with Moon Boot.
Bon Marché is extending the sneaker customization service it debuted last year and applying it to Le Perfecto (biker jacket) and Le Santiag (cowboy boot). “A super-focused service with studs, painting and embroidery around one of the key trends of the season,” she said. “Western was so strong, and this was how I wanted to show it.”
But there’s more. Following previous showcases dedicated to Brazil, Italy, New York’s Brooklyn and Japan, the LVMH group flagship department store is going all L.A. for fall ’18. Expect installations, events and exclusive products from Los Angeles-made or L.A.-inspired brands across all categories beginning in September.
The Moncler Genius presentation was the talk of Milan Fashion Week in February, and for fall ’18, Printemps is staging an exclusive Paris based project with the label. From September, Moncler will take over the store’s Boulevard Haussmann windows for six weeks with all eight Moncler Genius collections on display: Pierpaolo Piccioli, 2952, Grenoble, Simone Rocha, Vuitton Collaborator Fragment Hiroshi Fujiwara, Craig Green, Palm Angels and cult Comme des Garcons umbrella label, Noir Kei Ninimiya. There will also be a giant custom-built pop-up store in the atrium with Printemps women’s exclusives from Rocha and Ninimiya and men’s from Fujiwara and Green.
Followers of Paris doyenne and Roger Vivier ambassador, Inès de la Fressange will also find a footwear collaboration between her eponymous fashion label and fellow Parisian, man’s cobbler Philippe Zorzetto. Expect androgynous boots and shoes that are both low-key, timeless and chic.