Paris Shopping Post Lockdown: Gloves a Must at Gucci + Sneaker Addicts Line Up at Adidas & More

After nine weeks of lockdown, Paris’ nonessential retail stores began to reopen this week, albeit with decreased hours of business.

Larger department stores and shopping centers with a square footage in excess of 43,000 square feet must stay closed until July 10. This means that famous retail venues, including Printemps and Galeries Lafayette on Boulevard Haussmann are still shut.

The city’s transportation system is operating at around 75 percent and the wearing of masks is compulsory, as is observing the one meter rule. As per signage throughout, one seat in two remains empty and an effort to avoid overcrowding, rush hour travel is limited to key workers.

A suitably-protected FN reporter headed out to to investigate key shopping districts: Avenue des Champs-Élysées, Avenue Montaigne and Rue de Sèvres on the city’s Left Bank.

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Instead of executing the bag searches that became mandatory since the 2015 terrorist attacks, boutique door guards policed the wearing of masks and dispensed liberal amounts of anti-bacterial hand gel. Here’s what it was like to shop inside.

Galeries Lafayette Champs-Élysées

According to sales staff on Tuesday, following an initial burst on Monday, the first day of opening, business had slowed. They anticipated that it would take time for consumer confidence to return.
Masks: Available on request, obligatory for both employees and customers.
Fitting Rooms: Once garments have been tried, they are taken off the shop floor and only replaced 24 hours later after steaming. Strips of yellow tape three feet apart were attached to the floor to ensure queuing customers observed social distancing.
Shoes: Socks provided with the same cleaning policy as for garments.
Cash Registers: Plexiglass shields installed.

Plexi glass shields at the cash registers in Galeries Lafayette
Plexi glass shields at the cash registers in Galeries Lafayette Champs-Élysées.
CREDIT: Stephanie Hirschmiller
By Far at Galeries Lafayette
For once a full house in the By Far section at Galeries Lafayette Champs-Élysées.
CREDIT: Stephanie Hirschmiller

Montaigne Market

Founder Liliane Joshua told FN on Tuesday that although footfall had been slow the previous day as she only opened in the afternoon, many customers had opted to conduct their orders by telephone and FaceTime. Popular footwear styles had been Paris Texas classic python print boots and Isabel Marant white cowboy boots.
Masks and gloves: Supplied, masks obligatory for both employees and customers.
Fitting Rooms: Once garments have been tried, they are taken off the shop floor and only replaced 24 hours later after steaming. Joshua said that the 71 degree Celsius temperature (159 degrees fahrenheit) was known to kill the virus.
Shoes: Sockettes provided with the same cleaning policy for garments.

Liliane Joshua, Montaigne Market
Liliane Joshua, Montaigne Market by a display of bestselling Paris Texas boots.
CREDIT: Stephanie Hirschmiller

Bottega Veneta

A ‘silver lining’ effect of the crisis meant that for the first time in FN’s experience, the house’s sellout mesh pumps were not only on display, but also available in most sizes.
Masks: Supplied, obligatory for both employees and customers.
Fitting Rooms: Once garments have been tried, they are taken off the shop floor and only replaced 24 hours later after steaming.
Shoes: Socks provided with the same cleaning policy as for garments.

Bottega Veneta mesh pumps
Bottega Veneta mesh pumps on display in store on Avenue Montaigne.
CREDIT: Stephanie Hirschmiller

Gucci

With a line outside, staff explained that due to the store’s dimensions, only 24 people could be in the womenswear section and 18 in the men’s at any one time. It was also the only store visited by FN where gloves were mandatory for customers, in addition to staff. Shoes were at the top of the wish list for customers in the line. Two sisters from Paris were shopping for a pair of the brand’s famous mules for their mother’s birthday while boys from the suburbs were planning to purchase sneakers.
Masks: Supplied, obligatory for both employees and customers.
Gloves: Obligatory for both employees and customers.
Fitting Rooms: Once garments have been tried, they are taken off the shop floor and only replaced 24 hours later after steaming.
Shoes: Socks provided with the same cleaning policy as for garments.

Outside the Gucci store on Avenue Montaigne
Outside the Gucci store on Avenue Montaigne.
CREDIT: Stephanie Hirschmiller

Louis Vuitton

The only store had an automatic hand gel dispenser installed at the door. The store also had its own branded floor stickers to respect social distancing.
Masks: Supplied, obligatory for both employees and customers.
Gloves: Worn by employees.
Fitting Rooms: Once garments have been tried, they are taken off the shop floor and only replaced 24 hours later after steaming.
Shoes: Socks provided with the same cleaning policy as for garments. Also offered in a branded orange Louis Vuitton box.

louis vuitton automatic hand gel dispenser
Hygiene points to Louis Vuitton on Avenue Montaigne for this automatic hand gel dispenser.
CREDIT: Stephanie Hirschmiller
Even the pop socks at Louis Vuitton were on brand
Even the pop socks at Louis Vuitton were on brand.
CREDIT: Stephanie Hirschmiller

Adidas

When FN visited the Champs-Élysées flagship on Tuesday afternoon, the store was not yet open but a gaggle sneaker-hungry customers outside advised they had read online that it was due to open later. The company had previously told FN masks would be mandatory for entry, and that the fitting rooms would remain closed. The return policy has been extended to 100 days and garments and shoes would be retired for steaming before being replaced on the shelves. The store was also operating a buy online, pick up in store — or known in Europe as “click and collect” — service.

Customers awaiting the opening of the Adidas flagship store on Champs-Élysées
Customers awaiting the opening of the Adidas flagship store on Champs-Élysées.
CREDIT: Stephanie Hirschmiller

Le Bon Marché

This was definitely the busiest of the larger stores when FN visited on Thursday, likely due to a loyal local clientele. The government has yet to decide on the commencement date for summer sales — France has strict regulations regarding the length of these, and this year they could be extended. But ventes privées, (early private sales for registered customers) constitute an exception and help draw consumers into the Paris haunt.

FN spied Amrose Paris shoe designer Océane Castanet setting up her new pop-up with her team — part of the store’s new exhibition, En Couleurs, (all about color), launching this weekend. Castanet’s shoes are crocheted and hand embroidered by women in India — and for the duration the the pop-up, a special hand embroidered mask with come with each pair. She also revealed that the exclusive shoe she created with calligrapher Nicolas Ouchenir for a charity auction organized by Colette funder Sarah Andelmann raised around $1,000. (All proceeds went to  donated to hospitals to help fight the coronavirus.) Look out for her second collaboration with Mira Mikati launching Monday and the launch of her own e-commerce site in a week’s time.

While no one’s denying that the severity of the situation, Le Bon Marché lightened the atmosphere with its signage. As well as the usual notices pertaining to mask wearing and hand washing, the were additional signs reminding customers to avoid kissing.

Masks: Obligatory for both employees and customers.
Gloves: Worn by employees.
Fitting Rooms: Once garments have been tried, they are taken off the shop floor and only replaced 24 hours later after steaming.
Shoes: socks provided with the same cleaning policy as for garments.
Cash Registers: Plexiglass shields installed.

Amrose Paris designer Oceane Castanet
Amrose Paris designer Oceane Castanet at Le Bon Marché.
CREDIT: Stephanie Hirschmiller
No kissing allowed at Le Bon Marche
No kissing allowed at Le Bon Marché.
CREDIT: Stephanie Hirschmiller

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